Welsh Last Names
Welsh Surnames and Their Meanings
Welsh surnames are not only seen in Wales but also in England. If you have a Welsh background, there’s a chance you’ll find your last name below. We have put together the most common Welsh surnames, Old Welsh surnames, and some others as well. Plus, there is some information on the history too.
History of Welsh Surnames
The most common way a surname was chosen was patronymic. This means that it is derived from the father’s name. Most added the “s” to the suffix, making it translate to “son of.” “Roberts” is a perfect example of this.
In older Welsh surnames you might see “ap” or “ferch” in front of them. “Ap” means “son of” and “ferch” means “daughter of.” Many modern-day Welsh last names drop it entirely.
There aren’t a lot of different surnames of Welsh origin. You will see a lot of families with the last names “Jones” or “Evans” that aren’t related.
The 10 Most Common Welsh Surnames
- Davies - This Welsh surname is patronymic from the given name “Davy” which is a nickname for “David.”
- Evans - This surname is patronymic from the personal name “Lefan,” which is a form of “Evan.”
- Griffiths - This Welsh surname is patronymic from “Griffith” which is a modern version of the Old Welsh name “Gruffudd.”
- Hughes - This is a variant of the Welsh surname “Howells.”
- Jones - This is an English and Welsh surname that is patronymic from the personal name “Jon.”
- Lewis - This is the anglicized form of the Welsh first name “Llywelyn.”
- Morgan - This Welsh surname was derived from the personal name “Morcant.” It means “white sea.”
- Roberts - This is a patronymic Welish surname that means “son of Robert.” “Robert” means “bright fame.”
- Thomas - This is a popular surname in Wales. It is patronymic and means “son of Thomas.” The personal name “Thomas” is Greek for “twin.”
- Williams - This is a popular Welsh and English surname that is patronymic from “William.”
Old Welsh Surnames
- Edwards - This English surname is commonly used in Wales. It means “rich guardian” and is patronymic from “Edward.”
- Howell - This surname came to be to honor a 10th-century Welsh king. It is derived from the personal name “Hywel” and it means “eminent.”
- John - This is a patronymic surname that means “son of John.” It is derived from the Hebrew personal name “Yohanan” which means “God’s grace.”
- Kendrick - This name is derived from the personal name “Cynwrig” which is said to mean “greatest champion.”
- Meredith - Before being used as a first name for girls, “Meredith” was used as an Old Welsh surname. It is derived from the name “Maredudd” and means “protector of the sea.”
- Reese - This surname comes from the popular first name “Rhys.” This name is shared by the last ruler of the independent kingdom of Wales.
- Tudor - This name is derived from the Old Celtic personal name “Tudur.”
Image credit: Great Orme, North Wales
More Popular Welsh Last Names
- Bowen - This surname of Welsh and English origin is the anglicized form of “ap Owain.” It means “son of Owen.”
- Collins - This is an English surname and patronymic from the first name “Collin.”
- Ellis - This Welsh surname is derived from the personal name “Elisedd” which means “kindly.”
- Floyd - Also Welsh in origin, “Floyd” is a variant of the surname “Lloyd.”
- Gough - This surname is derived from the Welsh word “coch” which is a nickname for someone with red hair.
- Hopkins - This name is found in England but more commonly in South Wales. It is patronymic from the name “Hopkin.”
- Jenkins - This is a Welsh and English surname that comes from the personal name “Jenkin.”
- Lloyd - This name is derived from the Welsh nickname “Llwyd” which means “grey-haired.”
- Parry - This Welsh surname is patronymic from the “ap Harry” which means “son of Harry.”
- Phillips -This is a patronymic Welsh surname that means “son of Phillip.”
- Powell - This is another form of the surname “Howell.” It is patronymic for “son of Hywel.”
- Pugh - This Welsh surname is the anglicized form of “ap Hugh” which means “son of Hugh.”
- Pritchard - This surname is the anglicized form of “ap Rhisiart” which means “son of Richard.”
- Rosser - This is the anglicized version of the Welsh name “ap Rhosier” which means “son of Roger.”
- Vaughan - This surname is diminutive of the word “bach” which means “little".” It was used to distinguish between a father and a son.
- Wynn - This is a variant of the name “Gwynn” which comes from the word “Gwyn. That word was used as a nickname for someone with a fair complexion.