Do You Know Welch Surnames?

©Cheryl Bolen

It’s amazing how mail-order retailers know how to tap into demographics. I’m not quite sure how I got recognized as an Anglophile—which I am—but I regularly get interesting catalogues with all manner of offerings from the British Isles. Today’s had an interesting page offering Welch tartans.

A lot of us are familiar with Scottish names, like Campbell, Douglas, Hamilton, MacKay, Mac Kenzie, and a lot more surnames that start with Mac.

Many of us know the Irish names like Fitzgerald, McConnell, O’Connor, and O’Malley. If it starts with Mc or O’, it’s gotta be Irish.

But I have to plead a certain ignorance of Welch names, even though I knew my maiden name of Williams had Welch origins. Because I read a lot of books by British authors from all eras, I knew a handful of Welch names, like Thomas, Jones, and Evans.

The Welch poet, Dylan Thomas

The Welch poet, Dylan Thomas

For those of you not fortunate enough to get these catalogues, here is a list of Welch names:

St. David, Davies, Edwards, Ellis, Evans, Beynon, Griffiths, Gwynn, Harris, Hopkins, Howell, Hughes, James, Jenkins, Lewis, Llewellyn, Lloyd, Meredith, Morgan, Morris, Owen.

Also, Powell, Phillips, Pope, Powys, Price, Pritchard, Prosser, Reece (or Rhys), Rice, Richard, Roberts, Rosser, Thomas, Vaughn, Walters, Watkins, and Wynn.


5 thoughts on “Do You Know Welch Surnames?

  1. I have an unedited Regency manuscript featuring a Welsh heroine. Montgomery is her surname–which actually is a Norman family name attached to the old Marcher town on the frontier between England and Wales. I’m also related to Welsh miners surnamed Griffin and Davis.

  2. The Welsh have a very limited surname base, and over half of them are made up or names derived from given names. Williams is in the 10 most common surnames of Wales along with Jones, Thomas, Davies, Evans, Roberts, Hughs, Morgan, Griffiths and Lewis. I find fascinating the way names change both by having taken a part of Ap [son of] so that Ap Howell becomes Powell, ap Rhys becomes Price etc. Also the way the pronunciation is dependant – I think – on whether a word is subject or predicate, such that Coch, the red one, becomes Gough, Goff and Gooch, and there are both Gwyn and Wynn

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