Sunday, September 16, 2007

Place Names. Language. Surnames. Welsh American Patriots.

 Naming Places and Bearing Surnames from Other Origins

1. Place names from the Welsh

Any map in the US may well show a place name that derives from Wales, or another country where the immigrants from it settled and wanted to feel at home.  Other countries may be more familiar:
  • Paris, Maine. 
  • Berlin, Connecticut. 
  • Toledo, Ohio, etc. 
For Welsh, see the Philadelphia area.  Welsh derivations:
  • Bryn Mawr,  Bala Cynwyd, St. Davids, Llanerch, Merion, and Gladwyn (Gladwynne? we forget), PA.  See the Jackdied website at // for place names, and also explorer origins below.  See also /; click on the language section of the menu for sound tracks on how Welsh sounds.  For the Philadelphia group, there migrations of Welsh Quakers to that area, called the Welsh Tract, see ://
  • In Ohio, go to Jackson County, or Gallia County - known regionally as "Little Cardiganshire." See
  • Cambria County, PA.  See more at Wikipedia://
  • William Penn first named Pennsylvania "New Wales".  See the Wikipedia site.

Go to the home page at

For northeast Wales, the BBC did a research project on the names of prefixes, suffixes, nouns and adjectives from various cultures incorporated into or stemming from the Welsh - including Viking references and where Viking ships have been found buried.  See ://

2.  Surnames from the Welsh

Presidents and Patriots came from Welsh stock  - see Wikipedia at://

Our Welsh heritage includes these. Note that 20% of the Pilgrims were Welsh or of Welsh background, says the BBC at ://

  • Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence and later President, see That site also says that 20% of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were Welsh
  • William Penn - name means "head" in Welsh
  • Robert Morris - is he the Robert Morris who married his 14 year old ward? See The National Library of Wales, Welsh Biography Online at ://  no, ours is the financier of the Revolution, and signer of most of the founding documents, see The Welsh Society of Philadelphia, at ://
  • John Marshall, Chief Justice, United States, and shaper of Constitutional Law - read "Great American Lawyers," by John R. Vile 2001, at the Google Book section at; also seehis biography at Spiritus Temporis at ://
  • Abraham Lincoln - Nationmaster at ://
Regular people:  The Joneses.

Jones is generally seen as a Welsh name. See ://  Study the Welsh at Rio Grande Community College in Ohio at ://

3.  Welsh roots - these go even deeper than discovery and colonial times.  There were, it is said, settlers after Erikson, and before Columbus -  read the tale, and the possible genetics in some Native American Mandan tribes, speaking a form of Welsh, at the Encyclopedia Britannica site, ://  The Mandans were destroyed by smallpox, 1848 or so. See more at Jackdied,:// - are our origins more Welsh than we ever were told. Nationmaster however, and other sources say that the Madog ab Owain Gwynedd story,  see below, has been discredited and lacks historical basis, see ://

Excellent fact site: Nationmaster at ://

Even Connecticut has mysterious walls and round stone huts? Or are we too far north east.  This article notes mysterious origins of those in other areas.  For your own imagation's sake, read the legend of  Madog ab Owain Gwynedd. Do read the Britannia site. It also has a side menu of history, people.

Dabbling. And while we are dabbling, find

  • Welsh music at ://; and 
  • read a book from the library called, "How Green Was My Valley," by Richard Llewellyn, at; later a fabulous 1941 film, see "How Green Was My Valley" at

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