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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2015

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

The Welsh surname Powley comes from the personal name Hoel or Howell, which were both derived from the Old Welsh name Houel. The surname Powley 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.

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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 Powley has occasionally been spelled 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.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Powley 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 Powley History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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

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Some of the Powley 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.

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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 Powley:

Powley Settlers in United States in the 17th Century


  • Elizabeth Powley, who arrived in Maryland in 1663
  • Bryan Powley, who landed in Maryland in 1673

Powley Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Simon Peter Powley, who landed in Arkansas in 1881

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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: Edrych i fynw
Motto Translation: Looking Up.

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

Other References

  1. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  2. Bowman, George Ernest. The Mayflower Reader A Selection of Articales from The Mayflower Descendent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  3. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  4. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  5. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  6. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
  7. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds. . Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-005-8).
  8. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  9. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  10. 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.
  11. ...

The Powley Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Powley 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 18 September 2014 at 06:39.

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