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Origins Available: Welsh-Alt, Welsh


The name Griffiths 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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The surname Griffiths was first found in Chirk, where they held a family seat from very ancient times, descended from the ancient Princes of Wales.

Welsh surnames are relatively few in number, but they have an inordinately large number of spelling variations. There are many factors that explain the preponderance of Welsh variants, but the earliest is found during the Middle Ages when Welsh surnames came into use. Scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, which often resulted in a single person's name being inconsistently recorded over his lifetime. The transliteration of Welsh names into English also accounts for many of the spelling variations: the unique Brythonic Celtic language of the Welsh had many sounds the English language was incapable of accurately reproducing. It was also common for members of a same surname to change their names slightly, in order to signify a branch loyalty within the family, a religious adherence, or even patriotic affiliations. For all of these reasons, the many spelling variations of particular Welsh names are very important. The surname Griffiths has occasionally been spelled Griffith, Griffiths, Gryffudd, Gryffuths and others.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Griffiths 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 Griffiths History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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Another 45 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Griffiths Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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Some of the Griffiths 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 and printed products wherever possible.

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In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, many people from Wales joined the general migration to North America in search of land, work, and freedom. These immigrants greatly contributed to the rapid development of the new nations of Canada and the United States. They also added a rich and lasting cultural heritage to their newly adopted societies. Investigation of immigration and passenger lists has revealed a number of people bearing the name Griffiths:

Griffiths Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Richard Griffiths settled in Barbados in 1634
  • Griffith Griffiths settled in Virginia in 1663

Griffiths Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • James Griffiths, who landed in Carolina in 1709
  • Samuel Griffiths, who arrived in America in 1715-1716
  • Ann Griffiths, who arrived in America in 1764

Griffiths Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Henry Griffiths, who arrived in New York, NY in 1816
  • Edward Griffiths, who arrived in New York in 1845
  • J Griffiths, aged 48, arrived in Boston, Massachusetts in 1847
  • Evan Griffiths, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850
  • R R Griffiths, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851
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Griffiths Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century

  • Thomas Griffiths, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • William Griffiths, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Ann Griffiths, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Ms. Rebecca Griffiths U.E. who settled in Belle Vue, Beaver Harbor, Charlotte County, New Brunswick c. 1783
  • Ms. Anne Griffiths U.E. who settled in Belle Vue, Beaver Harbor, Charlotte County, New Brunswick c. 1783
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Griffiths Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • Mary Griffiths, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1814
  • Thomas Griffiths, aged 21, arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Prudence" in 1838
  • Biddy Griffiths, aged 21, arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Prudence" in 1838
  • John Griffiths, who arrived in Esquimalt British Columbia in 1862

Griffiths Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • John Griffiths, English convict from Surrey, who was transported aboard the "Ann" on August 1809, settling in New South Wales, Australia
  • James Griffiths, English convict from Middlesex, who was transported aboard the "Agamemnon" on April 22, 1820, settling in New South Wales, Australia
  • James Griffiths, English convict from Surrey, who was transported aboard the "Arab" on July 3, 1822, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Austraila
  • William Griffiths, English convict from Surrey, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on April 1st, 1822, settling in New South Wales, Austraila
  • William Griffiths, Welsh convict from Carmarthen, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on July 29th, 1823, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia
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Griffiths Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • John Griffiths, aged 22, arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "Thomas Harrison" in 1842
  • Lucy Griffiths, aged 22, arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "Thomas Harrison" in 1842
  • Simeon George Griffiths, aged 1, arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "Thomas Harrison" in 1842
  • J. Griffiths arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Belle Creole" in 1853
  • Mary Griffiths arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Belle Creole" in 1853
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  • Phillip Griffiths (b. 1938), American mathematician, co-winner of the 2008 Wolf Prize
  • Hicks George Griffiths (1910-1996), American Democrat politician, Michigan Democratic State Chair, 1949-50; Probate judge in Michigan, 1950; Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Michigan, 1952; Candidate for Circuit Judge in Michigan 3rd Circuit, 1953
  • George W. Griffiths, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from New Jersey, 1936
  • George Langford Griffiths (b. 1929), American Democrat politician, Candidate for Michigan State Senate 24th District, 1964, 1966; Candidate for Michigan State House of Representatives 59th District, 1970; Mayor of East Lansing, Michigan, 1975-79
  • Edward J. Griffiths, American Republican politician, Alternate Delegate to Republican National Convention from Pennsylvania, 1952
  • Charles H. Griffiths, American Republican politician, Chair of Westchester County Republican Party, 1934-42; Delegate to Republican National Convention from New York, 1936, 1940
  • Barbara J. Griffiths (b. 1949), American politician, U.S. Ambassador to Iceland, 1999
  • Aundra J. Griffiths, American politician, Independent Candidate for Presidential Elector for Michigan, 1992
  • A. E. Griffiths, American politician, Candidate for Mayor of Seattle, Washington, 1916
  • J. C. Griffiths, American politician, Candidate for U.S. Senator from Colorado, 1914
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Griffiths Historic Events



HMS Hood

  • Mr. Leonard F Griffiths (b. 1923), English Ordinary Seaman serving for the Royal Navy from Eastbourne, Sussex, England, who sailed into battle on the HMS Hood and died on 24th May 1941 in the sinking

HMS Prince of Wales

  • Mr. David J Griffiths, British Ordinary Seaman, who sailed in to battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking
  • Mr. Clifford John Griffiths, British Petty Office Stoker from Lichfield, Staffordshire, England, who sailed in to battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking
  • Mr. Griffiths, British Able Seaman, who sailed in to battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking

HMS Repulse

  • Mr. John Isaac  Griffiths, British Writer, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and died during the sinking
  • Mr. William Henry Griffiths, British Marine, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and died during the sinking
  • Mr. Guy Richmond Griffiths, Australian Midshipman from Australia, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and survived the sinking

RMS Lusitania

  • Mr. John Humphrey Griffiths, English Chief Steward 3rd Class from England, who worked aboard the RMS Lusitania and survived the sinking
  • Mr. William Henry Griffiths, English Refrigeration Greaser from Birkenhead, Cheshire, England, who worked aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking
  • Mr. Samuel Herman Griffiths, English Trimmer from Everton, Liverpool, England, who worked aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking
  • Mr. Christopher William Griffiths, Welsh 2nd Class passenger residing in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and survived the sinking
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Citations



    Other References

    1. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
    2. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of England and Wales. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1971. Print.
    3. 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).
    4. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
    5. Markale, J. Celtic Civilization. London: Gordon & Cremonesi, 1976. Print.
    6. Morgan, T. J. Morgan and Prys Morgan. Welsh Surnames. Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 1985. Print.
    7. 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).
    8. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. 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. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
    11. ...

    The Griffiths Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Griffiths 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 10 June 2016 at 14:29.

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