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

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

The Welsh surname Powell comes from the personal name Hoel or Howell, which were both derived from the Old Welsh name Houel. The surname Powell features the distinctive Welsh patronymic prefix "ap-". The original form of the name was ap-Hoel or ap-Howell, but the prefixes have been assimilated into the surname over the course of time.


Although there are not an extremely large number Welsh surnames, there are an inordinately large number of spelling variations of those surnames. This variety of spellings began almost immediately after the acceptance of surnames within Welsh society. As time progressed, these old Brythonic names were eventually were recorded in English. This process was problematic in that many of the highly inflected sounds of the native language of Wales could not be properly captured in English. Some families, however, did decide to modify their own names to indicate a branch loyalty within the family, a religious adherence, or even a patriotic affiliation. The name Powell has seen various spelling variations: Powell, Powel and others.

First found in Breconshire (Welsh: Sir Frycheiniog), a traditional county in southern Wales, which takes its name from the Welsh kingdom of Brycheiniog (5th-10th centuries), where the name "are descended from Philip ap Howell, whose pedigree is traced to Edwin ap Grono, Lord of Tegaingl, founder of the XIII noble tribe of North Wales and Powys." [1] However other records claim the name came from the Welsh King Hywel Dda"the Good" ap Cadell (c.880- c.950), son of Cadell ap Rhodri, in turn a son of Rhodri the Great.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Powell research. Another 399 words(28 lines of text) covering the years 1600, 1798, 1673, 1750, 1795, 1608, 1660, 1624, 1680, 1660, 1637, 1630, 1692, 1689, 1628, 1678, 1660, 1678, 1632, 1696, 1688, 1803, 1834, 1641, 1721 and 1653 are included under the topic Early Powell History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 365 words(26 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Powell Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Powell family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. More information about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


The Welsh migration to North America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries contributed greatly to its rapid development. These migrants were in search of land, work, and freedom. Those Welsh families that survived the long ocean journey were critical to the development of new industries and factories, and to the quick settlement of land. They also added to an ever-growing rich cultural heritage. A search of the immigration and passenger lists has shown a number of people bearing the name Powell:

  • Edward Powell, who came to Virginia in 1587

Powell Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century

  • John Powell arrived in Virginia in 1607
  • John Powell, who arrived in Jamestown, Va in 1607
  • Thomas Powell, who came to Virginia in 1618
  • Gody Powell on record in Virginia in 1623
  • Catherine Powell on record in Virginia in 1623

Powell Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • Edward Powell, who landed in Virginia in 1701
  • Francis Powell, who landed in Virginia in 1701
  • Jean Powell, who landed in Virginia in 1714
  • Anthony Powell, who arrived in America in 1760-1763

Powell Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • David N Powell, aged 20, arrived in New York in 1812
  • Evan Powell, aged 21, arrived in Delaware in 1812
  • Isaac Powell, who arrived in New York in 1824
  • Howell Powell, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1844
  • Elias Powell, who arrived in West Virginia in 1863


  • Lewis Franklin Powell Jr. (1907-1998), American jurist who served as an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court (1971-1987)
  • Sumner Chilton Powell (b. 1924), American historian, who won the Pulitzer Prize for history in 1964
  • Herbert Butler Powell (1903-1998), American diplomat and general, US ambassador to New Zealand (1963-1967)
  • William Horatio Powell (1892-1984), American actor nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor three times
  • Colin Luther Powell (b. 1937), United States Army soldier and general, U.S. Secretary of State (2001-2004) and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom
  • John Wesley Powell (1834-1902), American soldier, geologist, professor and explorer of the American West, best known for his 1869 Powell Geographic Expedition which did the first known passage through the Grand Canyon
  • Earl Rudolph "Bud" Powell (1924-1966), American jazz pianist
  • Ozie Powell (b. 1913), African American teenage hobo, one of the Scottsboro Boys, accused of rape aboard a train, convicted and finally receiving a full posthumous pardon on November 21, 2013
  • Cecil Frank Powell (1903-1969), British physicist, who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1950
  • William Powell (1907-1992), Canadian (English born) Mayor of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada



  • James Ball and Calvin Powell Connections by Grace Powell Harms.
  • Jerry Basham and Ellen Higgs by Omegene Powers Powell.

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Edrych i fynw
Motto Translation: Looking Up.



  1. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.

Other References

  1. Rowlands, John, John Rowlands and Sheila Rowlands. Welsh Family History: A Guide to Research. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1999. Print. (ISBN 080631620).
  2. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  3. Ingram, Rev. James. Translator Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 1823. Print.
  4. Fairbairn,. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  5. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  6. 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).
  7. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  8. Skordas, Guest. Ed. The Early Settlers of Maryland an Index to Names or Immigrants Complied from Records of Land Patents 1633-1680 in the Hall of Records Annapolis, Maryland. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1968. Print.
  9. Bradsley C.W. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print.
  10. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  11. ...

The Powell Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Powell 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 1 October 2014 at 06:54.

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