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An excerpt from archives copyright 2000 - 2016

From the Celtic land of Wales came the name Gwyn. This name initially evolved from person with light-colored hair or a pale complexion; the surname Gwyn may have also been applied to someone who habitually wore white or pale-colored clothing. The name Gwyn, one of only a few Welsh nickname surnames, is derived from the Welsh word "gwyn," which means "fair" or "white." Other references claim the name is derived from the words "llwch" meaning "dust" or gwin meaning "wine." According to Welsh tradition, the Adar Llwch Gwin were giant birds given to Drudwas ap Tryffin by his fairy wife. The birds obeyed their master and assisted him in battle. The term later appeared in Welsh poetry to describe hawks, falcons and occasionally brave men.


The surname Gwyn was 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 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.

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 Gwyn have included Gwynne, Gwin, Gwine, Gwinn, Gwinne, Gwyn, Gwynn and many more.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Gwyn research. Another 199 words (14 lines of text) covering the years 1508, 1537, 1584, 1584, 1591, 1537, 1584, 1584, 1970, 1623, 1673, 1654, 1662, 1648, 1734, 1650, 1687 and are included under the topic Early Gwyn History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


Prominent amongst the family during the late Middle Ages was Robert Gwin ( fl. 1591), a Welsh Roman Catholic priest and author; Saint Richard Gwyn ( ca. 1537-1584), also known as Richard White, a Welsh school teacher, martyred high treason in 1584 but later canonised by Pope Paul VI in 1970; George Gwynne...

Another 79 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Gwyn Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


Some of the Gwyn family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 105 words (8 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


Many people from Wales joined the general migration to North America in the 19th and 20th centuries, searching for land, work, and freedom. Like the many other immigrants from the British Isles, they made a significant contribution to the development of Canada and the United States. The Welsh and their descendents added a rich cultural tradition to the newly developed towns, cities, and villages. An investigation of the immigration and passenger lists has revealed a number of people bearing the name Gwyn:

Gwyn Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Ann Gwyn, who landed in Virginia in 1642
  • Hugh Gwyn, who landed in Virginia in 1642
  • Alex Gwyn, who arrived in Virginia in 1652
  • Charles Gwyn who arrived in Barbados in 1654
  • Thomas Gwyn, who landed in Maryland in 1658
  • ...

Gwyn Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Elenor Gwyn, who landed in Virginia in 1703
  • David Gwyn, who arrived in Virginia in 1704

Gwyn Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • William Gwyn, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1854

  • Aaron Gwyn (b. 1972), American short story author, novelist, and English professor
  • Marcus Edwin Gwyn (b. 1977), American former Major League Baseball relief pitcher from Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • Alexandra Sandra Fraser Gwyn, Canadian journalist and writer
  • Richard John Philip Jermy Gwyn OC (b. 1934), English-born, Canadian civil servant, journalist and author
  • Sandra Gwyn OC (1935-2000), Canadian journalist and writer

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: Vim vi repellere licet
Motto Translation: It is lawful to repel force by force.


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    Other References

    1. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
    2. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
    3. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds. . Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-005-8).
    4. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
    5. MacAulay, Thomas Babington. History of England from the Accession of James the Second 4 volumes. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1879. Print.
    6. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
    7. Rowlands, John, John Rowlands and Sheila Rowlands. Welsh Family History: A Guide to Research. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1999. Print. (ISBN 080631620).
    8. Thirsk, Joan ed. Et. Al. The Agrarian History of England and Wales. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 7 Volumes. Print.
    9. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
    10. Skordas, Guest. Ed. The Early Settlers of Maryland an Index to Names or Immigrants Complied from Records of Land Patents 1633-1680 in the Hall of Records Annapolis, Maryland. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1968. Print.
    11. ...

    The Gwyn Family Crest was acquired from the archives. The Gwyn 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 27 November 2015 at 21:26.

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