Parenting

38 Popular Welsh Last Names With Meanings And Origins

Updated: 
Originally Published: 
welsh last names, castle in wales
Krisztina Papp/Pexels

If you’ve never heard or attempted to read the Welsh language (and no, we don’t mean English), take a minute and listen to a quick clip now. We’ll wait. Not what you expected, right? The Welsh language is a member of the Brythonic group of the Celtic languages, and while it has been in steady decline since 1485 (who hasn’t?), it has become increasingly popular with the younger generations. Speaking of generations, they were a crucial part of Welsh last names which, for centuries, followed the ancient Welsh patronymic naming system, meaning that a child took on their father’s first name as a last name. (Yes, it can get confusing especially if you’re trying to do genealogical research.) Now, Welsh last names are mostly fixed family names, passed down through the generations but, like the Welsh language, the patronymic naming system is also making a comeback.

Welsh last names also happen to make interesting and unique first names for babies. And why wouldn’t you want a Welsh name? The country is associated with beautiful countryside and beaches, and they have a culture of friendliness and hospitality. There are many things they value as a culture, with family time arguably being the most important. Welsh people also have a beautiful history that’s filled with a rich tapestry of things like Christianity, rugby, and traditional meals (think cawl and roast lamb). Staple festivals like the St. David’s Day celebration, along with other festivals, are also wrapped in the fabric of their customs. During some of their holidays, traditional dressing with tall black hats, red cloaks, striped flannel, and shawls are encouraged, especially for children. In other words, tradition is very important to the Welsh and is part of why they have a vibrant culture to this day. And although Wales is in the United Kingdom, it is still an extremely diverse religious space, which includes Methodism, Anglicanism, Presbyterianism, Roman Catholicism, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and Sikhs. (Talk about a melting pot!)

Of course, everyone has a different experience, but having a Welsh last name can come with a lifetime of beautiful traditions. Here are some examples of popular Welsh last names, along with their meanings and origins.

  1. Awbrey

Meaning: One who lives in a place with old trees Origin: Normandy

  1. Bach

Meaning: Little or small Origin: Scandinavia

  1. Blayney

Meaning: Uplands, river source; someone associated with Castleblayney, Ireland Origin: Welsh

  1. Carew

Meaning: Fort, hill, or slope Origin: Welsh

  1. Cecil

Meaning: Sixth Origin: Latin

  1. Davies

Meaning: Son of David, David, or beloved Origin: Hebrew

  1. Evans

Meaning: “God Is Good” or God has been gracious” Origin: Welsh/Hebrew

  1. Griffiths

Meaning: Chief or lord Origin: Welsh

  1. Hughes

Meaning: Heart, hug, or spirit Origin: German

  1. James

Meaning: Supplanter Origin: (Likely) Normandy

  1. Jannance

Meaning: Son of John Origin: Welsh/Irish

  1. Jeavons/Jevon

Meaning: Son of Jevan, Yevan, or Evan Origin: Welsh/Irish

  1. Justan

Meaning: The son of Justin Origin: Roman

  1. Jones

Meaning: Son of Ioan Origin: Wales/England

  1. Ladd

Meaning: To destroy Origin: Welsh

  1. Leavenworth

Meaning: Level farm, castle, or court; place on the river Leven Origin: Welsh

  1. Levenworth

Meaning: An open or bare place Origin: Welsh

  1. Livermore

Meaning: A great light Origin: Welsh

  1. Llary

Meaning: Welsch Origin: Mild, easy

  1. Lommis

Meaning: Bare, naked, or exposed Origin: Welsh

  1. Losce

Meaning: Burning or searing Origin: Welsh

  1. Merrick

Meaning: Dark-skinned Origin: Roman

  1. Moss

Meaning: Peat bog Origin: English

  1. Nest

Meaning: Holy or pure Origin: Greek

  1. Owen

Meaning: Noble Origin: Greek

  1. Poyner

Meaning: Honored Origin: Latin

  1. Rosser

Meaning: Spear Origin: German

  1. Sealy

Meaning: Peaceful; Solomon Origin: Welsh

  1. Williams

Meaning: Desire, helmet, or protection Origin: France/Italy

  1. Wogan

Meaning: To frown Origin: Welsh

  1. Roberts

Meaning: Bright, renown Origin: German/Welsh

  1. Lewis

Meaning: Lion like or loud battle; leader Origin: French

  1. Thomas

Meaning: Twin Origin: Welsh/Aramic

  1. Morgan

Meaning: Sea, sea chief, sea protector, sailor, or captain; famous magic Origin: Welsh

  1. Edwards

Meaning: Son of Edward Origin: England/Welsh

  1. Smith

Meaning: To smite Origin: England

  1. Rees

Meaning: Ardour; fiery warrior Origin: England

  1. Jenkins

Meaning: Little John or son of John Origin: Welsh

This article was originally published on