FALLIS - FOLLIS Information

A web site called Forebears in the United Kingdom on November 20, 2016 said Follis in 2014 was the 117,879th most common name in the world. Follis is most prevelant in the United States and highest density in Northern Ireland. There were 2,274 in the United States, surprised to see 314 Argentina, 258 Italy, 197 Canada, 143 Ireland, 134 England, 73 France, 7 Spain, 4 Australia, and 2 Brazil.

Early records show families using FALLIS or FOLLIS intermixed from record to record in the same family line. There appear to be at least five early FALLIS - FOLLIS families in North America.

  1. Thomas FOLLIS was a Burgess in 1642 James City now Jamestown, Virginia the first continuous European settlement in 1607 North America. They keep moving the pages, so the links may not always work. He is listed on page 54 in the Jamestowne Ancestors, 1607-1699: Commemoration of the 400th Anniversary of the Landing at James Towne and in the 1641 January 12th The Colonial Virginia Registry. Thomas may have died in Stafford County, Virginia around 1690. It is possible he is father of my Thomas, but I have yet to research this. My source never sent any paperwork, so I will have to do it myself eventually. Martin family may provide some clues.
  2. There may be two FALLIS-FOLLIS family lines in Canada that came from Ireland. James FOLLIS about 1770 Fermanagh, Ireland to Ontario, Canada died 1857. One descendant in California is a different Stan FOLLIS than the webmaster of this web site.
  3. A second Canadian FALLIS line came from Ireland in 1825 to New Brunswick then Massachusetts but the January 2, 2006 post by Jeremy FALLIS is gone.
  4. William Shelby Cravenscraft FOLLIS came from England or Wales to mid 1700's Virginia.
  5. My Thomas FALLIS-FOLLIS family appears to be Scots-Irish coming from Ireland perhaps around 1698.
  6. An Ursula Fallis was mentioned in a Coroner's Inquest October 24, 1661 in York County, Virginia.

I have seen other FALLIS - FOLLIS names on ship passenger lists in the 1800-1900's. A few are mentioned on the FOLLIS Trivia web page. An Italian FOLLIS emailed me and posted queries on the FOLLIS mail lists and is perhaps the Italian FOLLIS source on John FOLLIS' FOLLIS DNA project. I did find a World Class Italian skier Arianna Follis who won a bronze in the 2006 Winter Olympics, unfortunately her brother Leonardo Follis died in a March 14, 2001 avalanche. There is also a FOLLIS confectionary store in Italy. There used to be a French Follis Bicycle, but the builder retired in 2007.

An interesting lead to follow some day is in the book A History of Kentucky and Kentuckians by E. Polk Johnson, The Lewis Publishing Company, on page 1598 where William Hardwicke of Virginia "married Ann E. FOLLIS who was born in Virginia and was connected with many of the best families of the state being related to the Paine and Wells families and being a collateral descendant of Thomas Jefferson." The Hardwick's lived Courtland, Lawrence County, Alabama where William was mayor and several other FOLLIS marriages occurred within thirty years of theirs in 1852.

DNA Testing

With the growing importance of DNA genetic markers in confirming or refuting familial relationships, we need to consider the FOLLIS DNA Surname Project by John FOLLIS as the next step in our family research. It now includes the details of the genetic markers for Y-DNA Classic Chart or Y-DNA Colorized Chart.

  1. Scots-Irish - my July 2009 test results match the Irish family tradition so far! See Mark Follis Comments in March 2009 Guest book
  2. Italian
  3. A third group that has been provisionally given the title of Anglo Norman
  4. Unassigned

How to Pronounce Fallis, Follis, Foulis, Fowlis

Follis Meaning by ADictionary published April 25, 2015 on YouTube.
Video shows what follis means. A large bronze coin minted during the Roman Empire.. Follis Meaning. How to pronounce, definition audio dictionary. How to say follis. Made with MaryTTS and Wiktionary


Based on my research so far, I believe my FOLLIS family line was Scots-Irish when they came to America. Scots-Irish were Presbyterian settlers from Scotland who went to Catholic Ireland in the 1600's during the Plantation Era at the request of the King of England who wanted to dilute the political strength of Catholic Ireland in order to extend British rule to the Irish island. One family researcher says her FALLIS line is from Fermanagh Ireland.

My deceased aunt Helen and her brother Paul recalled her father, my grandfather, Milo saying we were Scots-Irish. A distant cousin in the 1900 Federal Census listed his ancestry as Scots-Irish and the areas where our FALLIS-FOLLIS families lived in Virginia and Ohio were predominately Scots-Irish pioneers. There are old Foulis castles in Scotland Seat of the Clan Munro. The Monroe Genealogy (1853). FOWLIS Castle is near the towns of Fowlis Easter and Wester meaning east and west Fowlis. They are believed to be founded by 3 French brothers. FOULIS is spelled the way we pronounce FOLLIS so I believe Scots-Irish is the correct nationality for my FOLLIS family line. The Mediterranean follis coin and old Roman ball game are discussed on my FOLLIS Trivia page raising additional questions as to the origin of our family name. FOULIS and FOWLIS are listed as Septs or smaller clans or families who lived within the Clan Munro territory. Some were related to Clan Munro and some were not. They would pay taxes to live on the land.

Foulis in The Scottish Nation or the Genealogical Account of All of All Scottish Families and Surnames mentions Foulis' in the 1500's to 1700's Scotland.

William Follis from England by way of Facebook December 10, 2009, found some interesting facts:

"The name Fowlis is indeed from Scotland although you were on the right track with a french connection.
The name of the village appears in the Charters of Inchaffray in 1208 as Foglais, indicating its derivation from the old Celtic foghlais (meaning 'burn').
Another explanation of the name can be found in the three leaves carved on the old church archway. Legend insists that three French brothers settled in Scotland: one at Fowlis Wester, one at Fowlis Easter (near Dundee) and one at Fowlis in Ross-shire. Fowlis in this case held to be a corruption of the French feuilles (leaves). The names fowlis (foulis) is believed to a derivate of those who came from here."
"Recorded in many forms including Fallis, Faltus, Fawlis, Fellis, Felleys, Follas, Folles, Follis, Follus, Follos, Foulis and Fowlis, this is a surname of some confusing origins. It is often claimed to be Scottish, and according to one Dictionary of Scottish Surnames is locational from a place called Fowlis in Scotland. This is almost certainly wrong, as no such place exists or has existed as far as we are able to tell in that country, nor is there a place name with any similar spelling. The most likely source in all cases is not originally Scottish at all, but Norman-French from a place called Falaise in Normandy. Many Normans were given lands by the king of Scotland, particularly in the south of the country, after the Invasion of England in 1066. This was done for tactical and political reasons. However this plan clearly failed as subsequently descendants of these families such as the Bruce's and the Stewart's, by fair means or usually foul, rose to be the kings in their own right! In this case early examples of the spelling include William de Foulis, the perpetual vicar of Kirktown, near Stirling in the year 1298, whilst Sir Alan Foulis was the canon of St.Andrews in 1305. In the surviving church registers of the city of London examples of recordings include Anne Fellis who was christened at St Botolphs without Aldgate on November 13th 1583, and the Huguenot Protestant wedding of Marie Falaize, who married Francis le Clerk, at St Georges chapel, Hanover Square, Westminster, on June 1st 1749. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling."

View Foulis Castle in Scotland, the United Kingdom in a larger map
Click + or - to Zoom In or Out, Click on the colored pin to see the details of the location
Click and drag the hand to move the map, or click the link above to see all my ancestor locations.

View Fowlis Easter, Dundee Scotland in the United Kingdom in a larger map
Click + or - to Zoom In or Out, Click on the colored pin to see the details
of the location click and drag the hand to move the map, or click the link
above to see all my ancestor locations in this map.
View Fowlis Wester, Perth, Scotland in the United Kingdom in a larger map
Click + or - to Zoom In or Out, Click on the colored pin to see the details
of the location click and drag the hand to move the map, or click the link
above to see all my ancestor locations in this map.

If you find research that adds to, or contradicts mine, please leave a Comment on my Follis Families in the United States Facebook page, or send me an Email.

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