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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2014

Origins Available: Irish, Welsh-Alt, Welsh

Where did the Welsh Griffith family come from? What is the Welsh Griffith family crest and coat of arms? When did the Griffith family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Griffith family history?

The name Griffith is from the rugged landscape of Wales. It is a Celtic name that was derived from the Welsh personal names Griffin, Gruffin, or Griffith. These were pet-forms of the Middle Welsh name Gruffudd, which was borne by many Welsh princes. The most prominent of these was Griffith ap Cynan, the King of North Wales and the founder of the first Royal tribe of Wales; he was the eldest son of Rhodri Mawr, the first recorded King of Wales.

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Compared to other ancient cultures found in the British Isles, the number of Welsh surnames are relatively few, but there are an inordinately large number of spelling variations. These spelling variations began almost as soon as surname usage became common. People could not specify how to spell their own names leaving the specific recording up to the individual scribe or priest. Those recorders would then spell the names as they heard them, causing many different variations. Later, many Welsh names were recorded in English. This transliteration process was extremely imprecise since the Brythonic Celtic language of the Welsh used many sounds the English language was not accustomed to. Finally, some variations occurred by the individual's design: a branch loyalty within a family, a religious adherence, or even patriotic affiliations were indicated by spelling variations of one's name. The Griffith name over the years has been spelled Griffith, Griffiths, Gryffudd, Gryffuths and others.

First found in Chirk, where they held a family seat from very ancient times, descended from the ancient Princes of Wales.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Griffith research. Another 495 words(35 lines of text) covering the years 1200, 1392, 1332, 1601, 1666, 1599, 1665, 1618 and 1690 are included under the topic Early Griffith History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 71 words(5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Griffith Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Griffith family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 87 words(6 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Many people from Wales joined the general migration to North America in the 19th and 20th centuries, searching for land, work, and freedom. Like the many other immigrants from the British Isles, they made a significant contribution to the development of Canada and the United States. The Welsh and their descendents added a rich cultural tradition to the newly developed towns, cities, and villages. An investigation of the immigration and passenger lists has revealed a number of people bearing the name Griffith:

Griffith Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century


  • Ambrose Griffith, who landed in Virginia in 1623
  • George Griffith, who arrived in New England in 1631
  • Jo Griffith, aged 20, arrived in Virginia in 1635
  • Edward and Joe Griffith settled in Virginia in 1635
  • William Griffith settled in Virginia in 1635


Griffith Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • Elizabeth Griffith, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1701
  • Elizabeth, Griffith Jr., who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1701
  • Judith Griffith, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1701-1703
  • Samuel Griffith, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1701-1703
  • Hugh Griffith, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1704


Griffith Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • Aiex Griffith, who arrived in New York, NY in 1804
  • Richard Griffith, who arrived in Maryland in 1804
  • Robt Griffith, who arrived in New York, NY in 1804
  • Daniel Griffith, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1808
  • Robert Griffith, who arrived in America in 1810


Griffith Settlers in the United States in the 20th Century


  • William Griffith, who landed in Alaska in 1900

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  • Andy Samuel Griffith (1926-2012), American actor, director, and producer perhaps best known for the 1960s situation comedy, The Andy Griffith Show and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom
  • Melanie Griffith (b. 1957), award-winning American movie actress
  • Colonel John Sharpe Griffith (1898-1974), American World War I flying ace credited with seven aerial victories
  • David Llewelyn Wark "D.W." Griffith (1880-1948), pioneering American film director, best known as the director of the controversial and groundbreaking 1915 film The Birth of a Nation
  • Hugh Emrys Griffith (1912-1980), Welsh film, stage and television actor who won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Ben-Hur (1959)
  • Sir John Griffith (1784-1878), Irish geologist and civil engineer
  • Arthur Griffith (1872-1922), Irish journalist, and politician, co-founder of Sinn Féin
  • Francis Llewellyn Griffith (1862-1934), English archaeologist and Egyptologist
  • Sir Samuel Walker Griffith GCMG, QC (1845-1920), Australian politician, Premier of Queensland, Chief Justice and a principal author of the Constitution of Australia


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  1. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
  2. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  3. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1790. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  4. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  5. Markale, J. Celtic Civilization. London: Gordon & Cremonesi, 1976. Print.
  6. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  7. Thirsk, Joan ed. Et. Al. The Agrarian History of England and Wales. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 7 Volumes. Print.
  8. Crispin, M. Jackson and Leonce Mary. Falaise Roll Recording Prominent Companions of William Duke of Normandy at the Conquest of England. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  9. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  10. Ingram, Rev. James. Translator Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 1823. Print.
  11. ...

The Griffith Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Griffith Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 23 October 2014 at 21:56.

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