Brythonic Celtic name that comes from the personal name Gawen. This name was popular due to the exploits traditionally attributed to Sir Gawaine, a nephew of King Arthur who was a native of the English/ Welsh border area and was famed for his exploits as a Knight of the Round Table. Sir Gawaine was the hero of the battle with the giant Rhyence: 'That Gawain with his olde eurtesie.' Chaucer, The Squire's Tale. Independently, the surname Gawyn is native to the Isle of Man, and as a Manx name, it is an occupational surname derived from Mac-an-Gabhain, which means the smith's son.
Early Origins of the Gawyn family
Wiltshire, where "the Gawens of Norrington, in the parish of Alvideston, continued in that place four hundred fifty and odd yeares. On the south downe of the farme of Broad Chalke is a little barrow called Gawen's Barrow, which must bee before ecclesiastical lawes were established." CITATION[CLOSE]
Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print. The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 list Goselena filius Gawyne in Cambridgeshire and the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 list Peter Gowyn and Emma Gawyn. CITATION[CLOSE]
Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
Early History of the Gawyn family
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Gawyn Spelling Variations
Welsh have an extremely large amount of spelling variations of their native surnames to their credit. It was up to the priest or the scribe taking the official records to determine how the spoken name was to be made literal. As time progressed, the old Brythonic names of Wales were recorded in English, which was especially problematic since the English language had extreme difficulty recording the highly inflected sounds of Cymraeg. 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 could be indicated by spelling variations of one's name. The spelling variations of the name Gawyn have included Gawen, Gaven, Gavin and others.
Early Notables of the Gawyn family (pre 1700)
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Migration of the Gawyn family to the New World and Oceana
North America in the 1800s and 1900s saw the arrival of many Welsh people hoping to share in the wealth of land, work, and freedom that they felt North America held. Those who made the journey often attained those expectations, but only through an enormous amount of hard work, perseverance, and often a bout of good luck. These immigrants helped contribute to the growth of industry, commerce, and culture of both Canada and the United States. Discovered in the immigration and passenger lists were a number of people bearing the name Gawyn: James, John, Michael, Thomas Gavin arrived in Philadelphia between 1775 and 1850; Thomas Gavin settled in Maryland in 1774; John MacGavin arrived in Philadelphia in 1844..
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