Merefin History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
The name of Merefin is Celtic in origin, arising from the ancient Britons of Wales. The name's specific origins were derived from the Welsh personal name Mervin, which originally took the form Merlin. The magician Merlin plays an important role in Arthurian legend and is given the attributes of a Celtic druid. He figures prominently in early Welsh writings, and the first full-fledged treatment of him is given in the Libellus Merlini (Little Book of Merlin), a Latin tract written by Geoffrey of Monmouth c. 1135.
Early Origins of the Merefin family
The surname Merefin was first found in Wiltshire, where this distinguished Welsh family claim descent from Mervyn Vrych, (Merfyn Frych 'Merfyn the Freckled', Merfyn ap Gwriad 'Merfyn son of Gwriad', Merfyn Camwri 'Merfyn the Oppressor') an 11th century Lord of Anglesey, who settled in Wiltshire on the English Welsh border. He is thought to have died around 844 and was King of Gwynedd from around 825 to his death. He came from a long line of nobility.
Llywelyn ap Merfyn (died 942) was King of Powys, son of Merfyn ap Rhodri, and grandson of Rhodri the Great. His father, Merfyn ap Rhodri (died c.900) was also King of Powis (878-900.) Mystery surrounds his death. Some believe he died due to the incursion into Anglesey by the Viking Ingimundr. Others believe he lost his realm to an invasion by his brother Cadell, King of Ceredigion.
All trace back to Rhodri ap Merfyn (c. 820-878), later known as Rhodri the Great (Welsh: Rhodri Mawr), who succeeded his father, Merfyn Frych, as King of Gwynedd in 844. He is referred to "King of the Britons" by the Annals of Ulster and later as the "King of Wales."
Early History of the Merefin family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Merefin research. Another 39 words (3 lines of text) covering the years 1799, 1603, 1675, 1661 and 1666 are included under the topic Early Merefin History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Merefin 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 Merefin has occasionally been spelled Mervyn, Mervin, Mervyng, Merwin and others.
Early Notables of the Merefin family (pre 1700)
Another 48 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Merefin Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Merefin family to Ireland
Some of the Merefin family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. More information about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Merefin family
In the 1800s and 1900s, many Welsh families left for North America, in search of land, work, and freedom. Those who made the trip successfully helped contribute to the growth of industry, commerce, and the cultural heritage of both Canada and the United States. In the immigration and passenger lists were a number of people bearing the name Merefin Andrew Mervine, whose Oath of Allegiance was recorded in Pennsylvania in 1779; Ferdinand Mervyn, who settled in Philadelphia in 1808; and Alexander Mervin, who was recorded as a British Alien in the United States during the War of 1812..
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: De Dieu tout
Motto Translation: From God everything.