Onions History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Brythonic in origin, the name of Onions came from the rugged landscape of Wales. The name is from the common Welsh personal name Enion. The Old Welsh form of this name was Enniaun, which is ultimately derived from the Latin name Annianus. The name is also associated with the Welsh word "enion," which literally means "anvil" and connotes the qualities of stability and fortitude.

Some experts also associate the surname Onions with the Welsh word "uniawn," which means "upright" or "just." One of the most celebrated bearers of this forename was Einion (or Enyon), a 11th century Welsh warrior-prince and the son of Collwyn. He played a significant role in the legend of the Conquest of Glamorgan by the Normans. It is generally believed that he built Port Eynon castle near Swansea, but evidence of the early castle has been lost. Port Eynon (also spelt Port Einon) still survives today as a village and community in the city and county of Swansea.

As a forename, the name is fairly numerous in early Welsh history including: Einion Offeiriad ("Einion the Priest") (died 1356), Welsh poet and grammarian; Einion ap Gwalchmai (1202-1223), Welsh court poet; Einion ap Gwgon (fl. c. 1215), Welsh court poet; Einion ap Gollwyn, (possibly legendary) Welsh prince of the eleventh century; Einion Wan (fl. c. 1202-1245), Welsh court poet; Saint Einion Frenin (c. 5th century), a son of Owain Ddantgwyn who reigned as a local king in Gwynedd; and Einion Yrth ap Cunedda (c. 420-500; reigned from the 470s), king of Gwynedd.

Early Origins of the Onions family

The surname Onions was first found in Sussex, where "in the register of East Grinstead, Sussex, in the first half of the XVII. century, the name is written indifferently Ennion and Onion. " [1]

"Onions is probably another form of Inions, also a Shropshire name and above referred to. It is, however, probable that away from the Welsh border this name, as Lower suggests, may be a corruption of Unwin or Onwen, an old personal name, which was represented in Cambridgeshire and elsewhere in the 13th century by the surnames of Onwinne and Onoiun." [2]

The Pipe Rolls of Shropshire (Salop) in 1159 list Ennian filius Gieruerd and later in Herefordshire, Ennion de Caple was listed there in the Curia Regis Rolls of 1205. The singular names Eynon and Eynun were listed in the Assize Rolls for Shropshire in 1221 and in Cheshire, Eignon was found there in the Assize Rolls of 1287. Anian was Bishop of Bangor in 1284 and Gruffydd ap Madog Vnyon was listed in 1392. Gode heynon was found in Suffolk in 1221 and in the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273, William Anyun was listed in Berkshire. Andrew Heizhnon was listed in the Subsidy Rolls for Essex in 1327 and John Eynon was found in the Subsidy Rolls for Worcestershire in 1327. [3]

Early History of the Onions family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Onions research. Another 86 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Onions History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Onions 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 Onions have included Einion, Ennian, Annian, Anyan, Einion, Ennion, Enions, Inion, Inions, Innion, Innions, Ineon, Eneon, Onion and many more.

Early Notables of the Onions family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Onions Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Onions family to Ireland

Some of the Onions 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 Onions migration to the United States +

North America in the 1800s and 1900s saw the arrival of many Welsh people hoping to share in the wealth of land, work, and freedom that they felt North America held. Those who made the journey often attained those expectations, but only through an enormous amount of hard work, perseverance, and often a bout of good luck. These immigrants helped contribute to the growth of industry, commerce, and culture of both Canada and the United States. Discovered in the immigration and passenger lists were a number of people bearing the name Onions:

Onions Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Edward Boden Onions, who landed in New York in 1832 [4]

Australia Onions migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Onions Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Miss Mary Onions who was convicted in Shrewsbury, Shorpshire, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Edward" on 23rd April 1834, arriving in Tasmania, (Van Diemen's Land) [5]
  • Mr. James Onions, English convict who was convicted in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Emerald Isle" on 28th June 1843, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) [6]
  • Mr. William Onions, English convict who was convicted in Worcester, Worcestershire, England for 15 years, transported aboard the "Emerald Isle" on 28th June 1843, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) [6]
  • Mrs. Ellenor Onions, (Eleanor, Ellen, York), (b. 1824), aged 25, Irish house maid who was convicted in Westmeath, Ireland for 7 years for larceny, transported aboard the "Australasia" on 26th June 1849, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land), she died in 1907 [7]

Contemporary Notables of the name Onions (post 1700) +

  • Alfred Onions (1858-1921), Welsh Labour Party politician
  • Keith O'Nions (b. 1944), British scientist, president and rector of Imperial College London
  • Graham Onions (b. 1982), English former cricketer who played for Durham, Lancashire and England as a right arm fast-medium bowler
  • George Oliver Onions (1873-1961), who penned under the name Oliver Onions, an English novelist and short story writer
  • Charles Talbut Onions (1873-1965), (known as C. T. Onions), an English grammarian and lexicographer and the fourth editor of the Oxford English Dictionary
  • George Onions (1883-1944), English recipient of the Victoria Cross


  1. ^ Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  3. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  4. ^ 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)
  5. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 25th January 2022). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/edward
  6. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 25th March 2022). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/emerald-isle)
  7. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 11th September 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/australasia


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