Thursday, May 12, 2011

Welsh Birth Names 1301 AD

The name given to a male child at birth was announced to the tribe before the elders, and he became an offical member of the kindred. To his birth name, the father's name was joined to his sons, by the Welsh term ap/ab. [ap before a consonant, and ab before a vowel] The tribal chiefs would then add the family's ancestory, by adding the next four generations of grandfathers.

Thus a male child would become a son of a six-generation patrilineal kindred. [patrilineally is through the male side] Thus a kindred was counted to the 4th cousins!

The figure to the right shows a listing of Welsh names recorded in English records of Edward I, 1301. This pattern of names has been discussed in a previous post describing the way English scribes wrote down their Welsh names. A total of 365 names were recorded in the Welsh manner. The following is a description of the "birth" names used in this group of Welsh outlaws.

The 365 names contained a total of 813 birth names. Not surprising was the fact that "Yevan" accounted for 104 (13%) of these names! This was the Norman-French way of spelling John, and it was the most frequent birth name used among this group. The next birth name was "Lewelyn" at 54 (7%). The following list shows the remaining birth names above 1% in descending order:

David 43 (5%), Madok 39 (5%), Griffith 32 (4%), Howel 32 (4%), Yervorth 26 (3%), Waghan 24 (3%), Wilim [William, Wylim] 20(2%), Trahan 19 (2%), Phelip 19 (2%), Gronu 19 (2%), Goch 18 (2%), Res 17 (2%), Seisil 14 (2%), Rosser 14 (2%), Cadugan 13 (2%), Itherl [Itherl] 11 (1%), Eynon 10 (1%), and Ivor 10 (1%). This list of names made up 64 % of the birth names.

The spelling "John" occured only 5 times (.006 %)!

Thus, at this point in the English records of the day, "Jevan" was the most common birth name among the Welsh. This birth name was the root of the JONES surname.

The list is analyzed from Patent Rolls, Edward I, made available by Professor G.R. Boynton, University of Iowa Libraries.

A helpful reference in understanding the Welsh kindred is: "Wales in the Early Middle Ages", by Dr. Wendy Davies, Leicester University Press, 1982.

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