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100 Famous Welsh Last Names: From Many Clans

Updated
100 Strong Welsh Family Names (Both Ancient and Modern)

Welsh last names often get mixed up with English and Celtic traditions and are usually not given the attention they deserve when honoring unique Welsh history.

You can learn from our comprehensive guide to Welsh surnames, from distinct pronunciations to a breakdown of each name. With the mystical and the most popular, each name is more than it appears at first glance.


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100 Popular Welsh Surnames

Unpack thousands of years of history with Welsh last names unlike any other you’ll find.

Avalon

Avalon means “island of apples,” but is best known for its use in the tale of King Arthur. It was the name of the island where the Excalibur sword was first made.

  • Origin: Welsh, Cornish
  • Meaning: Apple tree
  • Pronunciation: AHV-aa-Laan
  • Variations: Avallon
  • Namesakes: Frankie Avalon, an American entertainer with 31 Billboard singles from 1958 to 1962. Mickey Avalon (born Yeshe Perl), an American rapper and member of the Los Angeles-based graffiti crew CBS.
  • Popularity: Avalon is very rare worldwide and mostly used in the U.S.
Earthy, Uncommon

Baines

Baines comes from the Welsh “ab Einws,” meaning “son of Einws.” It’s a boy’s name based on Ennion, meaning “anvil,” and was used as a nickname for a “thin person” or “blacksmith.”

  • Origin: Welsh, English
  • Meaning: Little anvil
  • Pronunciation: BEYNZ
  • Variations: Bains
  • Namesakes: Leighton Baines, an English footballer and head coach at Everton. Nicholas Baines, the British Anglican Bishop of Leeds since 2014.
  • Popularity: Baines is very rare worldwide and mainly used in the U.S.
Patronymic, Nickname

Beddoe

While Beddoe may be based on the Welsh Bettws, it’s associated with the Old English “bed-hus,” meaning “house of prayer.”

  • Origin: Welsh
  • Meaning: Oratory
  • Pronunciation: BEH-dow
  • Variations: Bedoe
  • Namesakes: Valerie Beddoe, an Australian diver and gold medalist at the 1982 Commonwealth Games. Dan Beddoe, a Welsh tenor and gold medalist at the National Eisteddfod of Wales.
  • Popularity: Beddoe is very rare worldwide, primarily used in the U.S., and ranked 1,631st in Wales in 2014.
Religious

Bethel

Bethel derives from the Welsh “ap Ithell,” meaning “son of Ithel.” It’s likely connected to the first name “Ithel” and is often used for place names in the UK.

  • Origin: Welsh
  • Meaning: House of God
  • Pronunciation: BEH-Thahl
  • Variations: Betel
  • Namesakes: Judith Bethel, a House of Commons of Canada member from 1993 to 1997. Alfred Bethel, an American founder of the Pepsi Bethel Authentic Jazz Dance Theater.
  • Popularity: Bethel is rare worldwide, mostly used in Nigeria, and ranked 1,438th in Malawi in 2014.
Religious, Patronymic

Bevan

Beven first appeared as the Welsh “Ab-Evan,” meaning “the son of Evan.” Evan is the Welsh equivalent of John and works as a name for boys and girls in your clan.

  • Origin: Welsh
  • Meaning: Son of John
  • Pronunciation: BEHV-aen
  • Variations: Bevin, Bevvan
  • Namesakes: Aneurin “Nye” Bevan, the Welsh Minister of Health from 1945 to 1961. Timothy Bevan, a New Zealand-British co-founder of Working Title Films.
  • Popularity: Bevan is rare worldwide and mainly used in New Zealand, where it ranked 361st in 2014.
Traditional, Patronymic

Blevins

Blevins comes from the Welsh “blaidd,” meaning “wolf,” and is an English form of the Welsh “ap Bleddyn.” Blevins was used in medieval Wales as a term for “hero.”

  • Origin: Welsh
  • Meaning: Wolf
  • Pronunciation: BLEH-vihns
  • Variations: Blevin, Blevyn
  • Namesakes: Christopher Blevins, an American cyclist for UCI Mountain Bike Team Trinity Racing. Harry B. Blevins, an American politician in the Senate of Virginia from 2001 to 2013.
  • Popularity: Blevins is rare worldwide and primarily used in the U.S.
Earthy, Old

Bowen

Bowen derives from the Welsh “ab Owain,” meaning “son of Owen.” The Welsh equivalent to Bohan is Blethyn.

  • Origin: Welsh
  • Meaning: Son of Owen
  • Pronunciation: BOW-Wehn
  • Variations: Bowene, Bowens
  • Namesakes: William Bowen, an American children’s book writer of The Old Tobacco Shop. Frank Blevins, the Deputy Premier of South Australia from 1992 to 1993.
  • Popularity: Bowen is rare worldwide and mostly used in Taiwan, where it ranked 640th in 2014.
Patronymic, Unique

Bradley

Bradley was used for an English place name meaning “broad wood.” It was used for people who lived near Bradley, located in Hampshire, describing a “broad meadow.”

  • Origin: Welsh, English
  • Meaning: Broad wood
  • Pronunciation: BRAED-Liy
  • Variations: Braddley
  • Namesakes: Ryan Bradley, an American figure skater and the 2008 Skate Canada International silver medalist. Karen Bradley, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland from 2018 to 2019.
  • Popularity: Bradley ranked 1,951st worldwide, is mainly used in the U.S., and ranked 45th in Northern Ireland in 2014.
Geographical, Common

Broderick

Broderick is the English variation of the Welsh Prydderch, meaning “son of Rhydderch.” It was used for redheaded people and also translates to Roderick.

  • Origin: English, Welsh
  • Meaning: Reddish-brown
  • Pronunciation: BRAHD-eh-Rayk
  • Variations: Boderick, Broder
  • Namesakes: Matthew Broderick, an American actor best known for Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986). Patrick Broderick, an Irish National Hunt jockey and winner of the Champion Hurdle races in 1977.
  • Popularity: Broderick is very rare worldwide and primarily used in the U.S.
Traditional, Uncommon

Cadwaladr

Cadwaladr dates back to 7th-century Wales. It first appeared as the first name Cadgwaladr, famous for Cadwaladr ap Gruffudd, a 12th-century prince of Cardigan.

  • Origin: Welsh
  • Meaning: Battle-leader
  • Pronunciation: Caad-WAHL-ah-Der
  • Variations: Cadwaladr, Cadwalader
  • Namesakes: Huw Cadwaladr, a 17th-century Welsh poet who wrote an elegy on the death of Edward Morris. Llewellyn Cadwaladr, a Welsh tenor famous for performing Gilbert and Sullivan.
  • Popularity: Cadwaladr is extremely rare worldwide, with 111 known occurrences in 2014, mostly in England and Wales.
Unusual, Strong
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Cardiff

Cardiff is based on the medieval Welsh Caerdyf. It’s made up of the Welsh “caer,” meaning “fort” and “diff,” inspired by the Western Welsh River Taf.

  • Origin: Welsh
  • Meaning: Fort
  • Pronunciation: CAAR-dif
  • Variations: Cardiffe
  • Namesakes: James Cardiff, a Canadian ice hockey player for the Philadelphia Blazers. Murray Cardiff, a House of Commons of Canada member from 1980 to 1993.
  • Popularity: Cardiff is very rare worldwide, mainly used in the U.S., and ranked 1,735th in Ireland in 2014.
Geographical, Common

Carew

Carew goes back to the Latin “carrus,” meaning “chariot.” It has other meanings, including “dweller at the fort on the hill.”

  • Origin: Welsh, Cornish
  • Meaning: Chariot
  • Pronunciation: Cah-REW
  • Variations: Carewe
  • Namesakes: Rodney Carew, a Panamanian baseball player for the Minnesota Twins. Dudley Carew, an English special correspondent for The Times in the 1930s.
  • Popularity: Carew is extremely rare worldwide, with 106 occurrences in 2014, primarily in the U.S.
Unique, Rare

Cecil

Cecil was first the Welsh surname Seissylt and could have originally been expressed as the Latin, meaning “sixth.” It’s also based on the Latin Caecilius, meaning “blind.”

  • Origin: English, Welsh
  • Meaning: Sixth
  • Pronunciation: SEE-Sihl
  • Variations: Cecel, Cecile, Cecill
  • Namesakes: Malcolm Cecil, a British jazz bassist and member of the Jazz Couriers. Chuck Cecil, an American football player for the Los Angeles Rams.
  • Popularity: Cecil is rare worldwide and mostly used in the U.S.
Noble, Old

Collins

Collins originates from the English personal name Colin, a unique take on Nicholas. In Celtic, it might have looked like Ua Cuiléin, which turned into Ó Coileáin.

  • Origin: English, Welsh
  • Meaning: Hazel grove
  • Pronunciation: CAW-lihns
  • Variations: Collin, Collen
  • Namesakes: Philip Collins, an English musician and former singer of the rock band Genesis. Joan Collins, an English actress best known for the 1980s soap opera Dynasty.
  • Popularity: Collins ranked 820th worldwide, is mainly used in the U.S., and ranked 26th in Ireland in 2014.
Traditional, Popular

Cox

Cox was used as a suffix for the chieftain of a clan. In Wales, “coch” means “red” and is a nickname for a man “from the red hills.” Cox ranked 69th among Welsh last names in the UK.

  • Origin: English, Welsh
  • Meaning: Red
  • Pronunciation: KAHKS
  • Variations: Coxe
  • Namesakes: Brian Cox, a Scottish actor appearing in Braveheart. Russell Cox, an Australian rugby league footballer with St. George.
  • Popularity: Cox is very rare worldwide and primarily used in the U.S.
Uncommon, Strong

Craddock

Craddock is an Anglo version of the Welsh Caradawc, meaning “beloved.” Caratacus was an ancient Welsh protector who led a revolt against the Romans.

  • Origin: English, Welsh
  • Meaning: Son of Caradoc
  • Pronunciation: CRAH-duhk
  • Variations: Cradocke, Cradok
  • Namesakes: Matthew Cradock, the first governor of the Massachusetts Bay Company between 1628 and 1629. William Craddock, an American author of Be Not Content: A Subterranean Journal in 1970.
  • Popularity: Craddock is rare worldwide, mostly used in the U.S., and ranked 1,574th in England in 2014.
Patronymic, Old

Crother

Crother was used as an English occupational surname for a musician, when based on the 12th-century Welsh “crwth,” meaning “crowd.” It was also used as an instrument between a fiddle and a violin.

  • Origin: English, Welsh
  • Meaning: Crowd
  • Pronunciation: CRUH-ther
  • Variations: Crothers
  • Namesakes: Scatman Crothers, an American actor and musician known for Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining (1980). Bill Crothers, a Canadian athlete and silver medalist at the 1964 Summer Olympics.
  • Popularity: Crother is extremely rare worldwide, with 122 known occurrences in 2014, mainly in the U.S.
Old, Rare

Daffey

Daffey is one of the many Welsh surnames based on the first name David, meaning “friend.” It has one of the most typical Welsh-inspired meanings on the list.

  • Origin: Welsh, Celtic
  • Meaning: Darling
  • Pronunciation: DAA-fiy
  • Variations: Dafydd
  • Namesakes: Mark Daffey, an Australian rules footballer for Hawthorn. Paul Daffey, an Australian sports journalist who wrote Local Rites: A Year in Grass Roots Football in Victoria and Beyond.
  • Popularity: Daffey is extremely rare worldwide and primarily used in Australia.
Unusual, Rare

Davies

While based on David, Davies is also inspired by Dyfed, in south-western Wales. Outside of its popularity in Wales, it ranked 35th in the U.S. in 2010.

  • Origin: Welsh
  • Meaning: Son of Davie
  • Pronunciation: DEY-Viyz
  • Variations: Davis
  • Namesakes: Jeremy Davies, an American actor appearing in Saving Private Ryan (1998). Russell Davies, a Welsh screenwriter for the 2005 revival of Doctor Who.
  • Popularity: Davies ranked 1,067th worldwide, is mostly used in England, and ranked 2nd in Wales in 2014.
Traditional, Popular

Dew

Dew is a Welsh nickname for a “thickset” person. It’s associated with the North Welsh pronunciation of “du,” meaning “black,” but is best saved for a stout Welshman.

  • Origin: Welsh
  • Meaning: Stout
  • Pronunciation: DUW
  • Namesakes: George Dew, a pirate who traveled with William Kidd. Sam Dew, an American singer-songwriter with the group Wale’s.
  • Popularity: Dew is rare worldwide, mainly used in the U.S., and ranked 1,746th in New Zealand in 2014.
Unusual, Nickname
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Dyfodwg

Dyfodwg is one of the oldest and least-known of Welsh family names, inspired by Tyfodwg, a 6th-century saint. He is the patron of the church of Llandyfodwg in Glynogwr, Wales.

  • Origin: Welsh
  • Meaning: Unknown
  • Pronunciation: DAEY-Fouwd
Old, Rare

Ellis

Ellis was an ancestral name meaning “’the son of Ellis” and is also a boy’s name meaning “benevolent.” It’s often mistaken for an English “E” surname but is as Welsh as they come.

  • Origin: Welsh
  • Meaning: Kind
  • Pronunciation: EHL-ihs
  • Variations: Elis, Ellise
  • Namesakes: Warren Ellis, an Australian musician and member of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. Boaz Ellis, an Israeli foil fencer, and a 5-time Israeli national champion.
  • Popularity: Ellis ranked 1,329th worldwide, is primarily used in the U.S., and ranked 34th in Wales in 2014.
Traditional, Popular

Evans

Evans comes from the first name Evan, based on the Welsh Ifan. Ifan is the original Welsh equivalent for John, but it also means “born of yew.”

  • Origin: Welsh
  • Meaning: Son of Evan
  • Pronunciation: EH-Vahnz
  • Variations: Evan
  • Namesakes: Dominic Evans, a British auto racing driver in the British GT Championship. Linda Evans, an American actress known for the soap opera Dynasty.
  • Popularity: Evans ranked 655th worldwide, is mostly used in the U.S., and ranked 4th in Wales in 2014.
Traditional, Popular

Eynon

Eynon is an example of a name that shows Welsh ancestry, first referring to “the son of Eignion.” It refers to the ancient Latin Annianus, but it mostly means “anvil.”

  • Origin: Welsh
  • Meaning: Anvil
  • Pronunciation: EHY-nahn
  • Variations: Einion
  • Namesakes: John Eynon, a monk of the Order of Saint Benedict, beatified by Pope Leo XIII in 1895.
  • Popularity: Eynon is very rare worldwide, mainly used in the U.S., and ranked 462nd in Wales in 2014.
Old, Unusual

Fardd

Fardd is taken from the Welsh “bardd,” meaning “poet.” It’s so rare that it’s only been used a few times since the 13th-century.

  • Origin: Welsh
  • Meaning: Poet
  • Pronunciation: FAHRD
  • Variations: Fard
  • Namesakes: Bleddyn Fardd, a 13th-century Welsh-language court poet from Gwynedd. John Jones (pen name Myrddin Fardd), a Welsh writer of Golygawd o Ben Carreg yr Imbill, Gerllaw Pwllheli (1858).
  • Popularity: Fardd is extremely rare worldwide, with only one known occurrence in 2014, in Iran.
Old, Rare

Floyd

Floyd derives from the Welsh Llwyd, given to a gray-haired man. It also means “flood” and was once more common for boys.

  • Origin: Welsh
  • Meaning: Gray-haired
  • Namesakes: Bubba Floyd, an American baseball player for the Detroit Tigers in 1944. Keith Floyd, a British celebrity chef of the cookbook Floyd’s Food.
  • Popularity: Floyd is rare worldwide and primarily used in the U.S., ranking 471st in 2014.
Common, Traditional

Foulkes

Foulkes has multiple associations, including with the French Foulques and Italian Fulco, meaning “people” or “chieftain.” It’s part of the reason we use the English word “folk” today!

  • Origin: Welsh, German
  • Meaning: Folk
  • Pronunciation: FAUWKS
  • Variations: Foulke, Foulks
  • Namesakes: S. H. Foulkes, a German-British psychiatrist and the founder of group analysis. Bill Foulkes, an English footballer for Manchester United.
  • Popularity: Foulkes is rare worldwide, mostly used in England, and ranked 296th in Wales in 2014.
Unique, Old

Gaynor

Gaynor is partially taken from the Gaelic Mag Fhionnbhairr, meaning “son of Fionnbharr.” It appears, too, as a girl’s name meaning “soft.” Gaynor was more common in Britain in the 1960s and 1970s.

  • Origin: Welsh, English
  • Meaning: The son of Gwenivere
  • Pronunciation: GAY-nohr
  • Namesakes: Gloria Gaynor, an American singer known for the song “I Will Survive” (1978). Tommy Gaynor, an Irish soccer player for Limerick United.
  • Popularity: Gaynor is rare worldwide, mainly used in England, and ranked 458th in Jamaica in 2014.
Unique, Patronymic

Gethin

Gethin derives from the Irish “gaithean,” meaning a “straight branch.” It’s also connected to the Old Welsh Grippiud, meaning “lord.” Gethin is another version of the Welsh Gruffydd.

  • Origin: Welsh, Celtic
  • Meaning: Dark-skinned
  • Pronunciation: GEH-Thahn
  • Variations: Gethan, Gethen
  • Namesakes: Peter Gethin, a British racing driver and 1971 Italian Grand Prix winner. Martin Gethin, the British lightweight boxing champion from 2013 to 2014.
  • Popularity: Gethin is very rare worldwide, primarily used in the U.S., and ranked 1,100th in Wales in 2014.
Earthy, Nickname

Glyn

Glyn is the Welsh spelling of “glen,” meaning “valley of water.” It works like the Irish Glen and also appears as the more complex Welsh Glendower.

  • Origin: Welsh
  • Meaning: Valley
  • Pronunciation: GLIHN
  • Variations: Glynn
  • Namesakes: William Glyn, an American tennis finalist in the first U.S. National Championships held in 1881. Gwyneth Glyn, the Welsh Children’s Poet Laureate of 2006 to 2007.
  • Popularity: Glyn is rare worldwide, mostly used in England, and ranked 179th in Wales in 2014.
Earthy, Common
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Gower

Gower may refer to the Gower or Gwyr peninsula in West Glamorgan, Wales, or a location in France called Gouy. This mysterious example of Welsh last names may come from the Old German “Godehar,” meaning “good army.”

  • Origin: Welsh, English
  • Meaning: From Gower
  • Pronunciation: GAUGH-er
  • Variations: Gowyr
  • Namesakes: Raymond Gower, a British member of Parliament from 1951 to 1989. Luke Gower, an Australian musician and a member of the rock band Cog.
  • Popularity: Gower is rare worldwide, mainly used in the U.S., and ranked 980th in Wales in 2014.
Geographical, Old

Griffiths

Griffiths is made up of the Welsh “griff,” meaning “strong grip” and “iudd,” meaning “lord.” It takes inspiration from the Welsh Gruffydd, a 13th-century Celtic personal name we recognize at Griffith.

  • Origin: Welsh, Celtic
  • Meaning: Strong chief
  • Pronunciation: GRIH-Fihths
  • Variations: Griffyth, Gryffyths
  • Namesakes: Anne Griffiths, a British librarian and the personal archivist of Prince Philip. Terry Griffiths, a Welsh snooker player and the 1979 World Snooker Champion.
  • Popularity: Griffiths is uncommon worldwide, primarily used in England, and ranked 10th in Wales in 2014.
Strong, Old

Gwilym

Gwilym derives from the Welsh first name Gwyn, meaning “fair-haired one.” It’s the Welsh equivalent of William since Gwilym Goncwerwr was most famous as William the Conqueror.

  • Origin: Welsh
  • Meaning: Resolute protector
  • Pronunciation: GWIHL-ihm
  • Namesakes: Lisa Gwilym, a Welsh broadcaster for BBC Radio Cymru. Meinir Gwilym, a Welsh-language singer working with the show Wedi 7.
  • Popularity: Gwilyn is very rare worldwide and primarily used in Wales, where it ranked 1,368th in 2014.
Unique, Strong

Hanford

Hanford might refer to someone from “Ravensford.” It’s now a Jamaican name “of Handforth” that traveled from Wales and England.

  • Origin: Welsh, English
  • Meaning: High ford
  • Pronunciation: HHAEN-Ferd
  • Variations: Hanforde, Hanfurd
  • Namesakes: Dan Hanford, a Welsh footballer for Carlisle United. Henry Hanford, the first Euro-American settler of Lewistown, Ohio.
  • Popularity: Hanford is very rare worldwide, mainly used in the U.S., and ranked 1,126th in Wales in 2014.
Geographical, Traditional

Harris

Harris was given to “the son of Harry,” a medieval nickname for Henry. In Ireland, Harris is based on the Gaelic “O’Earchadha.”

  • Origin: Welsh, Celtic
  • Meaning: Son of Harry
  • Pronunciation: HHEY-Rihs
  • Variations: Harriss
  • Namesakes: Richard Harris, an Irish actor ranked 3rd on The Irish Times’s list of Ireland’s greatest film actors. Dick Harris, a Canadian member of Parliament from 1993 to 2015.
  • Popularity: Harris ranked 482nd worldwide and is primarily used in the U.S., ranking 25th in 2010.
Traditional, Popular

Havard

Havard is one of many geographical Welsh surnames, this one meaning “from Haverfordwest.” It’s a more unusual variation of Hereford.

  • Origin: Welsh, English
  • Meaning: Goat ford
  • Pronunciation: HHAE-Verd
  • Variations: Havord
  • Namesakes: Floyd Havard, a former Welsh boxer and British Super Featherweight Champion, from 1994 to 1996. Robert Havard, the British physician of J.R.R. Tolkien.
  • Popularity: Havard is rare worldwide, mostly used in France, and ranked 564th in Wales in 2014.
Geographical, Unique

Hooley

Hooley was once used for a person “from Howley” and first appeared in Northern England. Today, Hooley is an Irish slang word for a “party.”

  • Origin: Welsh, English
  • Meaning: Of Howley
  • Pronunciation: HUW-Liy
  • Variations: Hooly
  • Namesakes: E. Purnell Hooley, a Welsh inventor of tarmac in 1902. Terri Hooley, the Northern Irish founder of the Good Vibrations record label.
  • Popularity: Hooley is rare worldwide and mainly used in the U.S.
Geographical, Uncommon

Hopkins

As a name used to denote a specific Welsh ancestry, Hopkins means “son of Hob.” Hob was a diminutive of “ab Popkyn” for the “son of Hopkin.”

  • Origin: Welsh, Irish
  • Meaning: Son of Hob
  • Pronunciation: HOHP-Kihnz
  • Variations: Hopkin
  • Namesakes: Anthony Hopkins, a Welsh actor and recipient of the Cecil B. DeMille Award in 2005. Lightnin’ Hopkins, an American musician, ranked 71st by Rolling Stone in the 100 greatest guitarists in 2010.
  • Popularity: Hopkins is uncommon worldwide, primarily used in the U.S., and ranked 33rd in Wales in 2014.
Patronymic, Common

Howell

The closely-related Hywel means “prominent” and was taken from Higuel. Howell means “son of Hoelrom” and is inspired by the 10th-century Welsh king.

  • Origin: Welsh
  • Meaning: Eminent
  • Pronunciation: HHA-Wehl
  • Variations: Howel, Howyll
  • Namesakes: Delles Howell, an American football player for the New York Jets. Laura Howell, the first female British comic strip artist in the history of The Beano comic.
  • Popularity: Howell is uncommon worldwide, mostly used in the U.S., and ranked 118th in Wales in 2014.
Patronymic, Noble

Hughes

Hughes is taken from the Welsh personal name Hu or Huw, both meaning “inspiration.” The Celtic Hu also means “fire” for a “son of Hugh,” you won’t forget.

  • Origin: Welsh, English
  • Meaning: Son of Hugh
  • Pronunciation: HUWES
  • Variations: Hugh
  • Namesakes: Ted Hughes, an English poet named Poet Laureate in 1984. Marjorie Hughes, an American singer with the Paul Martin band.
  • Popularity: Hughes ranked 921st worldwide, is mainly used in the U.S., and ranked 8th in Wales in 2014.
Patronymic, Common
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Irving

Iring relates to the River Irvine in Dumfriesshire. It might be based on “erinviene,” meaning “from the west.” In this case, it was given to Irish men who came to live on Scotland’s west coast.

  • Origin: Welsh, Scottish
  • Meaning: Green water
  • Pronunciation: EHR-Vihng
  • Variations: Irvine, Ervin
  • Namesakes: Amy Irving, an American actress appearing in The Fury (1978). T. B. Irving, a Canadian-American author of the first American-English translation of the Qur’an.
  • Popularity: Irving is rare worldwide, primarily used in the U.S., and ranked 320th in Jamaica in 2014.
Traditional, Geographical

Irwen

Irwen means “green” and “fresh.” It’s also a boy’s name based on Everwyn, taken from Eoforwine, meaning “wild friend.”

  • Origin: Welsh, Scottish
  • Meaning: White river
  • Pronunciation: IHR-Wehn
  • Variations: Erwin
  • Popularity: Irwen is extremely rare worldwide, with only 30 known occurrences in 2014, mostly in the U.S.
Rare, Unusual

James

James originated from the Hebrew Jacob, meaning “supplanter.” It came to England by the Normans and is even more popular as a boy’s name.

  • Origin: Welsh, English
  • Meaning: Son of James
  • Pronunciation: JHEYMZ
  • Variations: Jaemes
  • Namesakes: Edison James, the prime minister of Dominica from 1995 to 2000. Polly James, a Welsh radio presenter for Capital South Wales.
  • Popularity: James ranked 344th worldwide, is mainly used in Nigeria, and ranked 40th in England and Wales in 2014.
Traditional, Popular

Jenkins

Jenkins and Jenkin also mean “little John” when referring to Jen, a Welsh nickname for John. It was often given to a descendent, a son, or a younger relative of the original.

  • Origin: Welsh, Cornish
  • Meaning: Son of John
  • Pronunciation: JHEHN-Kihns
  • Variations: Jenkin
  • Namesakes: Richard Jenkins, an American actor known for the HBO series Six Feet Under (2001 to 2005). Harry Jenkins, the Australian Speaker of the House of Representatives from 2008 to 2011.
  • Popularity: Jenkins ranked 1,398th worldwide, is primarily used in the U.S., and ranked 16th in Wales in 2014.
Traditional, Common

Jenner

Jenner comes from the Middle English “enginour,” an occupational name for a designer of military machines. It was specifically meant for someone who dug military trenches and operated catapults.

  • Origin: Welsh, English
  • Meaning: Engineer
  • Pronunciation: JHEHN-er
  • Namesakes: Gustav Jenner, a German composer and the only formal pupil of Johannes Brahms. Kylie Jenner, an American reality series actress on Keeping Up with the Kardashians from 2007 to 2021.
  • Popularity: Jenner is rare worldwide and mostly used in England, ranking 1,247th in 2014.
Traditional, Nickname

Jeston

Jeston means “righteous” as the Welsh equivalent of the Latin Justus. It also means “clever thinker” for a uniquely-titled Welshman.

  • Origin: Welsh
  • Meaning: Just
  • Pronunciation: JHUS-Tihn
  • Variations: Justin
  • Popularity: Jeston is very rare worldwide and mainly used in Tanzania.
Strong, Rare

Jones

Jones is at the top of the list for Welsh family names and ranked 5th in the U.S. The very well-known term “keeping up with the Joneses” is recognizable all over the world.

  • Origin: Welsh, English
  • Meaning: Son of John
  • Pronunciation: JHOWNZ
  • Variations: Jonze
  • Namesakes: Catherine Zeta-Jones, a Welsh actress and British Academy Film Award winner. Michael Jones, an English musician and member of the band Foreigner.
  • Popularity: Jones ranked 208th worldwide, is primarily used in the U.S., and ranked 1st in Wales in 2014.
Patronymic, Popular

Kendrick

Kendrick has traveled a long way from the Welsh Cynwrig, meaning “greatest champion.” The original is made up of “cyne,” meaning “great,” and “rīks,” meaning “ruler.”

  • Origin: Welsh, English
  • Meaning: Son of Kenwrec
  • Pronunciation: KEHN-Drihk
  • Variations: Kendric, Kendricks, Kendrik
  • Namesakes: Anna Kendrick, an American actress appearing in the Pitch Perfect film series. Fiona Kendrick, a British chief executive of Nestlé UK & Ireland.
  • Popularity: Kendrick is rare worldwide, mostly used in the U.S., and ranked 617th in Wales in 2014.
Common, Patronymic

Kimball

Kimball originated with the Welsh Kemball, meaning “war chief.” It’s also a Celtic word meaning “leader of the warriors” for good measure.

  • Origin: Welsh, Surname
  • Meaning: War chief
  • Pronunciation: KIHM-Bahl
  • Variations: Kimbal, Kimbell, Kimble
  • Namesakes: Ward Kimball, an American animator at Disney known as one of Disney’s Nine Old Men. Bobby Kimball, an American singer and frontman of the band Toto.
  • Popularity: Kimball is rare worldwide and mainly used in the U.S., ranking 1,398th in 2014.
Strong, Common

Lewis

Lewis has many possible name inspirations, from Lowis to Lodovicus. It’s a nickname for the Welsh Llewelyn and is also associated with the Gaelic Mac Lughaidh, meaning “son of Lughaidh.”

  • Origin: Welsh, Gaelic
  • Meaning: Famed battle
  • Pronunciation: LUW-ihs
  • Variations: Louis
  • Namesakes: C.S. Lewis, a British writer known for The Chronicles of Narnia. Jerry Lewis, an American comedian known as “The King of Comedy.”
  • Popularity: Lewis ranked 546th worldwide, is primarily used in the U.S., and ranked 7th in Wales in 2014.
Popular, Noble
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Leyshon

Leyshon is also related to Lewis, meaning “the son of Lewis.” Lewis is the shorter Anglo version of Llewellyn, so Leyshon sometimes appears as Lleision.

  • Origin: Welsh
  • Meaning: Son of Lewis
  • Pronunciation: Laey-SHAUN
  • Namesakes: Nell Leyshon, a British writer whose 2004 novel Black Dirt was long-listed for the Orange Prize. William Leyshon, an Australian rugby league footballer for North Sydney.
  • Popularity: Leyshon is very rare worldwide and mostly used in Wales, where it ranked 511th in 2014.
Patronymic, Unique

Llewellyn

Llewellyn may be the most recognizable Welsh name, which some say derives from the Celtic Lugubelinos. It’s associated with “llew,” meaning “lion,” and belonged to two princes of North Wales.

  • Origin: Welsh
  • Meaning: Like a lion
  • Pronunciation: HLuw-EH-lihn
  • Variations: Llewelyn
  • Namesakes: Richard Llewellyn, an English-Welsh novelist known for the 1939 book How Green Was My Valley. William Llewellyn, a Welsh rugby union player for London Welsh.
  • Popularity: Llewellyn is rare worldwide, mainly used in the U.S., and ranked 53rd in Wales in 2014.
Traditional, Strong

Machen

Machen is a Welsh town in Caerphilly, which inspired this name. It’s sometimes linked as a variation of Mason but remains more geographical.

  • Origin: Welsh
  • Meaning: From Machen
  • Pronunciation: MAK-ehn
  • Variations: Machin, Machon
  • Namesakes: Willis Benson Machen, a Democratic U.S. Senator from Kentucky from 1872 to 1873. Arthur Machen, a Welsh supernatural author of The Great God Pan.
  • Popularity: Machen is very rare worldwide, primarily used in the U.S., and ranked 1,716th in Taiwan in 2014.
Geographical, Unique

Maddox

Maddox was given to a Welsh “son of Madoc,” meaning “fortunate.” The Welsh root “mad” also went into the variants Madog and Maddock.

  • Origin: Welsh
  • Meaning: Son of Madoc
  • Pronunciation: MAA-docks
  • Variations: Maddix, Madox
  • Namesakes: Bronwen Maddox, the director and CEO of the think tank Chatham House since 2022. Douglas Maddox, an American film producer inducted into the Producers Guild of America in 2007.
  • Popularity: Maddox is rare worldwide and primarily used in the U.S., ranking 907th in 2014.
Traditional, Patronymic

March

March derives from the Old English “marche.” The Marches are a boundary between England and Wales. March also comes from Martius, the first month of the original Roman calendar.

  • Origin: Welsh
  • Meaning: Boundary
  • Pronunciation: MAHRCH
  • Namesakes: Babette March, the first Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover model in 1964. Nora Roberts (pseudonym Jill March), the first American author inducted into the Romance Writers of America Hall of Fame.
  • Popularity: March is rare worldwide, mainly used in the U.S., and ranked 502nd in Jamaica in 2014.
Old, Earthy

Martyn

Martyn’s alternate spelling is mostly used by Welsh or Ukrainians for Martin. It originated from the Latin Martinus for Mars, the Roman god of war and fertility.

  • Origin: Welsh, Ukrainian
  • Meaning: Warrior of Mars
  • Pronunciation: Maar-TIYN
  • Variations: Martin
  • Namesakes: David Forbes Martyn, a Scottish-Australian physicist who helped develop defense radar for Australia during World War II. Andrew Martyn, an Irish priest who perished during the Irish Famine in 1847.
  • Popularity: Martyn is rare worldwide, primarily used in Ukraine, and ranked 29th in England and Wales in 2014.
Strong, Unique

Matthews

Matthews is taken from the first name Matthew, meaning “gift of Jehovah.” As a surname, it first appeared in the South Wales kingdom of Glywysing, where it was a noble familial name.

  • Origin: Welsh, English
  • Meaning: Son of Matthew
  • Pronunciation: MAET-Hyuwz
  • Variations: Matthew
  • Namesakes: Dave Matthews, an American musician and frontman for the Dave Matthews Band. Brenda Matthews, a New Zealand track and field sprinter who competed at the 1972 Summer Olympics.
  • Popularity: Matthews ranked 1,735th worldwide, is mostly used in the U.S., and ranked 37th in Wales in 2014.
Patronymic, Noble

Medwin

Medwin means “strong friend” in German and also refers to a “powerful” and “faithful” friend. It’s pretty rare today, yet it still has a very Welsh ring.

  • Origin: Welsh, German
  • Meaning: Son of Medwin
  • Pronunciation: MEHD-Wihn
  • Variations: Medwyn, Medwynne
  • Namesakes: Cameron Medwin, a Canadian footballer for Portugal AC. Michael Hugh Medwin, an English actor known for the BBC series Shoestring.
  • Popularity: Medwin is very rare worldwide and mainly used in Australia.
Unique, Uncommon

Meredith

Meredith comes from the Welsh given name Meredydd or Maredudd. It was originally Morgetiud, meaning everything from “great lord” to “grace.” Meredith ranked 114th in Wales in 2014.

  • Origin: Welsh
  • Meaning: Great ruler
  • Pronunciation: MEHR-ah-Dihth
  • Variations: Meredeth, Meredyth
  • Namesakes: William M. Meredith, the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury from 1849 to 1850. Burgess Meredith, an American actor known for The Twilight Zone.
  • Popularity: Meredith is rare worldwide, primarily used in the U.S., and ranked 1st in Samoa in 2014.
Noble, Strong

Merrick

Merrick is based on the Welsh given name Meuric, an alternative to Maurice. It’s also a boy’s name meaning “ruler.”

  • Origin: Welsh, English
  • Meaning: Dark
  • Pronunciation: MEH-Rihk
  • Variations: Merick, Merrik, Merryck
  • Namesakes: Elizabeth Merrick, an American author and founder of the Grace Reading Series. Will Merrick, an English actor appearing on the series Skins.
  • Popularity: Merrick is rare worldwide, mostly used in the U.S., and ranked 1,554th in Wales in 2014.
Unique, Old
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Merwyn

Merwyn is a Welsh variation of Marvin having Celtic origins with the Britons of Wales. In Arthurian legend, Mervin also refers to the magical magician Merlin, the Celtic druid.

  • Origin: Welsh
  • Meaning: Sea friend
  • Pronunciation: MEHR-Wihn
  • Variations: Mervyn, Merwin
  • Namesakes: Audley Mervyn, an Irish Speaker of the Irish House of Commons from 1661 to 1666. William Mervyn, an English actor known for the film All Gas and Gaiters.
  • Popularity: Merwyn is extremely rare worldwide, with 39 known occurrences in 2014, mainly in India.
Earthy, Mystical

Moore

Moore was a surname given to someone who lived “at the moor” or “heath.” It represents an English spelling of the Welsh Mawr, meaning “great” or “large.”

  • Origin: Welsh, English
  • Meaning: Stately
  • Pronunciation: MORE
  • Variations: Moor
  • Namesakes: Roger Moore, an English actor who portrayed James Bond between 1973 and 1985. Michael Moore, an American filmmaker and winner of the 2002 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.
  • Popularity: Moore ranked 439th worldwide, is primarily used in the U.S., and ranked 7th in Northern Ireland in 2014.
Geographical, Popular

Morgan

Morgan is based on the Old Welsh personal name Morcant and originates with the 14th-century Morgan ap Llewelyn. This original version influenced those with the Morgan and Morgund surnames.

  • Origin: Welsh, English
  • Meaning: Great kingdom
  • Pronunciation: MOWR-Gahn
  • Variations: Morghan, Morrgan
  • Namesakes: Rhodri Morgan, the First Minister of Wales from 2000 to 2009. Juwan Morgan, an American basketball player for the Ontario Clippers.
  • Popularity: Morgan ranked 844th worldwide, is mostly used in the U.S., and ranked 9th in Wales in 2014.
Traditional, Common

Morien

Morien is also a boy’s name meaning “born in the sea.” It’s the name of a 13th-century Arthurian romance. Morien is best traced to the mythic Welsh Mari-Morgans – ancient water spirits who drown men.

  • Origin: Welsh
  • Meaning: Sea-born
  • Pronunciation: MOH-riy-Ehn
  • Popularity: Morien is very rare worldwide and mainly used in the U.S.
Mystical, Rare

Naegle

Naegle may have originated from the Norman surname de Angulo, but is also an English form of the Gaelic Mac an Óglaigh. It means “son of the soldier” but is also a German occupational surname for a carpenter.

  • Origin: Welsh, German
  • Meaning: Nail
  • Pronunciation: NEAY-Gahl
  • Variations: Nagle, Nagel
  • Namesakes: Walter Naegle, an American artist and board member emeritus at the Bayard Rustin Center for Social Justice. Sue Naegle, an American president of HBO Entertainment from 2008 until 2013.
  • Popularity: Naegle is very rare worldwide and primarily used in the U.S.
Uncommon, Old

Nanney

Nanney is based on a place in Wales called Nannaw. Others link it to the Nannau, descendants of the princes of Powys, who kept a country estate at Dolgellau.

  • Origin: Welsh
  • Meaning: Of Nannau
  • Pronunciation: NAE-Niy
  • Variations: Nanny
  • Namesakes: Kevin Nanney, an American Super Smash Bros. Melee player and a two-time Apex Tournament champion. Wendy Nanney, an American member of the South Carolina House of Representatives from 2008 to 2016.
  • Popularity: Nanney is very rare worldwide and mostly used in the U.S.
Geographical, Noble

Nash

Nash was initially used for someone who lived “near an ash tree.” It’s associated with the Middle English “atten,” meaning “ash.” There are many places called Nash in both England and Wales.

  • Origin: Welsh, English
  • Meaning: By the ash tree
  • Pronunciation: NAESH
  • Variations: Nashe
  • Namesakes: Clarence Nash, an American voice actor best known for voicing Donald Duck. John Nash, an American mathematician awarded the 1994 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics.
  • Popularity: Nash is uncommon worldwide, mainly used in the U.S., and ranked 152nd in Wales in 2014.
Unique, Earthy

Owen

Owen means “well-born” and “born of youth.” It’s an English spelling of the Welsh Owain, used for Eugene. Eoghan is the Gaelic spelling of Owen, also meaning “youth.”

  • Origin: Welsh
  • Meaning: Young warrior
  • Pronunciation: OW-Ahn
  • Variations: Owens
  • Namesakes: Bradley Owen, the Lieutenant Governor of Washington from 1997 to 2017. Chris Owen, an American actor appearing in the American Pie film franchise.
  • Popularity: Owen is uncommon worldwide, primarily used in the U.S., and ranked 15th in Wales in 2014.
Traditional, Popular

Parry

Parry derives from the Welsh “ap-Harry,” for the “descendent of Harry.” It has appeared in areas of Northwestern England like Cheshire and Lancashire.

  • Origin: Welsh, English
  • Meaning: Son of Harry
  • Pronunciation: PAE-Riy
  • Namesakes: Bruce Parry, an English documentarian, for the BBC series Tribe. Mark Parry, a Welsh footballer for Chester City.
  • Popularity: Parry is rare worldwide, mostly used in England, and ranked 24th in Wales in 2014.
Patronymic, Popular

Pembroke

Pembroke refers to Penfro in South Wales and has been used since the 17th-century. It functions as a modern unisex given name meaning “edge of the land.”

  • Origin: Welsh, Irish
  • Meaning: Bluff, headland
  • Pronunciation: PEHM-Browk
  • Variations: Pembrok
  • Popularity: Pembroke is very rare worldwide and mainly used in the U.S.
Geographical, Earthy
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Philips

Philips was for a “descendent of Philip,” taken from the Greek Philippos, meaning “friend of horses.” The original name was composed of “philein,” meaning “to love,” and “hippos,” meaning “horse.”

  • Origin: Welsh, English
  • Meaning: Son of Philip
  • Pronunciation: Fih-LAHPS
  • Variations: Phillips
  • Namesakes: Emo Philips (born Philip Soltanec), an American stand-up comedian and winner of the 1985 New Music Award for best comedy album. Gina Philips, an American actress known for Jeepers Creepers (2001).
  • Popularity: Philips is rare worldwide, primarily used in the U.S., and ranked 370th in Belgium in 2014.
Traditional, Patronymic

Powell

Powell transformed from the Welsh Hywel, which first became Howell. In 2010, Powell ranked 101st among Welsh last names (or any) in America.

  • Origin: Welsh, English
  • Meaning: Son of Howell
  • Pronunciation: PAUW-ehl
  • Variations: Powel
  • Namesakes: Adam Clayton Powell Jr., a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1945 to 1971. Colin Powell, the 65th U.S. Secretary of State from 2001 to 2005.
  • Popularity: Powell ranked 1,293rd worldwide, is mostly used in the U.S., and ranked 25th in Wales in 2014.
Common, Traditional

Price

Price comes from the Welsh “ap Rhys,” used for the son of Rice, Rees, or Rhys. It also means “enthusiasm” and makes a hip modern name for babies.

  • Origin: Welsh
  • Meaning: Descendent of Rhys
  • Pronunciation: PRYHS
  • Variations: Pryce
  • Namesakes: Vincent Price, an American actor with two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Sarah Price, an English swimmer and gold medalist at the 2002 Commonwealth Games.
  • Popularity: Price ranked 1,181st worldwide, is mainly used in the U.S., and ranked 17th in Wales in 2014.
Unique, Patronymic

Priddy

Priddy means “son of splendid lord” when based on the Welsh “ap Ridel,” meaning “son of Ridel.” It may be inspired by Priddy, one of the knights of the Arthurian Round Table – a unique and fancy pick for a cultured boy.

  • Origin: Welsh
  • Meaning: Son of the lord
  • Pronunciation: PRIHD-iy
  • Variations: Preddy
  • Namesakes: Penny Priddy, a Canadian politician and the only woman elected to the Canadian House of Commons. James Priddy, an English first-class cricket player for Somerset.
  • Popularity: Priddy is rare worldwide, primarily used in the U.S., and ranked 516th in Sierra Leone in 2014.
Geographical, Noble

Pritchard

Pritchard represents an English spelling of the Welsh “ap Rhisiart.” It means “son of Richard” for all the descendants that came.

  • Origin: Welsh
  • Meaning: Son of Richard
  • Pronunciation: PRIH-Cherd
  • Variations: Prichard
  • Namesakes: Wendy Pritchard, an Australian field hockey manager for the Australian Women’s Hockey team. Deborah Pritchard, an English composer performing with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales.
  • Popularity: Pritchard is rare worldwide, primarily used in the U.S., and ranked 30th in Wales in 2014.
Popular, Patronymic

Prosser

Prosser developed from the Welsh “ap Rhosier,” meaning “son of Roger.” Roger itself is an Old French name meaning “famous spear.”

  • Origin: Welsh
  • Meaning: Son of Rosser
  • Pronunciation: PRAW-ser
  • Namesakes: Ray Prosser, a Welsh international rugby union player for Pontypool. Geoffrey Prosser, an Australian member of the House of Representatives from 1987 to 2007.
  • Popularity: Prosser is rare worldwide, mainly used in the U.S., and ranked 124th in Wales in 2014.
Unique, Strong

Prothero

Prothero is a form of the Welsh “ap-Rhydderc,” meaning “son of Roderick.” It sometimes translates to Roderickson but sounds much more unique as Prothero.

  • Origin: Welsh
  • Meaning: Son of Rhydderch
  • Pronunciation: PRAUW-theh-Row
  • Variations: Protheroe
  • Namesakes: Mark Prothero, an American attorney and the defense co-counsel for the Green River Killer from 2001 to 2003. George Prothero, an English historian and president of the Royal Historical Society from 1901 to 1905.
  • Popularity: Prothero is very rare worldwide, primarily used in the U.S., and ranked 1,251st in Wales in 2014.
Unusual, Patronymic

Pugh

Pugh is another way of saying “son of Hugh” from “ap-Hugh” in Welsh. It appears as Hew and, in 2010, Pugh ranked 879th for surnames in the U.S.

  • Origin: Welsh
  • Meaning: Son of Hugh
  • Pronunciation: PEW
  • Variations: Peugh, Peughe, Pew, Pue
  • Namesakes: Florence Pugh, an English actress best known for the horror film Midsommar. Madelyn Pugh, an American TV writer known for the I Love Lucy series.
  • Popularity: Pugh is rare worldwide, mostly used in the U.S., and ranked 45th in Wales in 2014.
Old, Popular

Rheon

Rheon is one of many Welsh surnames with Irish connections. It’s made up of the Celtic “ri,” meaning “king” (though “rhi” means “leader” in Welsh) and is a diminutive suffix.

  • Origin: Welsh, Irish
  • Meaning: Little king
  • Pronunciation: HRIY-Ahn
  • Namesakes: Iwan Rheon, a Welsh actor appearing in the HBO series Game of Thrones.
  • Popularity: Rheon is extremely rare worldwide, with only five known occurrences in 2014, mainly in Wales.
Rare, Noble

Rhys

Rhys was used by more than a few Welsh royals and also means “fire” in Celtic. As a first name, it also appears as “Ris,” meaning “ardor.”

  • Origin: Welsh
  • Meaning: Ardent
  • Pronunciation: HRIYS
  • Variations: Reece, Rees, Reese
  • Namesakes: Phillip Rhys, an English actor appearing in the film The Space Between. Jean Rhys (born Ella Rees Williams), an English writer known for the novel Wide Sargasso Sea (1966).
  • Popularity: Rhys is very rare worldwide, primarily used in England, and ranked 1,094th in Wales in 2014.
Old, Strong
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Roberts

Roberts was born from the first name Robert, meaning “bright renown.” It’s usually found in North Wales and throughout the UK.

  • Origin: Welsh, English
  • Meaning: Son of Robert
  • Pronunciation: RAHB-ehrts
  • Variations: Robberts
  • Namesakes: Julia Roberts, an American actress whose films have grossed over $3.9 billion worldwide. Will Roberts, the Welsh winner of the 1962 Byng-Stamper Prize for landscape painting.
  • Popularity: Roberts ranked 636th worldwide, is mostly used in the U.S., and ranked 6th in Wales in 2014.
Traditional, Popular

Rowlands

Rowlands takes its inspiration from Roland, composed of the Germanic “hrod,” meaning “renown,” and “land,” meaning “territory.” It means “son of Roland” and was very popular during the Middle Ages.

  • Origin: Welsh
  • Meaning: Renowned land
  • Pronunciation: ROUW-lands
  • Variations: Rowland
  • Namesakes: Gena Rowlands, an American actress and a four-time Emmy winner. Graham Rowlands, an Australian poet awarded the Barbara Hanrahan Fellowship in 2002.
  • Popularity: Rowlands is rare worldwide, mainly used in England, and ranked 40th in Wales in 2014.
Old, Earthy

Sayer

Sayer is based on the Welsh “saer,” a variation of Sawyer, meaning “carpenter.” It’s very common in Iraq, likely because of the Iranian village named Sayer.

  • Origin: Welsh, English
  • Meaning: Carpenter
  • Pronunciation: SEY-er
  • Variations: Sayers
  • Namesakes: George Sayer, an English politician in the House of Commons from 1695 to 1705. Jess Sayer, a New Zealand playwright who won the 2015 Bruce Mason Playwriting Award.
  • Popularity: Sayer is rare worldwide, primarily used in England, and ranked 641st in Iraq in 2014.
Old, Unique

Sealy

Sealy comes from the medieval Welsh, given names Selyf and Seleu. They’re both forms of Solomon used in the Welsh Bible since the late 16th-century.

  • Origin: Welsh, Cornish
  • Meaning: Blessed
  • Pronunciation: SEE-Liy
  • Variations: Sealey, Seeley
  • Namesakes: Michael Sealy, an American volleyball coach for the UCLA Women’s Volleyball Team. Alison Sealy-Smith, a Canadian-Barbadian actress appearing in multiple Marvel animated TV series.
  • Popularity: Sealy is rare worldwide, mostly used in the U.S., and ranked 20th in Barbados in 2014.
Unique, Uncommon

Tegan

Tegan is linked to the first name Tadhgánm based on “tadhg,” meaning “poet” and “philosopher.” Tegan is also a girl’s name from the Welsh “teg,” meaning “fair.” It means “loved one,” “favorite,” and even “toy” in Welsh.

  • Origin: Welsh, Irish
  • Meaning: Poet
  • Pronunciation: TIYG-aen
  • Variations: Teagan, Teegan
  • Popularity: Tegan is very rare worldwide and mainly used in the U.S.
Rare, Unique

Thomas

Thomas is used as a surname everywhere, from England and Southern India to Wales, Scotland, Germany, and Denmark. In 2019, Thomas ranked 14th for U.S. surnames and 9th for English ones.

  • Origin: Welsh, English
  • Meaning: Twin
  • Pronunciation: TAAM-ahs
  • Variations: Tomas
  • Namesakes: Dylan Thomas, a Welsh poet best known for A Child’s Christmas in Wales. Henry Thomas, an American actor known for E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982).
  • Popularity: Thomas ranked 239th worldwide, is primarily used in the U.S., and ranked 5th in Wales in 2014.
Traditional, Popular

Trahern

Trahern was first a personal name used for someone living in the Trehane settlement in Cornwall. It’s also the name of a fictional King of the Britons in Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia Regum Britanniae.

  • Origin: Welsh
  • Meaning: Strength of iron
  • Pronunciation: TRAH-Hern
  • Variations: Traherne, Trahern, Treherne
  • Namesakes: Thomas Trahern, a 16th-century English officer of arms murdered during the Pilgrimage of Grace rebellion in 1542.
  • Popularity: Trahern is very rare worldwide and mostly used in the U.S.
Rare, Geographical

Tudor

Tudor first appeared as the Welsh given name Tudur, taken from the Celtic Toutorīx, meaning “people” and “king.” The House of Tudor was an English and Welsh noble house on the throne from 1485 to 1603.

  • Origin: Welsh, English
  • Meaning: People’s King
  • Pronunciation: TUW-Daoer
  • Variations: Tudur, Tewdyr
  • Namesakes: William Tudor, an English actor appearing in the HBO series Game of Thrones. Corneliu Vadim Tudor, a Romanian Senator from 1992 to 2008.
  • Popularity: Tudor is rare worldwide and mainly used in Romania, where it ranked 23rd in 2014.
Noble, Unusual

Upjohn

Upjohn means “God has given me a son” when using the medieval Welsh “ap John.” It’s also sometimes associated with the Gaelic “Mac Ewan.”

  • Origin: Welsh
  • Meaning: Son of John
  • Pronunciation: UHP-jon
  • Namesakes: Richard Upjohn, a British-American architect known for his Gothic Revival churches in the U.S. Richard Upjohn Light, an American former president of the American Geographical Society.
  • Popularity: Upjohn is very rare worldwide and primarily used in England.
Patronymic, Rare

Vaughan

Vaughan comes from the Welsh “bychan,” meaning “small.” It’s used like Fychan for a younger member of the family.

  • Origin: Welsh
  • Meaning: The little
  • Pronunciation: VAWN
  • Variations: Vaughn
  • Namesakes: Martin Vaughan, an Australian actor appearing in the miniseries Power Without Glory. Don Vaughan, a Canadian ice hockey coach for Colgate.
  • Popularity: Vaughan is uncommon worldwide, mostly used in the U.S., and ranked 67th in Wales in 2014.
Nickname, Popular
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Wales

Wales was given to anyone “from Wales,” but was also used for someone who lived near a “stone-built wall.” In Old English, “wēalas” simply means “foreigners” before referring to Welsh people.

  • Origin: Welsh, Scottish
  • Meaning: From Wales
  • Pronunciation: Weylz
  • Namesakes: Jimmy Wales, the American-British co-founder of Wikipedia. William Wales, a British astronomer who sailed with Captain Cook.
  • Popularity: Wales is rare worldwide, mainly used in the U.S., and ranked 932nd in Scotland in 2014.
Geographical, Old

Wallace

Wallace derives from the Frankish Walhisk, meaning “foreigner.” It also referred to a Celt or Roman but was traditionally given to Welshman who emigrated to Scotland.

  • Origin: Welsh, Scottish
  • Meaning: Welshman
  • Pronunciation: WAA-Lahs
  • Variations: Wallais, Wallice
  • Namesakes: David Foster Wallace, an American writer best known for Infinite Jest (1996). Mary Wallace, an Irish Teachta Dála from 1989 to 2011.
  • Popularity: Wallace ranked 1,427th worldwide, is primarily used in the U.S., and ranked 50th in Scotland in 2014.
Old, Traditional

Walsh

Walsh is also an Irish surname given to a Briton or any “foreigner.” It’s also mostly used for Welshman first taken to Britain by soldiers during the Norman invasion.

  • Origin: Welsh, Irish
  • Meaning: Foreigner
  • Pronunciation: WAHLSH
  • Variations: Walcsh, Walshe
  • Namesakes: John Walsh, an American TV host of America’s Most Wanted. Brendan Walsh, an American chef and winner of the “Who’s Who of Cooking in America” James Beard Foundation Award.
  • Popularity: Walsh ranked 1,752nd worldwide, is mostly used in the U.S., and ranked 4th in Ireland in 2014.
Popular, Traditional

Watkins

Watkins traditionally refers to a Welsh “son of Watkin.” It’s also a diminutive of Watt, a nickname for Walter, meaning “people rule.”

  • Origin: Welsh, English
  • Meaning: Son of Walter
  • Pronunciation: WAOT-Kihns
  • Variations: Watkin
  • Namesakes: Alan Watkins, a British columnist for The Sunday Express (1959 to 1964). Marley Watkins, a Welsh footballer for Aberdeen.
  • Popularity: Watkins is uncommon worldwide, mainly used in the U.S., and ranked 28th in Wales in 2014.
Patronymic, Popular

Wiegold

Wiegold is possibly linked to the German Weigold. It was originally a first name made up of the German “wīg,” meaning “battle,” and “walt,” meaning “ruler.”

  • Origin: Welsh
  • Meaning: Unknown
  • Pronunciation: WEE-gold
  • Variations: Weigold
  • Namesakes: James Wiegold, a Welsh mathematician known for contributing to group theory.
  • Popularity: Wiegold is very rare worldwide and primarily used in Germany.
Uncommon, Unusual

Williams

Williams comes from William, meaning “wilful protector.” It was the most popular surname in Britain during the Norman invasion and ranked 3rd among U.S. surnames consistently.

  • Origin: Welsh, Scottish
  • Meaning: Son of William
  • Pronunciation: WIHL-Yahmz
  • Variations: Willems
  • Namesakes: Barry Williams, an American actor best known for The Brady Bunch (1969 to 1974). Darryl Williams, an American football player for the Miami Hurricanes.
  • Popularity: Williams ranked 183rd worldwide and is mostly used in the U.S., ranking 3rd in 2014.
Traditional, Popular

Wogan

Wogan derives from the Welsh given name Guoccaun. It uses “gogawn,” meaning “glory.” Wogan is more funny as a nickname taken from “gwgan,” meaning someone who “frowns” or “scowls.”

  • Origin: Welsh, Irish
  • Meaning: Frowner
  • Pronunciation: WOH-gan
  • Variations: Gwogan
  • Namesakes: Christopher R. Wogan, a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives from 1981 to 2002. Terry Wogan, an English-Irish radio broadcaster known for Wake Up to Wogan.
  • Popularity: Wogan is very rare worldwide, mainly used in the U.S., and ranked 1,502nd in Ireland in 2014.
Nickname, Uncommon

Wynn

In Old English, Wynn means “friend,” but means “pure” in Welsh. It’s often connected to the Welsh Gwynne and ranked 1,203rd for U.S. surnames in 2010.

  • Origin: Welsh, English
  • Meaning: Fair
  • Pronunciation: WIHN
  • Variations: Wynne, Wyn
  • Namesakes: Peter Wynn, an Australian rugby league footballer for the Parramatta Eels. Ed Wynn, an American actor known for his Perfect Fool comedy character.
  • Popularity: Wynn is rare worldwide, primarily used in the U.S., and ranked 150th in Myanmar in 2014.
Unique, Uncommon

Yale

Yale is based on the Welsh “iâl,” given to the “fertile” Plas-yn-lal Estate in Wales (called “the Lords of Yale.”) It also means “dweller at the fertile upland.”

  • Origin: Welsh, English
  • Meaning: Fertile ground
  • Pronunciation: YEYL
  • Namesakes: Brian Yale, an American musician and member of the band Matchbox Twenty. Kim Yale, an American comic book writer and editor for DC Comics.
  • Popularity: Yale is rare worldwide, primarily used in the U.S., and ranked 1,088th in Niger in 2014.
Earthy, Noble

Yarwood

Yarwood has multiple meanings, one of which is composed of the Old English “earn,” meaning “eagle,” and “wudu,” meaning “wood.” It’s also taken from the Welsh Iorwerth, comprising “ior” for “lord” and “berth” for “handsome.”

  • Origin: Welsh, English
  • Meaning: Handsome lord
  • Pronunciation: YAAR-wood
  • Variations: Yearwood
  • Namesakes: Michael Yarwood, an English comedian known for his Sunday Night at the London Palladium show. Stephen Yarwood, the Lord Mayor of Adelaide, Australia, from 2010 to 2014.
  • Popularity: Yarwood is very rare worldwide, mainly used in England, and ranked 1,249th in the U.S. Virgin Islands in 2014.
Earthy, Geographical
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About the Author

Maryana Vestic

Maryana Vestic is a Brooklyn-based writer, editor, and food photographer with a background in entertainment Business Affairs. She studied film at NYU, Irish Theatre Studies at Trinity College Dublin, and has an MFA in Creative Writing Nonfiction from The New School. She loves cooking, baking, hiking, and horror films, as well as running a local baking business in Brooklyn with her boyfriend.
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