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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2015

Where did the Welsh Tew family come from? What is the Welsh Tew family crest and coat of arms? When did the Tew family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Tew family history?

The name Tew can be traced to the ancient Celtic culture of Wales. The surname Tew is derived from the Welsh word "tew," which means "portly" or "plump," and was most likely originally a nickname for a heavy-set person.

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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 Tew has occasionally been spelled Tew, Tews, Tewell, Tewel, Tuel, Tuell and others.

First found in Cardiganshire (Welsh: Sir Aberteifi), the former Kingdom of Ceredigion, created as a county in 1282 by Edward I, and located on the West coast of Wales, where they held a family seat anciently. Traditionally they claim descent from Rhodri Mawr, the first great King of Wales through Lord Rhys, Prince of South Wales. Gwenllian, daughter of John Tew married Dafydd Llywellyn Lloyd of Castle Howel, first knight of the shire for Cardiganshire.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Tew research. Another 67 words(5 lines of text) covering the years 1654, 1718, 1714, 1715, 1650 and 1695 are included under the topic Early Tew History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 161 words(12 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Tew Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Tew family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 67 words(5 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, many people from Wales joined the general migration to North America in search of land, work, and freedom. These immigrants greatly contributed to the rapid development of the new nations of Canada and the United States. They also added a rich and lasting cultural heritage to their newly adopted societies. Investigation of immigration and passenger lists has revealed a number of people bearing the name Tew:

Tew Settlers in United States in the 17th Century


  • Richard Tew, who settled in Newport Rhode Island in 1641
  • John Tew, who came to Virginia in 1650
  • John Tew, who arrived in Maryland in 1665

Tew Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • Charles Tew, who came to Maryland in 1760

Tew Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Miss Tew, aged 6, who emigrated to the United States, in 1895
  • Mrs. Tew, aged 34, who landed in America, in 1895
  • Mrs. T. W. Tew, aged 62, who settled in America, in 1897
  • J. Tew, aged 27, who emigrated to the United States, in 1897

Tew Settlers in United States in the 20th Century


  • Herbert W. Tew, aged 43, who landed in America from London, in 1904
  • Edward Tew, aged 25, who emigrated to America from Liverpool, in 1905
  • Ernest Tew, aged 32, who landed in America, in 1907
  • Haddock Tew, aged 25, who landed in America from Ely, England, in 1907
  • James Tew, aged 6, who settled in America, in 1907


Tew Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century


  • Arthur Tew, who arrived in Ontario in 1871

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  • Lowell William Tew (1927-1981), American football fullback
  • Charles Courtenay Tew (1827-1862), American colonel in the Confederate States Army
  • Henry Tew (1654-1718), American deputy governor of the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations
  • Gloria Tew (b. 1923), American abstract sculptor
  • Gwilym Tew (1460-1480), Welsh language poet and manuscript copyist
  • Robbie Tew, English rugby league footballer
  • Mamadou Tew (b. 1959), retired Senegalese footballer
  • Alan Tew, British composer and arranger
  • Professor Philip Tew, English academic
  • Thomas Tew (d. 1695), also known as the Rhode Island Pirate, was a 17th century English privateer turned pirate


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  1. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  2. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  3. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  4. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  5. Rowlands, John, John Rowlands and Sheila Rowlands. Welsh Family History: A Guide to Research. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1999. Print. (ISBN 080631620).
  6. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  7. Fairbairn,. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  8. Crispin, M. Jackson and Leonce Mary. Falaise Roll Recording Prominent Companions of William Duke of Normandy at the Conquest of England. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  9. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  10. Evans, Gwynfor. Wales: A History: 2000 Years of Welsh History. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1996. Print. (ISBN 0-76070-120-2).
  11. ...

The Tew Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Tew 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 21 February 2015 at 11:52.

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