Show ContentsGwaltney History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Pictish clans of ancient Scotland were the ancestors of the first people to use the name Gwaltney. It comes from in some place which is now obscure. The surname Gwaltney belongs to the category of habitation names, which are derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads. [1]

Other sources claim the name is "a nickname for messenger, runner, [2] or "a messenger or runner [who] was fleet of foot." [3]

Early Origins of the Gwaltney family

The surname Gwaltney was first found in Perthshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Pheairt) former county in the present day Council Area of Perth and Kinross, located in central Scotland, where they held a family seat from very ancient times, some say well before the Norman Conquest and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D.

Early History of the Gwaltney family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Gwaltney research. Another 79 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1291, 1296, 1745, 1762, 1784 and 1789 are included under the topic Early Gwaltney History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Gwaltney Spelling Variations

Translation has done much to alter the appearance of many Scottish names. It was a haphazard process that lacked a basic system of rules. Spelling variations were a common result of this process. Gwaltney has appeared Galletly, Gallightly, Gellatly, Gellately, Gillatly, Golightly and many more.

Early Notables of the Gwaltney family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the Clan at this time was Anne Catleyborn, born in 1745 in an alley near "Tower Hill, London of very humble parents, her father being a hackney coachman, and her mother a washerwoman. Endowed with great personal beauty, a charming voice, and a natural talent for singing, she gained her living at the early age of 10 years by singing in the public houses in the neighbourhood, and also for the diversion of the officers quartered in the Tower. When about 15 years of age she was...
Another 88 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Gwaltney Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Gwaltney Ranking

In the United States, the name Gwaltney is the 10,494th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [4]

United States Gwaltney migration to the United States +

Many Scots left their country to travel to the North American colonies in search of the freedom they could not find at home. Of those who survived the difficult voyage, many found the freedom they so desired. There they could choose their own beliefs and allegiances. Some became United Empire Loyalists and others fought in the American War of Independence. The Clan societies and highland games that have sprung up in the last century have allowed many of these disparate Scots to recover their collective national identity. A search of immigration and passenger ship lists revealed many early settlers bearing the Gwaltney name:

Gwaltney Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Wm. L. Gwaltney, aged 24, who landed in America, in 1910
  • Mrs. Wm. L Gwaltney, aged 27, who immigrated to America, in 1911
  • John Gwaltney, aged 40, who landed in America, in 1914
  • H. D. Gwaltney, aged 25, who immigrated to the United States, in 1923

Contemporary Notables of the name Gwaltney (post 1700) +

  • John Langston Gwaltney (1928-1998), American writer and anthropologist
  • Billie Gwaltney (b. 1962), American professional baseball player
  • Francis Irby Gwaltney (1921-1981), American author
  • Thomas "Tommy" O. Gwaltney (1921-2003), American jazz multi-instrumentalist and bandleader

The Gwaltney Motto +

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: Hactenus invictus
Motto Translation: Hitherto unconquered.

  1. Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. Harrison, Henry, Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary Baltimore: Geneological Publishing Company, 2013. Print
  3. Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York: Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  4. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?"., on Facebook