Griffiths History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

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.

Gruffydd ab Llewelyn (d. 1063), King of the Welsh, was the son of Llewelyn, the son of Seisyll. His father, who, according to a late authority, had married Angharad, daughter of Maredudd, son of Owain, a descendant of Hywel Dda (Gwentian Brut, sub an. 994), had been a vigorous ruler over Gwynedd. [1]

Gruffydd ab Rhydderch (d. 1055), king of the South Welsh, was the son of Rhydderch, son of lestin, who in 1023 had assumed the government of the south after the death of Llewelyn ab Seisyll, and was killed by the Irish in 1033. [1]

Gruffydd ab Cynan (1055?-1137), King of Gwynedd or North Wales, was, through his father Cynan, son of Iago, a descendant of Rhodri Mawr and of the ancient royal line of Gwynedd. [1]

Gruffydd ab Gwenwynwyn (d. 1286?), was Lord of Cyveiliog, Upper Powys, or, as it was called from his father, Powys Gwenwynwyn, was the son of Gwenwynwyn, the son of Owain Cyveiliog. [1]

Early Origins of the Griffiths family

The surname Griffiths was first found in Chirk, where Gruffyd ap Madog Vnyon was listed in 1392. [2]

Early History of the Griffiths family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Griffiths research. Another 248 words (18 lines of text) covering the years 1200, 1392, 1332, 1558, 1570, 1637, 1570, 1553, 1601, 1666, 1622, 1700, 1640, 1646, 1599, 1665, 1599, 1618, 1628, 1567 and are included under the topic Early Griffiths History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Griffiths Spelling Variations

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.

Early Notables of the Griffiths family (pre 1700)

Prominent amongst the family during the late Middle Ages was Mauirce Griffith, Griffyth or Griffyn (d. 1558), Bishop of Rochester, born in Wales, and educated in the south suburb of Oxford, among the Dominicans. [1] Edmund Griffith (1570-1637), was Bishop of Bangor, born at Cevnamlwch in Lleyn, the promontory of Carnarvonshire, in 1570. [1] John Griffith or Griffin ( fl. 1553), was a Welsh monk of the order of Cistercians in the, monastery of Halesowen in Worcestershire. [1] George Griffith (1601-1666), was Welsh bishop of St...
Another 81 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Griffiths Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Griffiths family to Ireland

Some of the Griffiths family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 62 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Griffiths migration to the United States +

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, who settled in Barbados in 1634
  • Griffith Griffiths, who settled in Virginia in 1663
Griffiths Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • James Griffiths, who landed in Carolina in 1709 [3]
  • Samuel Griffiths, who arrived in America in 1715-1716 [3]
  • Ann Griffiths, who arrived in America in 1764 [3]
Griffiths Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Henry Griffiths, who arrived in New York, NY in 1816 [3]
  • Edward Griffiths, who arrived in New York in 1845 [3]
  • J Griffiths, aged 48, who arrived in Boston, Massachusetts in 1847 [3]
  • Evan Griffiths, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850 [3]
  • R R Griffiths, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851 [3]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Griffiths migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

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 [4]
  • Ms. Anne Griffiths U.E. who settled in Belle Vue, Beaver Harbor, Charlotte County, New Brunswick c. 1783 [4]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Griffiths Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Mary Griffiths, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1814
  • Thomas Griffiths, aged 21, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Prudence" in 1838
  • Biddy Griffiths, aged 21, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Prudence" in 1838
  • John Griffiths, who arrived in Esquimalt British Columbia in 1862

Australia Griffiths migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

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 [5]
  • James Griffiths, English convict from Middlesex, who was transported aboard the "Agamemnon" on April 22, 1820, settling in New South Wales, Australia [6]
  • James Griffiths, English convict from Surrey, who was transported aboard the "Arab" on July 3, 1822, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia [7]
  • William Griffiths, English convict from Surrey, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on April 1st, 1822, settling in New South Wales, Australia [8]
  • William Griffiths, Welsh convict from Carmarthen, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on July 29th, 1823, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia [9]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Griffiths migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Griffiths Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Thomas H Griffiths, Australian settler travelling from Hobart, Tasmania, Australia aboard the ship "Bee" arriving in New Zealand in 1832 [10]
  • John Griffiths, aged 22, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Thomas Harrison" in 1842
  • Lucy Griffiths, aged 22, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Thomas Harrison" in 1842
  • Simeon George Griffiths, aged 1, who arrived in Nelson, New Zealand aboard the ship "Thomas Harrison" in 1842
  • Mr. John Griffiths, (b. 1820), aged 22, British shepherd and gardener travelling from London aboard the ship "Thomas Harrison" arriving in Nelson, South Island, New Zealand on 28th October 1842 [11]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Griffiths (post 1700) +

  • W. M. Griffiths, American politician, Member of South Dakota State House of Representatives 50th District, 1939-50 [12]
  • Stephen D. Griffiths (b. 1894), American Republican politician, Member of Missouri State House of Representatives from Macon County, 1945-48 [12]
  • Thomas C. Griffiths, American Democrat politician, Candidate for U.S. Representative from Washington at-large, 1889 [12]
  • Rosalie Griffiths, American Democrat politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from New Jersey, 1980 [12]
  • Robert E. Griffiths, American politician, Mayor of Washington, Pennsylvania, 1933 [12]
  • R. C. Griffiths, American politician, U.S. Vice Consul in Tenerife, 1905 [12]
  • Percy Wilfred Griffiths (1893-1983), American Republican politician, Mayor of Marietta, Ohio, 1938-39; U.S. Representative from Ohio 15th District, 1943-49 [12]
  • Martha Wright Griffiths (1912-2003), American Democrat politician, Member of Michigan Democratic State Central Committee, 1947; Member of Michigan State House of Representatives from Wayne County 1st District, 1949-52 [12]
  • Marjorie M. Griffiths, American Democrat politician, Member of Connecticut Democratic State Central Committee, 1940 [12]
  • John Lewis Griffiths (1855-1914), American Republican politician, Member of Indiana State House of Representatives, 1887; Indiana reporter of State courts, 1889-93; U.S. Consul in Liverpool, 1905-09; U.S. Consul General in London, 1909-14 [12]
  • ... (Another 27 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMS Hood
  • Mr. Leonard F Griffiths (b. 1923), English Ordinary Seaman serving for the Royal Navy from Eastbourne, Sussex, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [13]
HMS Prince of Wales
  • Mr. Clifford John Griffiths, British Petty Office Stoker, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking [14]
  • Mr. David J Griffiths, British Ordinary Seaman, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking [14]
  • Mr. Griffiths, British Able Seaman, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking [14]
HMS Repulse
  • Mr. John Isaac  Griffiths, British Writer, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and died in the sinking [15]
  • Mr. William Henry Griffiths, British Marine, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and died in the sinking [15]
  • Mr. Guy Richmond Griffiths, Australian Midshipman from Australia, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and survived the sinking [15]
HMS Royal Oak
  • James R. Griffiths (1921-1939), British Seaman with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he died in the sinking [16]
  • Edward John Griffiths (1915-1939), British Able Seaman with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he died in the sinking [16]
RMS Lusitania
  • Mr. John Humphrey Griffiths, English Chief Steward 3rd Class from England, who worked aboard the RMS Lusitania and survived the sinking [17]
  • Mr. William Henry Griffiths, English Refrigeration Greaser from Birkenhead, Cheshire, England, who worked aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking [17]
  • Mr. Samuel Herman Griffiths, English Trimmer from Everton, Liverpool, England, who worked aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking [17]
  • Mr. Christopher William Griffiths, Welsh 2nd Class passenger residing in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and survived the sinking [18]
USS Arizona
  • Mr. Robert Alfred Griffiths, American Electrician's Mate Third Class from California, USA working aboard the ship "USS Arizona" when she sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941, he died in the sinking [19]


  1. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  2. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  3. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  4. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  5. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Ann voyage to New South Wales, Australia in 1809 with 200 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/ann/1809
  6. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Agamemnon voyage to New South Wales, Australia in 1820 with 179 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/agamemnon/1820
  7. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Arab voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1822 with 155 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/arab/1822
  8. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Asia 1 voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1822 with 190 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/asia/1822
  9. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Asia 1 voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1823 with 151 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/asia/1823
  10. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  11. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  12. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, June 10) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  13. ^ H.M.S. Hood Association-Battle Cruiser Hood: Crew Information - H.M.S. Hood Rolls of Honour, Men Lost in the Sinking of H.M.S. Hood, 24th May 1941. (Retrieved 2016, July 15) . Retrieved from http://www.hmshood.com/crew/memorial/roh_24may41.htm
  14. ^ HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listprincecrew.html
  15. ^ HMS Repulse Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listrepulsecrew.html
  16. ^ Ships hit by U-boats crew list HMS Royal Oak (08) - (Retrieved 2018 February, 9th) - retrieved from https://uboat.net/allies/merchants/crews/ship68.html
  17. ^ Lusitania Passenger List - The Lusitania Resource. (Retrieved 2014, March 10) . Retrieved from http://www.rmslusitania.info/lusitania-passenger-list/
  18. ^ Lusitania Passenger List - The Lusitania Resource. (Retrieved 2014, March 6) . Retrieved from http://www.rmslusitania.info/lusitania-passenger-list/
  19. ^ Pearl Harbour: USS Arizona Casualties List Pearl Harbour December 7, 1941. (Retrieved 2018, July 31st). Retrieved from http://pearl-harbor.com/arizona/casualtylist.html


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