Merwin History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name of Merwin 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 Merwin family

The surname Merwin 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 Merwin family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Merwin research. Another 39 words (3 lines of text) covering the years 1799, 1603, 1675, 1661 and 1666 are included under the topic Early Merwin History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Merwin Spelling Variations

There are relatively few surnames native to Wales, but they have an inordinately large number of spelling variations. Early variations of Welsh surnames can be explained by the fact that very few people in the early Middle Ages were literate. Priests and the few other literate people were responsible for recording names in official documents. And because most people could not specific how to properly record their names it was up to the individual recorder of that time to determine how a spoken name should be recorded. Variations due to the imprecise or improper recording of a name continued later in history when names originally composed in the Brythonic Celtic, language of Wales, known by natives as Cymraeg, were transliterated into English. Welsh names that were documented in English often changed dramatically since the native language of Wales, which was highly inflected, did not copy well. Occasionally, however, spelling variations were carried out according to an individual's specific design: a branch loyalty within the family, a religious adherence, or even patriotic affiliations could be indicated by minor variations. The spelling variations of the name Merwin have included Mervyn, Mervin, Mervyng, Merwin and others.

Early Notables of the Merwin family (pre 1700)

Another 48 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Merwin Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Merwin family to Ireland

Some of the Merwin 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.


United States Merwin migration to the United States +

Many Welsh families joined their Scottish and Irish neighbors during the late 1800s and early 1900s in seeking refuge in North America. Like the Irish and Scottish, many Welsh anxiously awaited the work, freedom, and opportunities that they believed lay in North America. Those who did journey over to the United States and what became known as Canada often realized those dreams, but only through much toil and perseverance. Whenever and however these Welsh immigrants arrived in North America, they were instrumental in the creation of the industry, commerce, and cultural heritage within those two developing nations. In the immigration and passenger lists a number of early immigrants bearing the name Merwin were found:

Merwin Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • E. Merwin, aged 5, who immigrated to the United States, in 1893
  • Annie Merwin, aged 3, who landed in America, in 1894
  • Louis B. Merwin, aged 28, who immigrated to America, in 1896
Merwin Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Edward P. Merwin, aged 42, who immigrated to the United States, in 1904
  • George P. Merwin, aged 75, who landed in America, in 1906
  • H. Merwin, who landed in America, in 1906
  • B. Merwin, aged 3, who immigrated to the United States, in 1907
  • G. V. Merwin, aged 42, who landed in America, in 1910
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Merwin migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Merwin Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century
  • George T. Merwin, aged 40, who settled in Montreal, in 1905
  • Hattie Merwin, aged 22, who immigrated to Montreal, Canada, in 1915

Contemporary Notables of the name Merwin (post 1700) +

  • William Stanley "W.S." Merwin (1927-2019), American poet awarded the 1971 and 2009 Pulitzer Prizes for Poetry
  • Jesse Merwin (1783-1852), American rural Schoolmaster in Upstate New York, friend of Washington Irving, inspiration for the Ichabod Crane character in Washington Irving's The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
  • Timothy T. Merwin, American politician, Member of Connecticut State House of Representatives from Norwalk, 1838
  • Samuel E. Merwin Jr. (1831-1907), American Republican politician,Adjutant General of Connecticut, 1868-72; Member of Connecticut State Senate 4th District, 1876; Candidate for U.S. Representative from Connecticut 2nd District, 1882
  • R. Clifford Merwin, American Republican politician, Member of Connecticut State House of Representatives from New Britain; Elected 1906
  • Robert Lorin Merwin (b. 1863), American politician, U.S. Consular Agent in Frederiksted, 1901-17
  • Philo Camp Merwin (1809-1903), American politician, Member of Connecticut State House of Representatives from Brookfield, 1863-64
  • Nathan Merwin, American politician, Member of Connecticut State House of Representatives from Orange, 1835-36, 1839
  • Orange Merwin (1777-1853), American Democrat politician, Delegate to Connecticut State Constitutional Convention, 1818; Member of Connecticut State House of Representatives from New Milford, 1820, 1838
  • Milton H. Merwin, American politician, Justice of New York Supreme Court 5th District, 1897-1900; Justice of the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court 3rd Department, 1900
  • ... (Another 17 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


The Merwin 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: De Dieu tout
Motto Translation: From God everything.


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