Tew History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

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.

Early Origins of the Tew family

The surname Tew was 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.

Early History of the Tew family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Tew research. Another 34 words (2 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 and printed products wherever possible.

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

Early Notables of the Tew family (pre 1700)

Prominent amongst the family during the late Middle Ages was John Tew of Cardigan; Henry Tew (1654-1718), early American 16th Deputy Governor of the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations (1714-1715); and Thomas Tew (c. 1650-1695), American pirate who gained notoriety in the Red Sea...
Another 45 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Tew Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Tew family to Ireland

Some of the Tew family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 39 words (3 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Tew migration to the United States +

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 settled in Virginia in 1650
  • John Tew, who arrived in Maryland in 1665 [1]
Tew Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Charles Tew, who settled in Maryland in 1760
Tew Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Miss Tew, aged 6, who immigrated 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 immigrated 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 immigrated 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
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Tew migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Tew Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Arthur Tew, who arrived in Ontario in 1871

New Zealand Tew migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Tew Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Arthur W. Tew, (b. 1843), aged 22, English butcher from Rugby travelling from London aboard the ship "Tudor" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 24th September 1865 [2]

Contemporary Notables of the name Tew (post 1700) +

  • 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

  1. ^ 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)
  2. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html

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