By Don Taylor
Lewis is a common name with many different potential sources. It may be an Americanized form of the French Louis, Irish Mac Loughaidh, or Welsh Llywelyn. As my Lewis ancestors appear to have been English, it most likely from the Middle English and Old English personal name Lewis.[i]
Direct Surname Ancestors
I have two independent sources of Lewis ancestors. Both Mercy Eliza Taft’s parents have Lewis ancestors, but they do not appear related.
2nd Great-grandmother, Mercy Eliza Taft (1822-1884) paternal ancestors include my:
- 3rd Great-grandfather: Joel Cruff Taft (1800-1849)
- 4th Great-grandfather: Asa Taft (1774-1839) * Note footnote [ii]
- 5th Great-grandfather: Silas Taft (1744-1812) *
- 6th Great-grandmother: Mary Lewis (1714-1795) *
- 7th Great-grandfather: Samuel Lewis III (1684-1760) *
- 8th Great-grandfather: Samuel Lewis II (___-___) *
2nd Great-grandmother, Mercy Eliza Taft (1822-1884), maternal ancestors include my:
My Lewis’ in History
Mary (Lewis) Taft’s (1714-1795) husband, Stephen Taft, was a lieutenant in the Militia in Massachusetts.[iv] Her father, Samuel Lewis, III, died before the Revolution,
1. Mary (Lewis) Taft’s father, Samuel Lewis (1684-1760), was probably born in Middlesex County. Massachusetts Bay Colony (MBC).
- His father, Samuel Lewis (1641-1698), was born in Charlestown, MBC.
- His father may have been John Lewis (1603-1657). If so, he immigrated to MBC about 1635, probably from England.
2. Mary (Lewis) Sutherland (1771-1804) was born in Dutchess County, New York. Her father, Morris Lewis (1733-1807), was likely born in Massachusetts Colony.
- His father, Isaac Lewis, Sr. (1701-1749), was also born in Massachusetts Colony.
- His father may have been Barachiah Lewis, born 1663, in MBC.
- His father may have been John Lewis, born in 1635 in MBC.
- Finally, his father may have been William Lewis, Jr, born in 1599 in England. He immigrated to the MBC in 1635 or 1636.
Both of my immigrant Lewis ancestors were apparently from England and came to America during the “Great Puritan Migration” of 1620 to 1640.
I haven’t discovered any of my “Lewis Cousins” yet. However, I’m sure I’ll find more as I continue to research my Roberts/Lewis ancestors.
2014 – Snapshot in Time
The vast majority of Lewis in the World today (actually 2014) live in the United States; most live in Texas, California, and Florida. The greatest incidence of Lewis’s is in Louisiana (1 person in 298).
There are many famous Lewis. From entertainer Jerry Lewis to author C. S. Lewis. From explorer Meriwether Lewis to Abisha Lewis, Jr. & Sr. (both of whom are Revolutionary War Patriots).
Studies, Societies, & Key Lewis Websites
Lewis is not in my Y-DNA or mtDNA, so studies relating to those DNA groups will not help my genealogical research. Because my closest Lewis ancestor is a 4th great-grandmother, the closest relation I’d have living today would be a 5th cousin. A 5th cousin and I would typically share only 25 cM and fall within the range of 0 to 117 cM. Ancestry indicates they have six matches for me that have the surname of Lewis and share 25 cM or More. None of them have a public family tree extending into the 1700s.
- Ancestry has the Genealogy of the Lewis Family in America as a searchable collection. Family Tree DNA has a Lewis Surname DNA Project
- One-Name.Net has a Lewis Study at
- There is a Lewis Name Study at WikiTree
- Cyndi’s List has 8 Lewis genealogy links.
My Direct LEWIS Descendants
I have 295 known descendants of Isaac Lewis (1701-1749) in my tree; 27 Barnes, 21 Roberts, 17 Ransford, and 15 Taft.
I have 352 known descendants of Samuel Lewis II, including 47 Tafts, 28 Barnes, 21 Roberts, 17 Ransford, and 9 Childers.
Because both lines converge at Mercy Eliza Taft, 226 of these known descendants are duplicated in both lines.
I have previously written about five of them.
Essie Pansy Barnes
Joel Clinton Barnes
- [i] Family Search: Surname – Lewis https://www.familysearch.org/en/surname?surname=Lewis.
- [ii] * I have not had the opportunity to personally research these individuals. As such, their names and dates are tentative and/or speculative.
- [iii] * Ibid.
- [iv] U.S., Sons of the American Revolution Membership Applications, 1889-1970, Ancestry.Com, Joel C Taft – Volume: 265. National Number 52981 – State Number 1007 (Indiana). http://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv=1&db=SARMemberApps&h=1149463.
- [v] If you have a photograph of any of these ancestors, please share it with me.