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JohnHowellsTyrfro
02-03-2016, 09:22 PM
Following discussion on other threads I've been pondering basically, how common Welsh surnames might be in England ( being Welsh, a Howells and U106 myself).This link shows distribution of the most common surnames. https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=2&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwj27fSavtzKAhUFcz4KHT1ZCCQQFggqMAE&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.theguardian.com%2Fnews%2Fdata blog%2Finteractive%2F2013%2Fapr%2F22%2Fpopular-surnames-great-britain-mapped&usg=AFQjCNHHjc54-k4d9ENxI8ySNf5t9QUhCA&sig2=ih71LGlQS9tzwjGlXzaa7Q

It's difficult to tell from the other links I've looked at, but some seem to suggest that Jones is the second most popular (Perhaps frequent is a better description) surname in England behind Smith. I think it would be interesting to know the frequency and distribution of other Welsh surnames in England, particularly for those who are not recent migrants and what their YDNA is.

GogMagog
02-04-2016, 07:26 PM
Williams is in third place.

JohnHowellsTyrfro
02-04-2016, 09:32 PM
Williams is in third place.

Yes I noticed that. :) It would be interesting to see a longer list. It seems Welsh surnames are fairly common in England, surely it can't all be down to recent migration? Noticeable that "Jones" isn't as common in Eastern England, but relatively common elsewhere.

avalon
02-05-2016, 07:39 AM
Following discussion on other threads I've been pondering basically, how common Welsh surnames might be in England ( being Welsh, a Howells and U106 myself).This link shows distribution of the most common surnames.

It's difficult to tell from the other links I've looked at, but some seem to suggest that Jones is the second most popular (Perhaps frequent is a better description) surname in England behind Smith. I think it would be interesting to know the frequency and distribution of other Welsh surnames in England, particularly for those who are not recent migrants and what their YDNA is.

There has been a recent study into this very topic that might interest you. Google "The Welsh Diaspora: analysis of geography of Welsh names"

From memory the study estimated that in England 3 million people (5% population) has a Welsh surname. In Wales, 1 million people (35% of Welsh population) have a Welsh surname. As we might expect Welsh names in England are most common in Western England, including cities like Bristol and Liverpool and the border counties.

In terms of the history, I would say that the first notable migration from Wales to England was in the Tudor period so we're probably looking at around 500 years of steady migration to England.

GogMagog
02-05-2016, 09:39 AM
Obviously immigration nearer Offa's Dyke weighs in. As to popularity, Wales has fewer names per head of population so many Rees, Powells, Pughs etc would appear. Kile Korean names, big population, few surnames.

Dubhthach
02-05-2016, 11:18 AM
Gallagher as second most common surname in parts of Glasgow is hardly surprising given conenctions between Donegal and Glasgow over last 150 years.

rms2
02-06-2016, 02:26 AM
Looks like the two most common variants of my surname, Stevens and Stephens, show up as the second most common surname in Devon in the case of the former spelling, and Cornwall, in the case of the latter.

Is that map based on modern distribution?

I think the evidence is pretty strong in my case that my surname is Welsh. Here is a map of the distribution of the Stephens variant based on the 1881 census.

7638

We spell our surname Stevens, but I have close y-dna matches with both spelling variants.

JohnHowellsTyrfro
02-06-2016, 08:14 AM
Looks like the two most common variants of my surname, Stevens and Stephens, show up as the second most common surname in Devon in the case of the former spelling, and Cornwall, in the case of the latter.

Is that map based on modern distribution?

I think the evidence is pretty strong in my case that my surname is Welsh. Here is a map of the distribution of the Stephens variant based on the 1881 census.

7638

We spell our surname Stevens, but I have close y-dna matches with both spelling variants.

They say it's based on recent Electoral registration and Twitter users( as a separate layer). (link at bottom). Nearly everyone would be on the voting register In fact I think it may be a legal requirement.
I've read different versions of the origins of Howell/s, from Wales to the East of England and Brittany. I don't think myself surname origins are always tied to a specific country, after all it's often just related to usage/distribution of a Christian name. :) It does say here it's great home is in Cornwall, but South Wales is also mentioned. https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=10&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwiM1IO02eLKAhVLECwKHYuRDuMQFghTMAk&url=http%3A%2F%2Fforebears.co.uk%2Fsurnames%2Fstep hens&usg=AFQjCNEMEEXYl8oTkAbS-39gazOnJEHN6A&sig2=IDJeqsjpivXhS5DN_1RzAQ

avalon
02-07-2016, 12:54 PM
I think in the case of Howells and your MDKA being in Herefordshire, it is worth remembering that Herefordshire and other border counties have always been that sort of blurry mixture, part England, part Wales and in the case of Herefordshire, there was a Welsh speaking enclave (Archenfield) until the 19th century. So your MDKA came from the English side of the border but perhaps was rooted in a Herefordshire community that had distant Welsh origins and so had the inclination to take a Welsh patronymic like Howells.

The other thing I would say about patronymics in general is that they are not always exclusively Welsh. There is often the assumption that a surname with an 's' on the end must be Welsh but there are many examples of names that can be Welsh and English in origin, eg. Harris, Peters, Rogers, Phillips, Richards, Reynolds, Jeffreys, Edmunds etc. A lot of these type of names are frequent in the SW of England so it looks like patronymic naming also emerged in parts of England, not just Wales.

To confuse matters more you also have names such as Owen, Roberts, Ellis and Hughes which are more common in North Wales and less so in the south and vice versa there are South Wales names which are less common in the north such as Thomas, Price and Rees. The other one that confuses people is Davies (the Welsh name) and Davis which is an English surname.

rms2
02-07-2016, 03:38 PM
They say it's based on recent Electoral registration and Twitter users( as a separate layer). (link at bottom). Nearly everyone would be on the voting register In fact I think it may be a legal requirement.
I've read different versions of the origins of Howell/s, from Wales to the East of England and Brittany. I don't think myself surname origins are always tied to a specific country, after all it's often just related to usage/distribution of a Christian name. :) It does say here it's great home is in Cornwall, but South Wales is also mentioned. https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=10&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwiM1IO02eLKAhVLECwKHYuRDuMQFghTMAk&url=http%3A%2F%2Fforebears.co.uk%2Fsurnames%2Fstep hens&usg=AFQjCNEMEEXYl8oTkAbS-39gazOnJEHN6A&sig2=IDJeqsjpivXhS5DN_1RzAQ

I remember reading early on that Stephens/Stevens is common in Cornwall. I once met a Cornish family that was visiting Colonial Williamsburg here in Virginia. When I told them my name, they smiled and said they know a lot Stevenses back home.

As a consequence, I expected some Cornish y-dna matches, but thus far I have none. My matches who can trace their y-dna lines across the Atlantic, or who are from there, either trace them to Wales or have a Welsh surname and ancestry in Shropshire right on the Welsh border (Beddoes).

Here is a table of y-dna matches I made awhile back so you can see what I mean.

7668

JohnHowellsTyrfro
02-07-2016, 08:55 PM
I think in the case of Howells and your MDKA being in Herefordshire, it is worth remembering that Herefordshire and other border counties have always been that sort of blurry mixture, part England, part Wales and in the case of Herefordshire, there was a Welsh speaking enclave (Archenfield) until the 19th century. So your MDKA came from the English side of the border but perhaps was rooted in a Herefordshire community that had distant Welsh origins and so had the inclination to take a Welsh patronymic like Howells.

The other thing I would say about patronymics in general is that they are not always exclusively Welsh. There is often the assumption that a surname with an 's' on the end must be Welsh but there are many examples of names that can be Welsh and English in origin, eg. Harris, Peters, Rogers, Phillips, Richards, Reynolds, Jeffreys, Edmunds etc. A lot of these type of names are frequent in the SW of England so it looks like patronymic naming also emerged in parts of England, not just Wales.

To confuse matters more you also have names such as Owen, Roberts, Ellis and Hughes which are more common in North Wales and less so in the south and vice versa there are South Wales names which are less common in the north such as Thomas, Price and Rees. The other one that confuses people is Davies (the Welsh name) and Davis which is an English surname.

Thanks for the observations, you are quite right about Herefordshire, particularly the West of the county where my father's ancestors came from, quite "Welsh" in some ways even until recent times. I've tended to think perhaps incorrectly, that names with an "S" on the end represent a more anglicised version compared with names like Powell from the Welsh Ap (son of) Hywel.
I've read various suggestions for the source of the name, any thoughts welcome :). I posted this on a different thread :-
"Howell or Howells although said to be of Welsh in origin, isn't that common in Wales. It's 3,162 in the World. Powell is a different variation. This link which interestingly, suggests an English origin :- https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwiCwb-zw-bKAhXDPBQKHSV2BysQFggfMAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fforebears.co.uk%2Fsurnames%2Fhowe ll&usg=AFQjCNH6VizKRvz15UZNj3-xv6rrKLW1KQ&sig2=wQZxNLFV_9QzgUwFEAJqvQ

This description from the surname database is more typical of other descriptions of the origins of Howells which I have seen (any thoughts welcome) :-
"This distinguished name, also spelt Howels, is a patronymic form of the Old Welsh personal name "Hywel", first recorded in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle of 926 A.D., with the mention of "Huwal West Wala cyning" - Howell, King of the West Welsh. The name translates as "the eminent one" and was popular throughout the Middle Ages and thereafter, in honour of this great law giving King. Known as Howel Dda, or "The Good", his laws survive in Latin manuscripts at Peniarth, and the Welsh "Black Book of Chirk". The Old Breton name Huwel or Howael, introduced direct from Brittany to the Welsh - English border counties, may in some instances have given rise to the surname. One Robert Howeles was recorded in the 1210, Curia Regis Rolls of Northamptonshire, and a John Houeles, witness, in the 1280 Assize Court Rolls of Somerset. On December 23rd 1764, Oliver Howells and Alice Powell were married in Merthyr Tydfil, Glamorgan. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Geffrei Hoel, which was dated circa 1100 - 1130, in the "Old English Names Register", during the reign of King Henry 1st, known as "The Lion of Justice", 1100 - 1135. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

Read more: http://www.surnamedb.com/Surname/Howells#ixzz3zH9cREKd
"
From a personal perspective I've found the suggested connection to Brittany interesting because my own paternal family were from the Welsh Border area."

I would guess that it's quite possible that the Christian name Hywel or variations may have been in use in different places ( after all England wasn't an exclusively Saxon culture) ?