Show ContentsGuillen History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The origins of the Welsh name Guillen go back to those ancient Celts known as the Britons that once occupied the hills and Moors of Wales. This old Welsh surname is from the personal name Gwilliam, which is a Welsh form of the name William.

The name was anciently found in Normandy, France where it was more often than not spelt Guillem and by the Conquest was often seen as Guillaume. 1

Early Origins of the Guillen family

The surname Guillen was first found in Cardiganshire where the fist on record was David ap Gwilym, the celebrated Welsh bard. There are two thoughts as to his origin. The first claims that he was born at Bro Gynin in the parish of Llanbadarn Vawr, Cardiganshire, about 1340 and died there about 1400. He was buried in the abbey of Ystrad Flur in the same county. The second claims he was born near Llandaff, Glamorganshire in 1300, and to have died at the abbey of Talley, Carmarthenshire, in 1368. 2

What is not in dispute is that his parents were Gwilym Gam, a descendant of Llywarch ab Brân, one of the fifteen tribes of North Wales, and Ardudful, sister of Llywelyn ap Gwilym Vychan of Emlyn. He took to studies in Italy and by the age of fifteen, he had returned to Wales where his satirical whit became famous.

He fell in love with Laura for whom he wrote 147 poems. In his lifetime, he is known to have written 262 poems which were collected and published in 1789. "Other poems by him have since been discovered among the manuscript collections of Welsh poetry in the Mostyn library. The British Museum possesses many manuscript copies of his poems. " 2

At about the same time or perhaps earlier, John ap-Gwilym was Chancellor of St. David's in 1351. The name was also a forenames in East Cheshire. Gwilliam ap Griffith was listed as holding lands there in 1450. 3

Early History of the Guillen family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Guillen research. Another 74 words (5 lines of text) covering the years 1351, 1565 and 1621 are included under the topic Early Guillen History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Guillen Spelling Variations

Although there are comparatively few Welsh surnames, they have a great many spelling variations. Variations of Welsh names began almost immediately after their acceptance within Welsh society. In the Middle Ages, it was up to priests and the few other people that recorded names in official documents to decide how to spell the names that they heard. Variations that occurred because of improper recording increased dramatically as the names were later transliterated into English. The Brythonic Celtic language of Wales, known by natives as Cymraeg, featured many highly inflected sounds that could not be properly captured by the English language. 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 were all indicated by the particular variation of one's name. The spelling variations of the name Guillen have included Gwilliam, Gwuilliam, Guilliam, Gwilliams and others.

Early Notables of the Guillen family

Another 34 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Guillen Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Guillen Ranking

In the United States, the name Guillen is the 2,731st most popular surname with an estimated 12,435 people with that name. 4 However, in France, the name Guillen is ranked the 5,705th most popular surname with an estimated 1,000 - 1,500 people with that name. 5

United States Guillen migration to the United States +

Many Welsh joined the great migrations to North America in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Like their Scottish and Irish neighbors, many Welsh families left their homeland hoping to find hope and prosperity in a land that the English did not exercise a tight rule over. Those Welsh immigrants that successfully traveled to North America went on to make significant contributions to the rapid development of both Canada and the United States in terms of the settling of land and the establishment of industry. They also added to the rich cultural heritage of both countries. An examination into the immigration and passenger lists has discovered a number of people bearing the name Guillen:

Guillen Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Juan Guillen, who arrived in America in 1814 6
  • Catalina Guillen, who arrived in America in 1814 6
  • Juana Guillen, who landed in America in 1814 6
  • Anton Guillen, who arrived in America in 1815 6
  • Alonso Guillen, who landed in America in 1826 6
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Guillen (post 1700) +

  • Mauro F. Guillén, American sociologist, political economist, and management educator
  • Alita K. Haytayan Guillen (b. 1970), American former television news anchor and reporter
  • Hannia Guillen (b. 1982), Cuban-American actress
  • Ryan Guillen (b. 1977), American politician, American Texas State Representative
  • Ryan Guillen, American Democratic Party politician, Member of Texas State House of Representatives 31st District; Elected unopposed 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010; Elected 2012 7
  • Dalinda Guillen, American Democratic Party politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Texas, 2008 7
  • Jorge Guillén (1937-2023), Spanish basketball player, who competed in the men's tournament at the 1960 Summer Olympics
  • Rafael Guillén (1933-2023), Spanish poet, a prominent member of the Generation of '50
  • Gustavo Guillén (1962-2020), Argentine actor and musician
  • Carlos Raúl Contreras Guillén (1938-2020), Chilean football defender who played for Chile in the 1962 FIFA World Cup
  • ... (Another 17 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

  1. 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)
  2. Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  3. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  4. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  6. 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)
  7. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, January 20) . Retrieved from on Facebook