Popular Welsh Last Names/Surnames With Meanings And Origins

38 Popular Welsh Last Names With Meanings And Origins

November 2, 2020 Updated March 1, 2021

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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
  2. Bach
    Meaning: Little or small
    Origin: Scandinavia
  3. Blayney
    Meaning: Uplands, river source; someone associated with Castleblayney, Ireland
    Origin: Welsh
  4. Carew
    Meaning: Fort, hill, or slope
    Origin: Welsh
  5. Cecil
    Meaning: Sixth
    Origin: Latin
  6. Davies
    Meaning: Son of David, David, or beloved
    Origin: Hebrew
  7. Evans
    Meaning: “God Is Good” or God has been gracious”
    Origin: Welsh/Hebrew
  8. Griffiths
    Meaning: Chief or lord
    Origin: Welsh
  9. Hughes
    Meaning: Heart, hug, or spirit
    Origin: German
  10. James
    Meaning: Supplanter
    Origin: (Likely) Normandy
  11. Jannance
    Meaning: Son of John
    Origin: Welsh/Irish
  12. Jeavons/Jevon
    Meaning: Son of Jevan, Yevan, or Evan
    Origin: Welsh/Irish
  13. Justan
    Meaning: The son of Justin
    Origin: Roman
  14. Jones
    Meaning: Son of Ioan
    Origin: Wales/England
  15. Ladd
    Meaning: To destroy
    Origin: Welsh
  16. Leavenworth
    Meaning: Level farm, castle, or court; place on the river Leven
    Origin: Welsh
  17. Levenworth
    Meaning: An open or bare place
    Origin: Welsh
  18. Livermore
    Meaning: A great light
    Origin: Welsh
  19. Llary
    Meaning: Welsch
    Origin: Mild, easy
  20. Lommis
    Meaning: Bare, naked, or exposed
    Origin: Welsh
  21. Losce
    Meaning: Burning or searing
    Origin: Welsh
  22. Merrick
    Meaning: Dark-skinned
    Origin: Roman
  23. Moss
    Meaning: Peat bog
    Origin: English
  24. Nest
    Meaning: Holy or pure
    Origin: Greek
  25. Owen
    Meaning: Noble
    Origin: Greek
  26. Poyner
    Meaning: Honored
    Origin: Latin
  27. Rosser
    Meaning: Spear
    Origin: German
  28. Sealy
    Meaning: Peaceful; Solomon
    Origin: Welsh
  29. Williams
    Meaning: Desire, helmet, or protection
    Origin: France/Italy
  30. Wogan
    Meaning: To frown
    Origin: Welsh
  31. Roberts
    Meaning: Bright, renown
    Origin: German/Welsh
  32. Lewis
    Meaning: Lion like or loud battle; leader
    Origin: French
  33. Thomas
    Meaning: Twin
    Origin: Welsh/Aramic
  34. Morgan
    Meaning: Sea, sea chief, sea protector, sailor, or captain; famous magic
    Origin: Welsh
  35. Edwards
    Meaning: Son of Edward
    Origin: England/Welsh
  36. Smith
    Meaning: To smite
    Origin: England
  37. Rees
    Meaning: Ardour; fiery warrior
    Origin: England
  38. Jenkins
    Meaning: Little John or son of John
    Origin: Welsh