Australian Wills Family Message Board
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Re: Origins of the surname Wills/es?
In the 1332 Devon Lay Subsidy list (a tax list for Devon) there are about 40 WILLE listed in the index. Closer looks at the entries show them as atte Wille, eg Henry atte Wille in Ilsington parish. Subsequent Court Rolls in mention surname WILLE, WILL and later WILLS. One old set of documents spells the name all three ways for the same person.
Atte Wille in Latin means "by the water". Hence there are many different WILLS surname origins throughout the country. DNA tests can be useful, for our Lustleigh Devon line we have used familytreedna.com Our Lustleigh line includes William John the explorer so this is one way to prove or disprove handed down family stories.