Wales is a mountainous country on the western side of central southern UK, where Welsh is the predominant language in most parts, particularly in North Wales and West Wales. However, English is widely used in South Wales. Welsh surnames or last names could be used among non-natives, so you could consider choosing a surname for your baby from this beautiful language.
Most Welsh last names are derived from paternal lineage and are patronymic. During the Middle Ages, they added prefixes like “ferch” (meaning “daughter of”) and “ab,” “ap” (meaning ‘son of’) to their surnames. However, the patronymic system gradually gave way to fixed surnames (1).
Welsh surnames are mostly derived from English and Welsh, while some originated from Celtic. Here, we have combined some Welsh surnames and last names if you are keen to give a Welsh name to your child. Read on and take your pick!
List Of Common Welsh Surnames With Meanings
The Norman name arrived in Wales after the Norman Conquest of the Wales region. The original bearer of the name was known to live in a place planted with elder trees, and it is also a derivation of Baptismal name meaning ‘son of Aubrey.’
It was used as a nickname for a short or small man, and is taken from the Welsh word, ‘bach’ meaning ‘little.’
It is derived from the Welsh words ‘bychan,’ which mean little or small. This surname is also a family name in Oxfordshire in England.
This is a patronymic name created from the Welsh name, Bevan that itself is derived from ‘ab-lefan’ or ‘ap-lefan.’ The prefix ‘ab’ or ‘ap’ means ‘son of,’ and thus the name means ‘son of lefan.’ The name ‘Lefan’ is likely the Welsh version of the name John.
It is a variant of the name ‘Bedo,’ which is the pet form of the Welsh name Meredith that means ‘sea lord’ or ‘protector of the sea’ in Welsh.
It is the anglicized form of the name ‘ap Einion’ meaning the ‘son of Einion.’ The name Einion is the Welsh word for ‘anvil.’
It is a patronymic surname and an anglicized form of Welsh name ‘ab Ithel’ or ‘son of Ithel’ meaning ‘bountiful Lord.’
This is derived from the Welsh words ‘blaenau’ meaning ‘uplands’ or ‘blean’ meaning ‘a river source.’ The name is also associated with the place called Castleblayney in Ireland.
It is a toponymic name for someone from the county of Brecon, also called Brecknockshire, in south Wales. The name is also said to be the name of a 6th century Welsh prince from the same place.
This is derived from the Old Welsh personal name ‘Cadell’ that itself comes from the Welsh word ‘cad’ meaning ‘battle.’ The surname was popularly associated with the 7th-century saint Cadell ab Urien.
It is a derivative of Old Welsh family name Cadwgan where ‘cad’ means‘ battle’ and ‘gwgan’ means ‘glory.’ The surname thus means ‘glory in battle’ or ‘honor in battle.’
It is a toponymic name for someone from the Welsh city of Cardiff. The name Cardiff comes from a combination of two Welsh words, namely ‘caer’ meaning ‘fort and ‘taf’ meaning ‘stream of water.’
It is a toponymic name for anyone from the several places of the same name in Wales, including a castle called Carew. The name is a combination of the Welsh words ‘caer’ meaning ‘fort’ and ‘rhiw’ meaning ‘hill’ or a ‘slope.’
It is taken from the Old Welsh name ‘Seisyllt’ that is derived from the Latin name ‘Sextilius.’ The name ‘Sextilius’ comes from the Latin word ‘sextus’ meaning ‘sixth.’ The name ‘Cecil’ could also be the modified form of the Latin name ‘Caecilius,’ which is derived from ‘Caecus,’ the Latin word for ‘blind.’
This surname is derived from ‘Collen,’ which is a Welsh word for hazel or a hazel grove. Hazel is a shrub and the source of hazelnut. This surname likely has English and Irish origins.
This is a variant name of Corslett or Cosslett that is considered to have migrated to Wales from Germany. The exact origin of the name is unknown. The surname is common in northern Wales and around Liverpool in England.
This is a derivative of the Welsh personal name, Caradoc which traces its origin to the ancient Celtic name ‘Caratacos.’ The Celtic name comes from the Celtic word ‘car’ meaning ‘love.’
It is the Welsh variant of the name ‘Davis’ that means ‘son of David.’ The name ‘David’ itself comes from Hebrew and means ‘beloved.’
It is derived from the Welsh word ‘Du’ meaning black or dark. The name ‘Dee’ likely started as a nickname for a person with a dark complexion or dark skin color. Another origin could be the River Dee in Wales. In this case, the name could be a toponymic one referring to those who lived along the banks of the Dee River.
It is considered to be one of the new names that migrated to England after the Norman Conquest. The name means ‘treasured one’ in Welsh
It is a variant of the Welsh personal name Idris that is made of two Welsh elements, namely ‘uud’ meaning ‘lord’ and ‘ris’ meaning ‘impulsive’ or ‘ardent.’
It is a patronymic name that means ‘son of Edward.’ The name Edward itself comes from Old English words ‘ead’ meaning ‘wealth’ or ‘fortune,’ and ‘weard’ that means ‘guard.’ The name Edward thus means ‘rich guard.’
The name means ‘my god is Yahweh’ or ‘my god is lord’ in Hebrew. Elijah has been the name of several saints in the past.
It is a derivative of the Welsh personal name ‘Elisedd’ that is derived from the Welsh word ‘elus’ meaning ‘kind’ or ‘benevolent.’ This surname has been the name of a few kings that ruled over Wales.
It is a patronymic name that means ‘son of Evan.’ The name Evan is the anglicized version of ‘lefan,’ which is the Welsh version of the name John.
This is a derivative of the Welsh personal name ‘Enion’ that comes from the Welsh word ‘Einion’ meaning ‘anvil.’
It is a toponymic name for someone from the place called Flint in the Flintshire county of Wales. The place is famous for its castle, that is called Flint Castle.
It is an anglicized form of the Welsh personal name ‘Llywarch’ that has an unexplainable origin. The surname may be of English origin where it refers to a blossoming flower or a derivative of Old French word ‘flur’ meaning ‘flower.’
It is a variant of the surname Lloyd that is a derivative of the Welsh word ‘llwyd’ meaning ‘gray.’ The word ‘llwyd’ is also used to refer to the color ‘brown.’ The name may have been a reference to a young man.
It is a variant of the feminine name ‘Gaenor’ that came from ‘Gwenhwyfar,’ a compound of Welsh elements ‘gwen’ meaning‘fair,’ ‘wyf’ meaning ‘smooth,’ and ‘fawr’ meaning ‘large.’ A few variants of the name Gaynor are Guinevere, and Jennifer, which is a popular feminine name.
It is derived from the Welsh name ‘Cethin’ meaning ‘ugly’ or ‘hideous.’ The name would have likely begun as a nickname.
It is the anglicized form of Welsh word ‘Glas’ that means ‘green’ or can even refer to ‘silver-gray.’ The name could have originally been a nickname.
It is a variant of the name ‘Gough’ that comes from the Welsh word ‘coch’ meaning red. The name likely began as a nickname for someone with red hair or a reddish complexion.
It is a toponymic name for someone from the Gower peninsula, which lies to the south-west of Wales.
It means ‘son of Gruffudd.’ The name Gruffudd comes from the Old Welsh name ‘Griphiud’ meaning ‘chief’ or ‘lord.’
It is an anglicized form of Welsh surname ‘Gwyllt,’ a nickname that means ‘wild’ in Welsh.
It is derived from two Welsh elements, ‘gwalch’ meaning ‘hawk and ‘mai’ meaning ‘field.’ It is also the name of a village in Anglesey, an island off the north-western coast of Wales.
This surname is likely a toponymic one, referring to a place called Hanmer , which is a place within the Wrexham County of Wales. The name means ‘lake’ or a ‘pond’ in Old English.
The name is of uncertain origin but is considered a toponymic one. It could refer to someone from the place called Hereford in the Herefordshire county of England. The name Hereford is a combination of the Old English words ‘here’ meaning ‘army’ and ‘ford’ meaning ‘ford’ (a shallow section of a river or a stream).
It is derived from a descriptive nickname derived from the Welsh word ‘hir’ meaning ‘long’ or ‘tall.’
It is a patronymic Welsh surname meaning ‘son of Hopkin.’ The name Hopkin is a derivative of the name ‘Robert’ that comes from the Old Germanic name ‘Hrodebert’ meaning ‘bright fame.’
It is an anglicized form of the Old Welsh name ‘Hywel’ which means ‘eminent.’ It was a popular name during the Middle ages and also the name of a ruler of Wales.
It is the Welsh variant of the surname ‘Howells,’ which means ‘son of Howell.’ Another origin could be the name ‘Hugh’ that comes from the Old Germanic word ‘hug’ meaning ‘heart’ or ‘spirit.’
It is a derivative of the Welsh personal name ‘Ithael’ that comes from Old Welsh name ‘ludhail’ meaning ‘bountiful Lord.’
It is a variant of the name ‘Ithael,’ which traces its origins to the Old Welsh name ‘ludhail’ meaning ‘bountiful Lord.’
It is adapted from the first name ‘James.’ The name ‘James’ originated from the Hebrew name ‘Jacob’ that means ‘supplanter.’ The name likely came to Great Britain during the Norman Conquest.
It means ‘son of Jenkin.’ The name Jenkin is derived from the name ‘John’ with the suffix ‘kin’, thus the name likely referring to ‘John’s family.’
It is a popular biblical name that is a variant of the Hebrew name ‘Yochanan’ meaning ‘Jehovah has been gracious’ or ‘god is gracious.’
It is a variant of the name ‘Jon,’ which originates from the name John.
It is a toponymic name for someone from any of the several places called Cilan in Wales.
It is derived from the Old Welsh personal name ‘Cynbel’ that is composed of the Old Welsh elements ‘cyn’ meaning ‘chief’ and ‘bel’ meaning ‘war.’ The name thus means ‘war chief.’
It is derived from the Old Welsh name ‘Cynwrig’ that is a combination of elements ‘cyn’ meaning ‘chief’ and ‘gwr’ meaning ‘man ‘. It is a popular surname in Wales and counties bordering England.
The name is likely a toponymic one and likely derived from the name Neath – the name of several places including a river in Wales.
The origins of the name are unknown, but the surname comes from Old Welsh and means ‘near the castle.’
It is derived from the Welsh name ‘Llywelyn’that likely originated from the Welsh word ‘llyw’ meaning ‘leader.’ Another variant of the name Lewis is Lewison.
It comes from the Welsh word ‘llwyd’ meaning ‘gray’ or also used to refer ‘brown.’ The name may have been a nickname or a reference to young men.
It is derived from Welsh personal name ‘Madoc,’ which comes from the Welsh word ‘mad’ meaning ‘good’ or ‘fortunate.’ The other alternatives of the name are Maddox, Mattock, Maddick, Maddog, Mattack and Madog.
It is derived from the Old Welsh names Meredydd or Maredudd, which means ‘great lord’ or ‘sea lord.’ Another origin of the name could be the Old Welsh name Morgetiud with its first part meaning ‘pomp’ or ‘splendor’ and second portion meaning ‘lord.’
It originates from the Welsh name ‘Meurig,’ which is the Welsh form of the name ‘Maurice.’ The name ‘Maurice’ comes from the Late Roman name ‘Maurus’ meaning ‘dark-skinned.’
It is a derivative of Welsh word ‘mawr’ meaning ‘big’ or ‘large.’ It may have been originally a nickname for a large or big man.
This is a derivative of Old Welsh personal name ‘Morcant’ composed of the Welsh elements ‘mor’ meaning ‘sea’ and ‘cant’ meaning ‘circle.’ It is a popular surname in Wales and other parts of Great Britain as well.
It is an anglicized form of Welsh personal name ‘Maurice’ that comes from the Late Roman name ‘Maurus’ meaning ‘dark-skinned.’
It is derived from either Old English ‘mos’ meaning ‘peat-bog’ or Irish ‘Maolmona’ referring to an ancient Gaelic devotee. Another origin of the name could be the Hebrew name ‘Moses.’
It is a toponymic name from someone from the place called Mostyn in Wales. The name of the place comes from Old English and means ‘moss town.’
It is a variant of the Welsh name ‘Myrick’ that ultimately traces its origins to ‘Maurice.’ The name ‘Maurice’ comes from the Late Roman name ‘Maurus’ meaning ‘dark-skinned.’
It is a toponymic surname derived from the name of a place called Nannau in Wales. The root word for the name is the Celtic word ‘nant’ meaning ‘brook.’
It is the Welsh form of the name ‘Agnes.’ The name Agnes comes from the Greek name ‘Hagne’ meaning ‘pure’ or ‘holy.’
It is derived from the Old English word ‘cniht’ that meant a ‘young man’ or a ‘knight.’ The name ‘Nevitt’ could also be the anglicized form of the Old Welsh name ‘Ednyfed.’ This name likely comes from the Welsh names ‘Edenevet’ or ‘Eidniuet’ composed of two Welsh elements, ‘iud’ meaning ‘lord’ and ‘nemeto’ meaning ‘sacred grove.’
It is derived from the Welsh personal name ‘Owain,’ which is likely the Welsh form of the name ‘Eugene.’ The name Eugene comes from the Greek name ‘Eugenios’ that means ‘well-born’ or ‘noble.’
This is a patronymic name that is an anglicized version of the Welsh name ‘ap Harry’ meaning ‘son of Harry.’ The name Harry is derived from the name ‘Henry’ that comes from the Germanic name ‘Heimirich’ meaning ‘home ruler’ or ‘ruler of the homeland.’
It is a toponymic surname for someone from the town called Pembroke in Wales. This surname is considered to have been established since the 17th century in Ireland.
The name’s original spelling was ‘Penoyre,’ and it is composed of two Welsh elements, ‘pen’ meaning ‘head’ and ‘aur’ meaning ‘golden.’ The name likely referred someone with golden hair. The name ‘Pennoyer’ could also be a toponymic one referring to someone from the place called Golden Valley in Herefordshire, Wales.
It means ‘son of Philip.’ The name Philip comes from the Greek name ‘Philippos.’ It is composed of elements, ‘philein’ meaning ‘love’ and ‘hippos’ meaning ‘horse.’
It is a patronymic surname from the Welsh personal name ‘Piers.’ The name ‘Piers’ come from the name ‘Peter,’ which comes from the Greek word ‘Petros’ meaning ‘stone.’
This surname is an anglicized form of the Welsh patronymic name ‘ab Ynyr’ or ‘son of Ynyr’. It is a derivative of the Latin name ‘Honorius’ meaning ‘honored.’
This is a patronymic name derived from the Welsh personal name ‘ap Rhys’ meaning ‘son of Rhys.’ The name ‘Rhys’ means ‘enthusiasm.’
It is a patronymic name that is the anglicized version of the name ‘ap Redith’ meaning ‘son of Redith.’ The name ‘Redith’ comes from the Old Welsh name ‘Meredith’ meaning ‘protector of the sea.’ Other origins of the name could be ‘ap Rhiddid’ meaning ‘son of Rhiddid.’ The name ‘Rhiddid’ is of unknown origin. The name ‘Priddy’ could even be a derivative of the Welsh word ‘prydudd’ meaning ‘bard.’
It is a derivative of the Welsh word ‘prid’ that means ‘precious’ or ‘dear.’ This popular name likely represents a valued and cherished person.
It is the anglicized version of the Welsh name ‘ap Rhydderch’ meaning ‘son of Rhydderch.’ The name Rhydderch means ‘reddish-brown’ and the name may have been a reference to someone with reddish-brown hair or complexion.
It is derived from the Old Welsh personal name ‘Rhys’ that means ‘enthusiasm.’ Another source could be the Old Welsh word ‘Ris’ meaning ‘ardor.’ Other variants include Rice, Reese, and Reece.
It means ‘son of Robert.’ The name Robert comes from Old German and is made from the Germanic elements ‘hrod’ meaning ‘fame’ and ‘beraht’ meaning ‘bright.’
It is an anglicized form of Welsh personal name ‘Rhydderch’ that meaning ‘reddish-brown.’
It is the Welsh version of the English name ‘Roger.’ The name Roger comes from Old German and is composed of the Germanic elements ‘hrod’ meaning ‘fame’ and ‘gar’ meaning ‘spear.’
This surname comes from the Old Welsh word ‘sais’ that means ‘saxon.’ The name was a reference to the English people settled in and around Wales.
It is originated from the Welsh personal name formed by the element ‘ysgor’ meaning ‘fort’ or ‘camp.’ The surname is associated with fortified manors in several parts of Wales.
This surname is derived from the Welsh personal names ‘Selyf’ or ‘Selau.’ These names are the Welsh version of the name ‘Solomon,’ a Biblical name that means ‘peaceful.’
It is the Welsh word for ‘fat, ’ ‘plump,’ or ‘portly.’ The name likely began as a nickname for a fat person and eventually transformed into a surname.
It is a biblical name and was a popular medieval personal name in Europe. It is a derivative of Aramaic byname meaning ‘twin.’
It is derived from the Welsh personal name ‘Trahaearn,’ composed of two Welsh words, namely ‘tra’ meaning ‘most’ and ‘haearn’ meaning ‘iron.’ The name originally would have referred to someone who was as strong as iron.
It is a toponymic surname derived from two Welsh words, namely ‘tref’ meaning ‘town’ and ‘mawr’ meaning ‘large.’ The name thus means ‘large town,’ and could have referred to someone who came from a large town.
It is taken from the personal Welsh name ‘Tudur’ that comes from the Celtic word ‘Toutorix’ meaning ‘ruler of the people.’
It is a derivative of Brythonic personal name ‘Orbogenos’ that was known as ‘Urgen’ or ‘Urbgen’ in Old Welsh. Although the first element is unknown, the root word ‘gen’ represents ‘born’ or ‘birth.’
It is derived from Welsh word ‘bychan’ that means ‘small’ or ‘little.’ The name would have originated to distinguish the younger of two bearers of the same personal name. The name could have also been a nickname.
It is originated from the Welsh word ‘moel’ meaning ‘bald.’ It may have begun as a reference to a bald person or a dry patch of land.
It is a derivative of the Welsh personal name ‘Gwaiddan.’ The name ‘Gwaiddan’ is a toponymic one and likely refers to someone from the place called Robeston Wathen in Wales.
It is a patronymic surname that means ‘son of William.’ The name William comes from the Old German name ‘Willahelm’ composed of the Old Germanic elements, ‘wil’ meaning ‘desire’ and ‘helm’ meaning ‘helmet’ or ‘protection.’
It is derived from the Old Welsh personal name ‘Gwgan’ or ‘Gwgon’ that comes from the Welsh word ‘gwg’ meaning to ‘frown.’
It is a variant of the Welsh name ‘Wyn’ that comes from the Welsh word ‘gwyn’ meaning ‘white’ or ‘fair’ or ‘blessed.’ Some other variants of the surname Wynn are Wyne and Gwynne.
It is a toponymic name derived from the Welsh word ‘ial’ that refers to a ‘fertile upland.’ The name originally may have referred to people who came from a place that was a fertile upland.
It is an anglicized form of Welsh personal name ‘Iorwerth’ which has Welsh elements ‘ior’ meaning ‘lord’ and lenited form of ‘berth’ meaning ‘handsome.’
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why are Welsh surnames first names?
Welsh surnames are not entirely first names but do include first names as a part. Most Welsh surnames are patronymic, meaning they represent a person’s father. The surname consists of the father’s name and a prefix, which states that “they are a son of -.” A few families might decide to skip this prefix and use the father’s first name as a child’s surname.
2. When did the Welsh start using surnames?
The Welsh surnames could be dated back to the 1300s when 50% of the names followed the patronymic system. A few surnames also included the place of origin of the family members.
The beautiful country of Wales is home to Welsh people whose surnames, like most countries’ naming system, gives a glimpse into their ancestral history and origin. So if you want a virtual tour of Wales and its people, starting with this list of common and unique Welsh surnames or last names can help you. Besides, knowing about a country’s naming system and the different surnames will help you broaden your knowledge. So this collection of surnames can enlighten you about the people of Wales and their history.
Infographic: Common Welsh Surnames
Wales is a region of rich history and culture reflected in its names that always seem to stand out and be easily recognized. If you are a proud Welsh or are fascinated by the its culture, naming your child after it may be a good way to honor your love and interest in it.