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An excerpt from archives copyright 2000 - 2016

Origins Available: English, Welsh

A product of the ancient Brythonic Celts of Wales, the name Ownby, is from the Welsh personal name Owen or Owain. The Old Welsh forms of this name were Ouen and Ouein and were borrowed from the Latin name Eugenius. This is in turn derived from the Greek name Eugenios, which means well-born or noble. The name was recorded in Wales as early as 926 AD, when Uwen Wenta Cyning was noted.


The surname Ownby was first found in Montgomeryshire (Welsh: Sir Drefaldwyn), located in mid-Eastern Wales, one of thirteen historic counties, and anciently the medieval kingdom of Powys Wenwynwyn, 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.

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 Ownby have included Owen, Owens, MacOwen, Owenson, Owenby, Ownby and others.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Ownby research. Another 253 words (18 lines of text) covering the years 1169, 1661, 1624, 1640, 1600, 1666, 1616, 1683, 1608, 1678, 1645, 1678, 1645, 1698, 1676, 1679, 1664, 1622, 1692, 1659, 1647, 1639, 1700 and are included under the topic Early Ownby History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


Prominent amongst the family during the late Middle Ages was Thomas Owen (died 1661), an English politician who sat in the House of Commons between 1624 and 1640, supporter of the Royalist cause in the English Civil War; Sir John Owen (1600-1666), a Welsh Royalist officer during the English Civil War...

Another 100 words (7 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Ownby Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


Some of the Ownby 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.


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 Ownby:

Ownby Settlers in United States in the 20th Century

  • John S. Ownby, who landed in America, in 1912

  • Daniel Gil "Dan" Ownby (b. 1968), American elected volunteer member of the World Scout Committee
  • Brian Ownby (b. 1990), American soccer player
  • Ted Ownby, American professor of history at the University of Mississippi
  • James Ownby, American photographer
  • Vester M. Ownby, American politician, Independent Candidate for Presidential Elector for Georgia, 1972
  • James W. Ownby, American politician, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Texas, 1902-14
  • David Jarrod Ownby, American politician, Independent Candidate for U.S. Senator from Tennessee, 2000

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    Other References

    1. Evans, Gwynfor. Wales: A History: 2000 Years of Welsh History. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1996. Print. (ISBN 0-76070-120-2).
    2. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
    3. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
    4. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
    5. Davies, R. R. The Age of Conquest: Wales, 1063-1415. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000. Print.
    6. Bradsley C.W. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print.
    7. Burke, Sir Bernard. Burke's Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry: Including American Families with British Ancestry. (2 Volumes). London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
    8. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
    9. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
    10. Library of Congress. American and English Genealogies in the Library of Congress. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1967. Print.
    11. ...

    The Ownby Family Crest was acquired from the archives. The Ownby 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 26 January 2016 at 10:00.

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