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

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

The name of Merwyn is Celtic in origin, arising from the ancient Britons of Wales. The name's specific origins were derived from the Welsh personal name Mervin, which originally took the form Merlin. The magician Merlin plays an important role in Arthurian legend and is given the attributes of a Celtic druid. He figures prominently in early Welsh writings, and the first full-fledged treatment of him is given in the Libellus Merlini (Little Book of Merlin), a Latin tract written by Geoffrey of Monmouth c. 1135.

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There are relatively few surnames native to Wales, but they have an inordinately large number of spelling variations. Early variations of Welsh surnames can be explained by the fact that very few people in the early Middle Ages were literate. Priests and the few other literate people were responsible for recording names in official documents. And because most people could not specific how to properly record their names it was up to the individual recorder of that time to determine how a spoken name should be recorded. Variations due to the imprecise or improper recording of a name continued later in history when names originally composed in the Brythonic Celtic, language of Wales, known by natives as Cymraeg, were transliterated into English. Welsh names that were documented in English often changed dramatically since the native language of Wales, which was highly inflected, did not copy well. Occasionally, however, spelling variations were carried out according to an individual's specific design: a branch loyalty within the family, a religious adherence, or even patriotic affiliations could be indicated by minor variations. The spelling variations of the name Merwyn have included Mervyn, Mervin, Mervyng, Merwin and others.

First found in Wiltshire, 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 Merwyn research. Another 139 words(10 lines of text) covering the years 1603, 1675, 1661 and 1666 are included under the topic Early Merwyn History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 77 words(6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Merwyn Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Merwyn family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 47 words(3 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Many Welsh families joined their Scottish and Irish neighbors during the late 1800s and early 1900s in seeking refuge in North America. Like the Irish and Scottish, many Welsh anxiously awaited the work, freedom, and opportunities that they believed lay in North America. Those who did journey over to the United States and what became known as Canada often realized those dreams, but only through much toil and perseverance. Whenever and however these Welsh immigrants arrived in North America, they were instrumental in the creation of the industry, commerce, and cultural heritage within those two developing nations. In the immigration and passenger lists a number of early immigrants bearing the name Merwyn were found: Andrew Mervine, whose Oath of Allegiance was recorded in Pennsylvania in 1779; Ferdinand Mervyn, who settled in Philadelphia in 1808; and Alexander Mervin, who was recorded as a British Alien in the United States during the War of 1812..

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  • William Merwyn, American Poet


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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: De Dieu tout
Motto Translation: From God everything.

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  1. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  2. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  3. 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.
  4. 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).
  5. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  6. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  7. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  8. Morgan, T. J. Morgan and Prys Morgan. Welsh Surnames. Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 1985. Print.
  9. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  10. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  11. ...

The Merwyn Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Merwyn 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 7 November 2012 at 12:11.

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