Show ContentsVaughn History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The surname Vaughn is derived from the Welsh words fychan, vychan, and bychan, which all mean small or little. The name was sometimes used to distinguish the younger of two bearers of the same personal name; and in other instances, it may have been a nickname, applied ironically, to a tall person.

Early Origins of the Vaughn family

The surname Vaughn was first found in Shropshire, where they were descended from Tudor Trevor, the Earl of Hereford, and Lord of Maylors. His wife was descended from Howel Dda, King of South Wales, in 907. Descended was Gronwy, Earl of Hereford, through a series of Lords of Maylors and Oswestry. They descended to John Vaughan, son of Rhys Ap Llewellyn, of Plas Thomas in Shrewsbury.

Howel Vychan (Howel the Little) (d. 825) was a Welsh prince, said to have been son of Rhodri, a reputed descendant of Cunedda and king of Gwynedd or North Wales. [1]

Later, Vychan (Vaughan the Little) (fl 1230-1240), was a Welsh statesman and warrior who seems to have been the most trusted counsellor of Llewelyn ab Iorwerth. "In 1231, he signed a truce between Henry III and Llewelyn. In legendary history Ednyved is very famous, and stories are told how he slew three English chiefs in a hard fight. He became the ancestor of many leading Welsh families, and among them of the house of Tudor. He is said to have married, first, Gwenllian, daughter of the Lord Rhys of South Wales, and, secondly, the daughter of Llywerch ab Bran. By each of these ladies he had numerous offspring." [1]

Early History of the Vaughn family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Vaughn research. Another 105 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1447, 1522, 1587, 1592, 1600, 1603, 1613, 1620, 1621, 1626, 1629, 1639, 1640, 1644, 1659, 1660, 1661, 1666, 1667, 1672, 1674, 1675, 1676, 1678, 1679, 1681, 1683, 1686, 1695, 1713 and 1890 are included under the topic Early Vaughn History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Vaughn 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 Vaughn has occasionally been spelled Vaughan, Vaughn and others.

Early Notables of the Vaughn family

Prominent amongst the family during the late Middle Ages was Sir Griffith Vaughan or Vychan (d. 1447), Welsh soldier, was son of Griffith ap Leuan; Edward Vaughan (d. 1522), Welsh Bishop of St. David's; Sir Henry Vaughan the elder (1587?-1659), a Welsh politician, Member of Parliament for Carmarthen (1621-1629), Member of Parliament for Carmarthenshire (1640-1644), High Sheriff of Carmarthenshire (1620); Robert Powell Vaughan (ca. 1592-1667), an eminent Welsh antiquary and collector of manuscripts; Thomas Vaughan (1621-1666), a Welsh philosopher, best remembered for his writings in the area of natural magic; Sir John Vaughan SL (1603-1674), of Trawsgoed, a Welsh justice from...
Another 133 words (10 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Vaughn Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Vaughn Ranking

In the United States, the name Vaughn is the 305th most popular surname with an estimated 89,532 people with that name. [2]

Ireland Migration of the Vaughn family to Ireland

Some of the Vaughn family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 59 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Vaughn migration to the United States +

The Welsh migration to North America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries contributed greatly to its rapid development. These migrants were in search of land, work, and freedom. Those Welsh families that survived the long ocean journey were critical to the development of new industries and factories, and to the quick settlement of land. They also added to an ever-growing rich cultural heritage. A search of the immigration and passenger lists has shown a number of people bearing the name Vaughn:

Vaughn Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • William Vaughn, who arrived in New England in 1626 aboard the ship "Fellowship", bound for Hartford, Connecticut [3]
  • Mr. Rowland Vaughn, (b. 1616), aged 19, British settler who arrived in Virginia in 1635 aboard the ship "Alice" [4]
  • John Vaughn, who arrived in Salem, Massachusetts in 1636 [5]
Vaughn Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • David Vaughn, who landed in Virginia in 1707 [5]
  • William Vaughn, who landed in South Carolina in 1728 [5]
  • Richard Vaughn, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1746 [5]
Vaughn Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • John Vaughn, who landed in Indiana in 1854 [5]
  • Patrick Vaughn, who landed in Charleston, South Carolina in 1859 [5]
  • Thomas Vaughn, who landed in Mobile, Ala in 1860 [5]
  • James Vaughn, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1862 [5]
  • William Vaughn, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1876 [5]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Vaughn Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • C. Winfred Vaughn, aged 24, who landed in America, in 1905
  • Irene Vaughn, aged 30, who landed in America, in 1906
  • Herbert Vaughn, aged 34, who immigrated to the United States from London, England, in 1908
  • Bertha Lizzie Vaughn, aged 1, who immigrated to the United States from Blackpool, England, in 1909
  • E.I. Vaughn, aged 28, who immigrated to the United States, in 1909
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Vaughn migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Vaughn Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century
  • Annie Vaughn, aged 45, who settled in Halifax, Canada, in 1924

West Indies Vaughn migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [6]
Vaughn Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Mr. Ralph Vaughn, (b. 1613), aged 22, British settler travelling from London, England aboard the ship "Peter Bonaventure" arriving in Barbados and St Christopher (Saint Kitts) in 1635 [7]

Contemporary Notables of the name Vaughn (post 1700) +

  • Terry Vaughn (1973-2023), American soccer referee, National referee for the United States Soccer Federation
  • Baron Vaughn (b. 1980), American comedian and actor, known for his portrayal of Nwabudike "Bud" Bergstein on the Netflix television series Grace and Frankie
  • Thomas Robert "Tom" Vaughn (1943-2020), American football player and coach who played for the Detroit Lions (1965–1971)
  • John David Vaughn (1928-2016), American religious leader, 116th General Minister of the Friars Minor (OFM)
  • Robert Francis Vaughn (1932-2016), American Academy Award winning and BAFTA nominated actor, best known as Napoleon Solo in the 1960s television series The Man from U.N.C.L.E and more recently on Coronation Street in 2012
  • William Richard "Billy" Vaughn (1919-1991), American singer, multi-instrumentalist and orchestra leader
  • Jack Hood Vaughn (1920-2012), American 2nd Director of the United States Peace Corps
  • Maurice Samuel "Mo" Vaughn (b. 1967), nicknamed "The Hit Dog", American former Major League Baseball first baseman who played from 1991 to 2003, Silver Slugger Award (1995)
  • Kia Vaughn (b. 1987), American professional women's basketball player for the WNBA's Washington Mystics
  • Jacque Vaughn (b. 1975), American retired professional basketball player, current head coach of the Orlando Magic
  • ... (Another 8 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

The Vaughn 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: Non revertar inultus
Motto Translation: I will not return unrevenged.

Suggested Readings for the name Vaughn +

  • The Vaughn/Cross Family Book by James E. Coles.
  • Boone, Eller, Sledge, Vaughn and Related Families by Jesse H. Boone.

  1. Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  2. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  3. Pilgrim Ship's of 1600's Retrieved January 6th 2023, retrieved from
  4. Pilgrim Ship's of 1600's. Retrieved January 6th 2023 from
  5. 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)
  7. Pilgrim Ship Lists Early 1600's. Retrieved 23rd September 2021 from on Facebook