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Welsh Surnames

Posted: Wed Aug 29, 2012 6:53 am
by Corsebar
Found this little article in Co. Mayo newspaper June 1849. May be of interest to anyone with some Welsh roots. Don't have any myself.


In Sweden,hereditary suurnames are said to have been unknown before the commencement of the fourteenth century. At a much later period no surnames were used in Wales, beyond ap. or son, as David-ap-Howell, Even-ap-Rhys, Griffith-ap-Rodger,John-ap-Richard, now very naturally corrupted into Powell, Price, Prodyer and Pritchard.

To a like origin may be referred to a considerable number beginning with P and B now in use in England; amongst which may be mentioned Preece, Price, Pumphrey, Parry, Probert, Probyn, Pugh, Penry; Bevan, Bithal, Barry, Benyon and Bowers.

It was not unusual, a century or two back, to hear such combinations as Evan-ap-Griffith-ap-David-ap-Jenkin and so on to the seventh or eighth generation, so that an individual often carried his pedigree in his name.

Re: Welsh Surnames

Posted: Fri Aug 31, 2012 10:30 am
by Currie
Thanks Corsebar, that's interesting.

I haven’t yet found any of my Welsh ancestors far enough back to have an ‘ap’ in their name but have a few where the father’s Christian name being passed down as the surname of the children has caused a bit of confusion.

For example my GGG Grandfather was Morris Williams and his son, my GG Grandfather, was William Morris. My G Grandfather appears to have been baptised John Morris but always went by the name John Williams. His brother appears to have been baptised Ebenezer Williams but was always known by the surname Morris. His sister was baptised Morris but went by Williams.

Sarah, the mother of those three, the daughter of William Jones, appears on the baptism records sometimes as a Jones and sometimes as a Williams. On the census records, living with her husband, and many years after her marriage, she’s Sarah Williams on one census, the next she’s Sarah Morris.

It seems to be all to do with the confusion caused by English customs gradually swallowing up Welsh ones.

All the best,

Re: Welsh Surnames

Posted: Fri Aug 31, 2012 4:09 pm
by Corsebar
Well Alan,

What can i say, after a family tree with a confusion of surnames and first names like that ? Might well have given up, i think.

Here was me thinking i had a problem with McLaughlin and McLachlan and other spellings of the name. Hat off to you ,Sir.

All the best