Like Icelandic Surnames
has a history
naming. The practice
died out in the early 17th century in urban
areas, and up to the early 19th century in outlying rural
95% of the Welsh
population are covered by only 39 surnames.
There are four common classes
of Welsh surname:
- Straight Patronym - These come from the name of the father, with an s appended. Examples include Jones, Williams, Evans.
- 'Son of' - Like the Gaelic Mac or Mc, Welsh used ap to mean son of. "John ap Richard" is John, son of Richard. This developed to Pritchard. Further examples include Bowen (ap Owen) and Pugh (ap Huw).
- Purely Celtic names - Often describing the person, their occupation, or a place. Examples are Lloyd, Llewelyn.
- Imported English names.
The practice died out as wealthy
families began to carry their surname
to future generations. This is, of course, a minor nightmare
with Welsh ancestors