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

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

From the Celtic land of Wales came the name of Gwyn. This name initially evolved from person with light-colored hair or a pale complexion; the surname Gwyn may have also been applied to someone who habitually wore white or pale-colored clothing. The name Gwyn, one of only a few Welsh nickname surnames, is derived from the Welsh word "gwyn," which means "fair" or "white." Other references claim the name is derived from the words "llwch" meaning "dust" or gwin meaning "wine". According to Welsh tradition, the Adar Llwch Gwin were giant birds given to Drudwas ap Tryffin by his fairy wife. The birds obeyed their master and assisted him in battle. The term later appeared in Welsh poetry to describe hawks, falcons and occasionally brave men.

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Although there are comparatively few Welsh surnames, they have a great many spelling variations. Variations of Welsh names began almost immediately after their acceptance within Welsh society. In the Middle Ages, it was up to priests and the few other people that recorded names in official documents to decide how to spell the names that they heard. Variations that occurred because of improper recording increased dramatically as the names were later transliterated into English. The Brythonic Celtic language of Wales, known by natives as Cymraeg, featured many highly inflected sounds that could not be properly captured by the English language. Spelling variations were, however, also carried out according to an individual's design: a branch loyalty within the family, a religious adherence, or even patriotic affiliations were all indicated by the particular variation of one's name. The spelling variations of the name Gwyn have included Gwynne, Gwin, Gwine, Gwinn, Gwinne, Gwyn, Gwynn and many more.

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 they held a family seat from very ancient times, some say well before the Norman Conquest and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Gwyn research. Another 199 words(14 lines of text) covering the years 1508, 1537, 1584, 1584, 1537, 1584, 1584, 1970, 1623, 1673, 1654, 1662, 1648, 1734, 1650, 1687 and are included under the topic Early Gwyn History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 217 words(16 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Gwyn Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Gwyn family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 105 words(8 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 Gwyn:

Gwyn Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century


  • Ann Gwyn, who landed in Virginia in 1642
  • Hugh Gwyn, who landed in Virginia in 1642
  • Alex Gwyn, who arrived in Virginia in 1652
  • Charles Gwyn who arrived in Barbados in 1654
  • Thomas Gwyn, who landed in Maryland in 1658


Gwyn Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • Elenor Gwyn, who landed in Virginia in 1703
  • David Gwyn, who arrived in Virginia in 1704

Gwyn Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • William Gwyn, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1854

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  • Marcus Edwin Gwyn (b. 1977), American former Major League Baseball relief pitcher from Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • Aaron Gwyn (b. 1972), American short story author, novelist, and English professor
  • Richard John Philip Jermy Gwyn OC (b. 1934), English-born, Canadian civil servant, journalist and author
  • Alexandra Sandra Fraser Gwyn, Canadian journalist and writer
  • Sandra Gwyn OC (1935-2000), Canadian journalist and writer


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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: Vim vi repellere licet
Motto Translation: It is lawful to repel force by force.

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  1. Morgan, T. J. Morgan and Prys Morgan. Welsh Surnames. Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 1985. Print.
  2. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  3. 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.
  4. Rowlands, John, John Rowlands and Sheila Rowlands. Welsh Family History: A Guide to Research. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1999. Print. (ISBN 080631620).
  5. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. 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. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  8. Burke, Sir Bernard. Burke's Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry: Including American Families with British Ancestry. (2 Volumes). London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
  9. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  10. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
  11. ...

The Gwyn Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Gwyn 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 6 October 2014 at 00:38.

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