Williams-Stott Line

Gateway Ancestor: Edward Foulke

When tracing ancestors across the centuries, kin are often clustered together in a similar locations, an economic situation, or an ethnic identity.  A gateway ancestor is anyone with known or traceable ancestry from one specific group who marries into another group. Each immigrant from one country to another is a potential gateway, if his/her descendants can then trace his/her ancestry to the original country. Gateways can also occur when someone moves from one distinct social group into another or across distinct religious, economic, or racial barriers.

In the United States, however, the term “gateway ancestor” most commonly is used to refer to colonial immigrants whose ancestry can be traced in the Old World—specifically to gentry, nobility, or royalty. According to Gary Boyd Roberts, author of the book, Royal Descents of 600 Immigrants to the United States, most Americans with significant New England, Quaker, or Southern plantation ancestry are descended from English, Scottish, Welsh, and French royalty, nobility, or gentry.

Why is that?, you might ask. The reason is primogeniture: the right of succession belonging to the firstborn child, typically the eldest son. Many colonists of high social status were the daughters or younger sons of aristocratic families who came to the New World looking for land because, given their gender or birth order, they could not inherit. At least 650 colonists are known to have traceable royal and noble ancestry; approximately 387 of them had descendants.


Both my family and my spouse’s family have several gateway ancestors.  The first one whom I will introduce is Edward Foulke, my spouse’s 8th great-grandfather through his mother’s maternal line. Edward Foulke has been proven to descend from Charlemagne, a Magna Carta baron, and even a saint.

Edward ap Foulke was born 13 May 1651 in Llandderfel, Merionethshire, Wales. He was the third son of Foulke ap Thomas (who was also a third son) and Lowry ferch Edward.

“I, Edward Foulke, was the son of Foulke, ap Thomas, ap Evan, ap Thomas, ap Robert, ap David Lloyd, ap David, ap Evan Vaughan (ap Evan), ap Griffith, ap Madoc, ap Ririd Flaidd, Lord of Penllyn, who dwelt at Rhiwaedog. My mother’s name was Lowry, the daughter of Edward, ap David, ap Ellis, ap Robert, of the Parish of Llanvor in Merionethshire.”

In 1682, Edward Foulke married Eleanor Hugh (Eleanor ferch Hugh) in Wales. She was the daughter of Hugh ap Cadwaladr.

“I was born on the 13th of 5th month, 1651, and when arrived at mature age, I married Eleanor, the daughter of Hugh, ap Cadwaladr, ap Rhys, of the Parish of Spytu in Denbighshire; her mother’s name was Gwen, the daughter of Ellis, ap William, ap Hugh, ap Thomas, ap David, ap Madoc, ap Evan, ap Cott, ap Griffith, ap Madoc, ap Einion, ap Meredith of Cai-Fadog; and she was born in the same parish and shire with her husband.

I had, by my said wife, nine children, whose names are as follows: Thomas, Hugh, Cadwalader, and Evan; Grace, Gwen, Jane, Catherine, and Margaret. We lived at a place called Coed y Foel, a beautiful farm, belonging to Roger Price esq., of Rhiwlas, Merionethshire, aforesaid.”

Their nine children, of Coed y Foel, Llandderfel, Merionethshire, Wales, were Thomas (my spouse’s 7th great-grandfather, born 7 August 1783), Jane (born 10 June 1684), Hugh (born 6 July 1685), Margaret (born in 1687), Evan (born circa 1689), Gwen (born circa 1690), Cadwalader (born 13 July 1691), Grace (born circa 1693), and Catherine (born in 1697).

On 17 Jul 1698, Edward and Eleanor Foulke and all their children immigrated to the American Colonies. According to family tradition, the reason for Edward Foulke’s decision to immigrate was formed from his conviction of the hardships and injustice often inflicted upon those subject to a monarchy. Supposedly, he was obligated to attend a military muster or drill. While there, one of his kinsman engaged in an exercise involving a broadsword or other weapon. During this exercise, his kinsman’s kneecap was struck off by his antagonist. The bystanders, as well as the one who had inflicted the injury, showed no remorse; instead, they cheered it. Edward, distressed at his kinsman’s suffering, was shocked to think that this barbarous occurrence was a natural outgrowth of the system under which they lived. His mind turned to the New World as a place of escape; however, he was very reluctant to undertake the difficulty and danger inherent with a long voyage with a large family. He decided to broach the subject with his wife. She, as the tradition holds, regarded his impression as having Divine origin, and while Edward Foulke hesitated and prevaricated, his wife Eleanor contended: “He that revealed this to thee can bless a very little in America to us and can blast a great deal in our native land.”

“But in process of time, I had an inclination to remove with my family to the province of Pennsylvania; and in order thereto, we set out on the 3rd day of the 2nd month, A.D. 1698, and came in two days to Liverpool, where, with divers others who intended to go the voyage, we took shipping, the 17th of the same month, on board the Robert and Elizabeth, and the next day set sail for Ireland, where we arrived, and staid until the first of the 3rd month, May, and then sailed again for Pennsylvania, and were about eleven weeks at sea. And the sore distemper of the bloody flux broke out in the vessel, of which died five and forty persons in our passage; the distemper was so mortal that two or three corpses were cast overboard every day while it lasted. But through favor and mercy of Divine Providence, I, with my wife and nine children, escaped that sore mortality, and arrived safe in Philadelphia, the 17th of the 5th month, July, where we were kindly received and hospitably entertained by our friends and old acquaintances.”

Edward was one of the original settlers of Gwynedd, Pennsylvania, where he purchased and settled on 712 acres of land. His land today would be located in Lower Gwynedd Township, extending approximately from Brushtown Road to Penllyn Pike and from the Whitpain Township line to Sumneytown Pike (except for a small rectangle of 110 acres belonging to Evan ap Hugh). Many of the place names in Gwynedd Township are related to Edward Foulke’s roots.

“I soon purchased a fine tract of land of about seven hundred acres, sixteen miles from Philadelphia, on a part of which I settled, and divers others of our company who came over sea with us, settled near me at the same time. This was the beginning of November 1698, aforesaid, and the township was called Gwynedd, or North Wales.”

In 1702, Edward Foulke wrote about his emigration from Wales (see the quotes above), as well as his lineage. On his father’s side, Edward Foulke traced his ancestry to the 12th century Welsh chieftain, Rhirid Flaidd of Penllyn, whose mottos were blaidd rhudd ar y blaen (red wolf to the front) and consequitur quod conque petit (he attains what he attempts). The coat of arms belonging to Rhirid Flaidd ap Gwergenu was green with a chevron between three boars’ heads, erased argent. These coats of arms were passed down generations later to Edward Foulke.

The book, The Historical Collections Relating to Gwynedd, by Howard M. Jenkins, discusses Rhirid Flaidd:

“This distinguished man, Lord of Penllyn (a cantref containing five parishes north of the Bala Lake), Eifonydd, Pennant, Melangell, and Glyn, in Powis, and, as some say, of eleven towns or trefs in the hundred of Oswestry), has been occasionally described, but erroneously, as founder of one of the fifteen noble tribes of North Wales. At the same time his territories were larger and his influence much more extensive than those of several of the founders of noble tribes. He flourished at the time of Henry II, and his son Richard I. Paternally his descent was from Cynedda Wledig, but maternally it is alleged that his lineage was Norman, his mother being a descendant of Richard, Earl of Avranches, by his son William, whose brother was Hugh Lupus Earl of Chester. Whether Rhirid was called Flaidd “Wolf” from a cognomen of his maternal ancestors or from the possession of a hungry and savage nature, it is not easy to say. His eldest son Madoc had a son, Rhirid Fychan (“Younger” or “Little”), who married into the family of Fychan (Vaughan) of Nannau, and from him were descended the subsequents Vaughans of Nannau and Rhug. From his son David Pothon, who married Cicely, daughter of Sir Alexander Myddleton, Lord of Myddelton, in Shropshire, the Myddletons of Chirk Castle were descended, retaining the maternal name.”

Through his maternal family, Edward Foulke’s lineage spanned back to Edward I of England through Eleanor of England Countess of Bar. This ancestry is documented in Early Friends Families of Upper Bucks, pg. 127. Edward’s lineage to Edward I of England through Joan, who married Gilbert de Clare, is documented in Welsh Settlement of Pennsylvania, pg. 298-300.

Edward Foulke died on 8 January 1741, in Gwynedd, Pennsylvania. Sometime before his death, he wrote this eloquent exhortation to his children:

“My dear children: There has been for a considerable time, something on my mind to say to you by way of advice, before I return to dust, and resign my soul to Him who gave it: though I find some difficulty in delivering my thoughts in writing.

My first admonition to you, is, that you fear the Lord, and depart from evil all the days of your life.

Secondly, as you are brothers and sisters, I beseech you to love one another and your neighbors too. If any of your neighbors injure you, in word or deed, bear it with patience and humility. It is more pleasing in the sight of God and good men, to forgive injuries, than it is to revenge them. Rather pray for them, than wish them any evil: Lest that text in scripture, which requires an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, come into your minds when you leave this world, and you be found wanting. For without doubt, he that is thoughtless and negligent all his days about the welfare of his soul, will some day or another, in the midst of his extremity, call on the rocks and mountains to secure him from the vengeance of an offended God.

My dear children, accustom not yourselves to loose, vain talking, which the scriptures declare against. It was hurtful to me in my youth, and stopped my virtue. The temptations of this world are very powerful, as Job said by experience. Be watchful over your evening conversation. Let pious thoughts possess your souls for the moment before you close your eyes for sleep. If you do that, you will be more likely to find yourselves in the morning in a meek, humble posture before God, who preserved you from evil. This will produce peace and calmness of mind, with a blessing in your outward affairs: as we read of Isaac, whose pious meditations in the field, was rewarded with outward and inward blessings. I desire you not to reject the least appearance of good which may arise in your minds as if it could be obtained at pleasure. Give speedy obedience unto God who begets this diving emotion in your hearts. For a man’s abode in this world is very doubtful. It often happens that death comes without warning: yet we must go whether ready or not — where the tree falls, there it must be. I knew a man in the land of my nativity, that went to bed with his wife at night and died before morning, unknown to her. Such things are designed, I believe, as a warning to us, that we may arm ourselves against the terrors of such a day.

And of such as die after that manner, we have little to say, save that they died and were buried; placing the rest amongst the mysteries of the Almighty. Hence let us take a view of our own weakness, and judge of one another with charity.

I feel sorrow now in my old age, for want of being more careful and circumspect in my youth. Although I did nothing that brought shame on myself, or grief on my parents; yet there was amongst the loose, inconsistent youth, too many things which they called innocent, without considering they were building on the sand; and I was often drawn into vain mirth with them. There is a vast difference between the two sentences, delivered to those who built on the rock, and those who built on the sand. Our Saviour said of the latter, their fall shall be great. Let me entreat you, my dear children, assume not the appearance of religion, without a real possession of it in your hearts. Our Saviour compared such as did so, to sepulchres, white without, but within, full of dead men’s bones. Yet I have better hopes of you, though I mention this.

I have known, at times, something pressing me to read good books, or to go aside in private, to pray: which, if I neglected, and took my liberty other ways, then indifference and hardness would prevail, which deprived me of those good inclinations for a considerable time after. I have also to tell you of my own experience, concerning attending week-day meetings. Whenever I suffered trifling occasions, or my outward affairs, and business, if not urgent, to interrupt my going, a cool reflection and serious view, made me look upon it as a loss or injury done to my better part; and generally, the business done that day, did not answer my expectations of it in the morning.

One thing more comes into my mind, by searching myself; which is, that it had been better for me, if I had been more careful, in sitting with my family at meals, with a sober countenance; because children and servants have eyes and observations on those who have the command and government of them. It has a great influence on the life and manners of youth. So my dear children, perhaps some of you may get some advantage by this. If you consider with attention this innocent simplicity of life and manners I have been speaking of, you need not fear but that God will preserve you in safety from the snares of the devil, and the storms of this inconstant world. By diligence also you shall obtain victory over the deceitfulness of riches. I fear there are too many of this age, who suffer themselves to be carried away with the torrent of corruption. And not only such as content themselves, as it were, in the outward porch; but also such as make greater pretences than those: even they who ere looked upon as pillars in the church, have, I fear, turned their backs upon it. I lay these things close to you, that you may be careful and diligent, whilst you have time left, lest by degrees, indifference creep upon you, under the disguise of an easy mind, and you forget, it is he who holds out to the end shall be saved.

And as for your father and mother, our time is almost come to a period. We have lived together above fifty years, and now in our old age, the Lord is as good and gracious as ever He was. He gives us a comfortable living. Now in the close of our days, we have fresh occasion to acknowledge His benevolence and abounding goodness to us.

Now I think I can with peace of mind conclude, with hopes that your prayers will be for us in the most needful time, especially on a dying pillow, when our time in this world comes to an eternal rest. I conclude in the words of the prophet Jeremiah, “See thee up way marks, make thee high leaps, set thy heart toward the highway, even the way that thou wentest. Turn again, Oh Virgin of Israel, turn again to these thy cities.”

#familyhistory     #genealogy     #welshhistory

Categories: Immigrant Ancestors, Royal Roots, Williams-Stott Line | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments

ABCs & Our Family Trees: Letter G

I have always been fascinated by language, specifically where it originates and how it adapts, mutates, and relates to other languages. That is why I found the recent series of blogs by Andrew’s Kindred so intriguing. It combined my love of etymology with my love of genealogy.  I was so inspired, in fact, that I decided to try my hand at chronicling the origins of our families’ surnames.


This is the seventh installment of a series of posts documenting the etymology of many of our families’ surnames (recent and distant, direct and indirect.)

Now that the F names have been discussed, next up is the letter G:

Gallion (my mother’s paternal line)
French—A nickname derived from the Old French word galier, meaning a man with a cheerful disposition.  

Gallelli (my spouse’s father’s paternal line)
Italian—This nickname surname derives either from the fact that the original name holders were men who prided themselves on being snappy dressers and leaders of the flock or were known for their sexual prowess. This surname is derived from the Latin word gallus, meaning a cock bird.

Gambon (my mother’s maternal line)
French—This surname is derived from the Anglo-Norman French word gambon, meaning ham, which comes ultimately from a Norman-Picard form of the Old French word jambe, meaning leg.

36cbd82d25c17d6e53e54613dd900dcbGarner (my mother’s paternal line)
English—This surname is of early medieval English origin and has three possible sources. First, it might be topographical for someone who lived near a barn or granary or an occupational name for someone who was in charge of the storehouse for corn, the granary,. It is derived from the Anglo-Norman French word gerner and Old French word gernier—both from the Late Latin word granarium or granum, meaning grain or corn. Second, it might be from a central Old French form of a Germanic personal name composed of the elements war(in), meaning guard, and heri or hari, meaning army. The third source is a contracted variant from the English occupational name Gardener, which was normally given to a cultivator of edible produce in an orchard or kitchen garden, rather than to a tender of ornamental lawns and flower beds.

Gay (my mother’s paternal line)
English—There are two possible origins for this surname, both French. The first is a nickname bestowed on a lighthearted, joyful, or cheerful person from the Old French word gai and Middle English word gai(e), meaning full of joy. The second possible origin is locational, where the surname derives from any of the places in Normandy called Gaye, such as that in La Manche, where the name of the place is derived from an early owner bearing a Germanic personal name beginning Wai or Gai.

Geary (my mother’s paternal line)
English—This surname is derived from the pre-7th Century Anglo-Saxon and Olde German word geri or gari, meaning spear. This might have described a soldier who carried such a weapon, or it might simply by a personal name at a time when any name which extolled war and weaponry was greatly treasured. Another possibility is that the name derives from the medieval English word geary, meaning fickle or capricious.

ornateg_250George (my spouse’s stepmother’s family)
English—This notable surname is of Ancient Greek origins. Deriving from the word georgios, meaning farmer, the name was used in Europe throughout the early Christian period, being associated with a martyr killed at Nicomedia in the year 303. The popularity of the name increased during the Crusades, when it became the practice for returning crusaders and pilgrims to name their children after from the Old Testament.

Gifford (my mother’s paternal line)
English—This surname might originate from the Old French word giffard, used as a nickname for someone thought to be chubby-cheeked. This is a derivative of the German word giffel, meaning cheek.

Gibson (my mother’s paternal line)
English—This notable surname is a form of the medieval nickname Gib, a shortened form of the personal name Gilbert, which was introduced into England after the Norman Conquest. The Norman name was originally Gislebert or Gillebert and is composed of the Germanic elements gisil, meaning hostage or noble youth, and berht, meaning bright or famous.

Gillespie (my brother-in-law’s family)
Irish— This surname is of pre-10th Century Gaelic origin. It derives from giolla easpuig, meaning bishop’s servant.

Gillis (my mother’s paternal line)
Scotland—This surname is of pre-Christian, Ancient Greek origin. It is a shortened form of aegidius, meaning a wearer of goatskin—a reference to a holy man or somebody who did good works. St. Giles (originally Aegidius) left Greece to become a hermit in France. It is said that his Greek name was turned into Gidie, then Gide, and finally Gilles. St. Giles is regarded as the patron of beggars and cripples. The name was introduced into England and Scotland by the Normans with the names Gilo and Ghilo appearing in the Domesday Book of 1086.

Gisler (my father’s paternal line)
Swiss—A variant of Geisler surname, this is an occupational name for a goatherd from an agent derivative of the Middle High German word geiz, meaning goat. 

ornate_letter_g_small_square_tile-r955488faddf54d31a58d28737ba0a041_agtk1_8byvr_324Gingerich (my father’s paternal line)
Swiss—The Americanized form of Swiss German surname Güngerich, derived from a Germanic personal name formed with the word gund, meaning battle, and ric, meaning power(ful).  

Gleason (my spouse’s mother’s paternal line)
English—This developed from the Irish name O’Glasain, which originated in County Cork. Glasain derives from the Gaelic word glas, meaning green as in inexperienced as opposed to the color.

Goble (my brother-in-law’s family)
English—Of medieval origin, this surname is a dialectal variant of Godbold, itself from a Norman personal name Godebald. It is composed of the Germanic elements god, meaning good, or got, meaning god, along with bald, meaning bold or brave.

g_monogram_silver_besque_ceramic_tile-r75f7ad749bc84aeb97ea3748d761c58d_agtbm_8byvr_324Goess/Goss (my spouse’s mother’s maternal line)
German—This is derived from the personal name Gozzo, a shortened form of the various compound names with the element god, meaning good, or got, meaning god.

Good (my father’s paternal line)
English—This is medieval surname which seems to originate from the pre-7th Century Old English word god, meaning good. This could be a nickname for a good person—someone who was pious and respected, although given the humor of that time, it could possibly be the opposite.

Goodman (my mother’s paternal line)
English—First, this surname might be a status name to describe the head of a household. As such, it derives from the Old English word god, meaning good, and -man, indicating head of. In Scotland, the name described a landowner. Finally, it might be of pre-7th Century Anglo-Saxon origin. If so, it is derived from the personal name Guethmund, which is composed of the elements gueth, meaning battle, and mund, meaning protection.

manuscript-letter-g-illuminated-ancient-ornate-irish-manuscripts__04320-1446307946-500-750Goodspeed (my brother-in-law’s family)
English—This surname derives from the Medieval English phrase God spede, meaning may god prosper [you]—a wish for success said to one setting out on an excursion or enterprise.

Gordon/Gordun (my mother’s paternal line and my brother-in-law’s family)
Scottish—This surname is of locational origin. It is Scottish from Gordon in Berwickshire and is derived from the Old Gaelic word gor, meaning large or spacious, plus the word dun, meaning fort.

Gorham (my mother’s paternal line)
English—This is a very old locational surname might have originated from the lost village of Gorehambury, near the town of St. Albans in Hertfordshire. The derivation is from the pre-7th Century Old English word gor, meaning muddy, and ham, meaning farm or homestead.

ornate-letter-gGraf/Groff (my father’s paternal line)
German—This Middle High German surname comes from the word grave or grabe, a title for aristocratic dignitaries and officials. In later times, it became established as a title of nobility equivalent to count. It also denoted minor local functionaries in different parts of Germany. Third, it might be an occupational name for a servant or retainer of a count,. Finally, it could be a nickname for someone who puts on airs.

Gowdy (my mother’s paternal line)
Scottish—This surname is one of the variant forms of the surname Goldie and reflects the phonetic spelling of the popular pronunciation of that name. Goldie is itself a diminutive form of the surname Gold, which is derived from the Old English pre-7th Century personal name Gold(a) or Golde, from gold, the metal.

Graham (my mother’s paternal line)
Scottish—Although now widely associated with Scotland, this distinguished surname is of Anglo-Saxon origins. It was a locational name originally from the town of Grantham in Lincolnshire and as such recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as both Graham and Grandham. The translation might be the combination of the word ham, meaning homestead, and the Old English pre-7th Century word grand, meaning gravel.

87daa65575e21cf494e0604873abb900Graves (my brother-in-law’s family)
English—This is an occupational name for a steward, from the Middle English word greyve, itself derived from the Old Norse word greifi and the Low German word greve.

Gray/Grey (my mother’s paternal line—four different branches—and my mother’s maternal line)
English—This ancient name has two possible origins, the first of which is an Anglo-Saxon nickname for someone with grey hair or a grey beard, derived from the Old English pre-7th Century word graeg, meaning grey. The second origin is locational from a place called Graye in Calvados, Normandy, derived from the Old Gallo-Roman word gratus, meaning welcome or pleasing.

Grimes (my spouse’s stepfather’s family)
English—This surname has Norse-Viking pre-7th Century origins and is probably from the personal name Grimr, which appears in the Old Danish and Old Swedish name, Grim. It was very popular in those areas of England influenced by Scandinavian settlements. The Norse word was equivalent to the Old English word grima, meaning mask, It was one of the names given to the god Woden. As such, it might mean masked person or shape-changer, and the name was given to boys to encourage the god’s protection.

fancy_letter_g_postcard-r53440ba3f47e4157876960e44059a6fb_vgbaq_8byvr_324-1Günthardt (my father’s paternal line)
Swiss—This surname was found in the canton of Zürich prior to the 1800s. It might be derived from the German word gund, meaning battle, and hardt, a topographic name for someone who lived by woods or pasture, or from the Middle High German words hart or hard, meaning hardy/brave/strong.

Guiscard (my mother’s paternal line)
English—This surname is a variation of the Norman French name Wischard, formed of the Old Norse elements viskr, meaning wise, and hórðr, meaning brave or hardy.

Gullett (my brother-in-law’s family)
English— It is thought that this surname might have also been originally spelled as Gullick. The Gullick surname originated from the pre-7th Century compound personal name Gotlac—derived from the word god, meaning good, and the suffix -lac, meaning mean play or sport (or possibly lake).

Well, that’s it for the G surnames… Next up are the H surnames.


For more information on the origins of many surnames, check out Almwch Data, Behind the Name, Irish Origenes, Surname Database, Surname Meanings and Origins, Surname Web, and Wiktionary.

#etymology     #familytree     #surnames

Categories: Caimi-Culatina Line, Cole-Marriner Line, Extended Families, Harwick-Bush Line, Surnames from A to Z, Taylor-Thomas Line, Watts-Stark Line, Williams-Stott Line | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

ABCs & Our Family Trees: Letter F

f1

I have always been fascinated by language, specifically where it originates and how it adapts, mutates, and relates to other languages. That is why I found the recent series of blogs by Andrew’s Kindred so intriguing. It combined my love of etymology with my love of genealogy.  I was so inspired, in fact, that I decided to try my hand at chronicling the origins of our families’ surnames.


This is the sixth installment of a series of posts documenting the etymology of many of our families’ surnames (recent and distant, direct and indirect.)

Now that the E names have been discussed, next up is the letter F:

Fairchild (my brother-in-law’s maternal family)
EnglishThis surname was also one of the very first of all known surnames to be created, and recordings are known to exist which show that the name was in use at least 1,000 years ago. It derives from the pre-7th century Old English phrase faere cild and does actually mean what it says, beautiful child.

Faller (my father’s maternal line)
GermanThis is either a habitational name for someone from Ober- or Unter- Fall near Triberg in the Black Forest or a topographical name for someone living by a waterfall or the site of a landslide. It is derived from the Middle High German word val, meaning fall, waterfall, or landslide.

Felix (my father’s maternal line)
French/German—Although my family is of German/French origin, this surname is also Spanish, Portuguese, English, and Ashkenazic. Derived from a medieval personal name from the Latin word, felix, genitive felicis, meaning lucky or fortunate.

Ferguson (my father’s paternal line)
ScottishThis surname is of Old Gaelic origin. It is a patronymic form of Fergus, from an Old Gaelic personal name Fearghus, composed of the elements fear, meaning man, and gus, meaning vigor or force, with the patronymic ending son.

Fetterhaff (my stepfather’s maternal family)
GermanThe word fette is derived from the Middle Low German word vet and Old Saxon word fētid, meaning fat. The word haff is derived from the German Low German and Middle Low German word haf, meaning a bay or lagoon behind a spit.

Fischbach (my spouse’s father’s maternal line)
German—This is a either a habitational surname from a place named Fischbach or a topographic name for someone living by a fish stream. derived from the Middle High German words fisch (fish) and bach (stream).

Fischer (my mother’s paternal line)
German—This is an occupational surname for a fisherman, derived from the German word fisch, plus the agent suffix -er.

Fitch (my brother-in-law’s maternal family)
English—This is a metonymic occupational name for a workman who used an iron pointed implement. It derives from the Old French word fiche, meaning an iron point, which itself comes from the word ficher, meaning to fix or to plant; hence, fitch is an iron pointed implement.

Fleischmann/Fleishmann/Fleshman (my spouse’s father’s maternal line)
German—This possibly is an occupational surname for a butcher, derived from the Middle High German word fleisch, meaning meat or flesh, and from the German word mann, meaning man.

Fleming (my mother’s paternal line, two branches)
Scottish—An English ethnic surname for someone from Flanders. In the Middle Ages, there was considerable commerce between England and the Netherlands, particularly in the wool trade, and many Flemish weavers and dyers settled in the British Isles. The word reflects a Norman French form of Old French word flamenc, from the stem flam-, plus the Germanic suffix -ing. The surname is also common in south and east Scotland and in Ireland.

Fogle (my mother’s paternal line)
German—Recorded originally in Germany as Vogil and Fogel, and in England as Fugel and Foul, this interesting surname is of both Anglo-Saxon and Old English pre-7th Century origins. It derives from the word fugol, meaning bird, and in ancient times this was a personal name of endearment. In medieval times, the word as fugel was also used as a nickname for someone who was in some way believed either to physically resemble a bird or to have the characteristics associated with one.

Fontaine (my mother’s paternal line)
French—This is a topographic surname for someone who lived near a spring or well, Old French word fontane, Late Latin word fontana, and a derivative of classical Latin word fons.

Forman (my brother-in-law’s maternal family)
English—An occupational surname for a keeper of swine, from the Middle English word foreman, derived from the Old English word for, meaning hog or pig, and mann, meaning man. This could also be a status name for a leader or spokesman for a group, from the Old English word fore, meaning before or in front and mann, meaning man.

Forney (my stepfather’s maternal family)
England—Of German origin (also found in Alsace and French Switzerland), this surname is perhaps a variant of Farner or Fahrni. The surname is also found in England and could be a habitational name from a lost or unidentified place.

Forrer/Furry (my father’s paternal line)
Swiss—
This is a topographic name from the regional term furre, meaning cleft in the ground.

Forster (my spouse’s mother’s paternal line)
English—This is either an occupational and topographic name for someone who lived or worked in a forest; a Norman French nickname or occupational surname from the Old French word forcetier, meaning cutter—an agent noun from the word forcettes, meaning scissors; or an English occupational name, by metathesis, from the Old French word fust(r)ier, meaning blockmaker—a derivative of the word fustre, meaning block of wood.

Foster (my mother’s maternal line)
English—This medieval surname has at least four possible origins. The first is an occupational name for a saddle tree maker, a very important occupation 700 or more years ago. The derivation is from the Old French word fustier, itself originating from the word fustre, meaning a block of wood. Secondly, the name may describe a maker or user of a forcetier, steel shears widely used in both agriculture and textile production. A third possibility is that Foster is a contracted or dialectal spelling of Forester, a term which described a civil officer in charge of a forest. The last possible origin is a the derivation from a shortened spelling of the Old English pre-7th Century compound cild-fostre, an occupational nickname for a foster parent or possibly a foster child.

Foulke/Fowlk (my spouse’s mother’s maternal line and my spouse’s mother’s paternal line)
Welsh/English—This surname is of Norman origin and is derived from the German word folk, meaning people.

Fourbour (my mother’s paternal line)
French—This surname has its origins in the Old French word fo(u)rbisseor from fourbir, meaning to burnish or furbish and is an occupational surname for someone who worked as a polisher of metal. In particular. this would apply to someone employed by an armorer to put the finishing touches to his armor by rubbing it until it was bright.

Foust (my spouse’s stepmother’s paternal family)
German—An alternate spelling of the Faust surname, it is derived from Middle High German word fust, meaning fist—presumably a nickname for a strong or pugnacious person or for someone with a club hand. This surname is also derived from the Latin word faustus, meaning fortunate or lucky.

Francis (my mother’s paternal line)
English—This is a name of Roman-Latin origins. It derives from Franciscus, originally both an ethnic name used to describe a Fran”, later to be known as a Frenchman, and a personal name from the 5th Century meaning free man. This name was associated with the Knight Templars of the 12th Century.

Fraser (my mother’s paternal line)
Scottish—The earliest recorded spelling forms include de Fresel, de Friselle and de Freseliere, indicating a possible French locational origin; however, there is no place in France answering to that spelling. A more likely explanation is that the name is derived from the French word fraise, meaning strawberry. Early lands of the clan included an area at Neidpath where strawberries grew prolifically. The clan was know as the strawberry bearers, from their heraldic coat of arms which included strawberry blossoms.

Frey (my spouse’s stepmother’s paternal family and my father’s paternal line, two branches)
German—This is a status name for a free man, as opposed to a bondsman or serf, in the feudal system, derived from Middle High German word vri, meaning free or independent.

Fulgham (my mother’s paternal line)
English—The ancient history of the name Fulgham began soon after 1066 when the Norman Conquest of England occurred. It was a name given to a person who had a limp or a malformed leg, derived from the Old French word fol, meaning foolish, and jambe, meaning leg.

Well, that’s it for the F surnames… Stay tuned for the G surnames.


For more information on the origins of many surnames, check out Almwch Data, Behind the Name, Irish Origenes, Surname Database, Surname Meanings and Origins, Surname Web, and Wiktionary.

#etymology     #familytree     #surnames

Categories: Cole-Marriner Line, Extended Families, Harwick-Bush Line, Noel-Ardinger Line, Spangler-Kenney Line, Surnames from A to Z, Taylor-Thomas Line, Watts-Stark Line, Williams-Stott Line | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

ABCs & Our Family Trees: The Letter E

Eyebright Fairy

I have always been fascinated by language, specifically where it originates and how it adapts, mutates, and relates to other languages. That is why I found the recent series of blogs by Andrew’s Kindred so intriguing. It combined my love of etymology with my love of genealogy.  I was so inspired, in fact, that I decided to try my hand at chronicling the origins of our families’ surnames.


This is the fifth installment of a series of posts documenting the etymology of many of our families’ surnames (recent and distant, direct and indirect.)

Now that the D names have been discussed, next up is the letter E:

initiale_medievale_de_cru_de_monogramme_de_la_carte_postale-r69d6d9bf690b4acbacc62ffc1e0893e9_vgbaq_8byvr_324-1Earnest (my spouse’s stepmother’s family)
German—This is the Americanize form of the German surname, Ernst. This is probably a locational surname for the town of Ernst, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. However, medieval evidence for Norman spellings such as Ernais, derives it from a Germanic personal name Arn(e)gis, possibly composed of the elements arn, meaning eagle, an gisil, meaning pledge, hostage or noble youth.

Eckenroth (my father’s maternal line)
German—This surname is derived from Middle Low German words eke, meaning oak (plural eken), and rot, meaning cleared land’. This might have been a topographic name for someone who lived by a piece of land which had been cleared of oaks or perhaps a nickname for some who owned a piece of such land.

Eckert (my spouse’s stepmother’s family)
German—From a personal name composed of the elements agi, meaning edge or point, and hard, meaning hardy, brave, strong.

Eden/Eddins (my brother-in-law’s maternal line)
English—This surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin and is the patronymic (the “s” denoting son of) form of the name Eden, itself derives from the Old English pre 7th Century personal name Eadhun, with the Middle English development edun, and composed of the elements ead, meaning prosperity, and hun, meaning a bear cub. Or, it could refer to the Hebrew word eden, meaning delight.

6488c5dea049627fa7abceb1d16ea19fEgerton (my mother’s maternal line)
English—This surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin and is locational in nature, deriving from either of the places called Egerton in the counties of Cheshire and Kent. Egerton comes from the Old English pre-7th Century personal names Ecghere or Ecgheard, with the suffix -tun, meaning an enclosure or settlement.

Eller (my brother-in-law’s maternal line)
German/English—This surname is both German and Northern English, specifically Yorkshire. It was probably introduced into England, as a word only, by the Anglo-Saxon settlers after the 5th century. Whether it was reintroduced by German engineers responsible for the draining of the Vale of York in the 15th century is open to conjecture. From North Germany, this could be a topographic surname for someone who lived by an alder tree, from Middle Low German word elre or alre, meaning alder. The name also means low-lying ground and is claimed to originate from  the Rhine Valley, specifically from the old river name of Elera. What is fascinating is that the word elera is a Celtic or Old English word that seems to have been imported into Northern Germany, so the possibility remains that nameholders might have originated in England and moved to Germany at some point in ancient history before returning back to England.

ddd349fb30d5359a4d286d63ceabaf1aElliott (my spouse’s mother’s paternal line)
English—This surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, derived from a personal name which traces its origin to two names, Ailiet and Aliet. Deriving ultimately from the Old English pre-7th Century words aeoelgyo and aeoelgeat, these surnames break down to mean noble combat (aoel, meaning noble, and gyo, meaning battle), and noble great (aoel, meaning noble, and gait, meaning goat)—a masculine form of an old tribal name.

Ellis (my spouse’s mother’s maternal line)
Welsh—This surname is the Anglicized version of the surname Elisedd, which was derived from Welsh word elus, meaning kind. This surname has back to the Greek Elias, itself from the Hebrew Eliyahu, meaning Jehovah is God.

ornate_e_24421_lgEmenheiser (my spouse’s mother’s maternal line)
German—This surname is an Americanized spelling of Immenhauser, a habitational name from Immenhausen, a town in the Kassel district of Hesse, Germany.

Erb (my father’s paternal line)
Swiss—This surname is derived from the German word erben, meaning to inherit. This name might have been given to the heir of a big estate or to one who inherited wealth.

051-16th-century-letter-e-q90-2719x2908Espec (my mother’s paternal line)
English—This surname has two district possible origins. In most instances, it is derived from an early medieval English nickname that comes from the Old French word espeche and Middle English word spek(e), meaning woodpecker. The second possible origin is from an Anglo-Saxon locational name, the place called Speke in Lancashire, recorded in the Domesday Book as Spec. This placename is from the Old English pre-7th Century word spaec, meaning twigs or dry brushwood.

Evans  (my mother’s paternal line and my spouse’s maternal mother’s line, two different branches)
Welsh—This surname, of medieval Welsh origin, is a patronymic form of the male given name Ifan or Evan, both of which derive from Iohannes through the colloquial Iovannes, Latin forms of John.

2-3-1_ecap_large_600x580pxEverett (my stepfather’s family)
English—This is a surname originates as both the Old English pre-7th century personal name Eoforheard and the Germanic personal name Eberhard, both composed of the elements eber, translating as wild boar and hard, meaning brave or strong.

Eyre (my mother’s paternal line)
English—This surname is of Old Norse origin and is found chiefly in the northwestern counties of England, reflecting the dense settlement of Scandinavian people in those areas. The surname is locational from places such as Aira Beck or Aira Force near Ullswater in Cumberland, or some other minor or unrecorded place also named with the Old Norse term eyrara, meaning gravel-bank stream or river. The surname may also be topographical in origin, denoting residence by such a gravel-bank.

That’s it for the Es! Stay tuned for the F surnames in our families…


For more information on the origins of many surnames, check out Almwch Data, Behind the Name, Irish Origenes, Surname Database, Surname Meanings and Origins, Surname Web, and Wiktionary.

#etymology     #familytree     #surnames

Categories: Cole-Marriner Line, Extended Families, Harwick-Bush Line, Noel-Ardinger Line, Surnames from A to Z, Taylor-Thomas Line, Watts-Stark Line, Williams-Stott Line | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

ABCs & Our Family Trees: The Letter D

d

I have always been fascinated by language, specifically where it originates and how it adapts, mutates, and relates to other languages. That is why I found the recent series of blogs by Andrew’s Kindred so intriguing. It combined my love of etymology with my love of genealogy.  I was so inspired, in fact, that I decided to try my hand at chronicling the origins of our families’ surnames.

This is the fourth installment of a series of posts documenting the etymology of many of our families’ surnames (recent and distant, direct and indirect.)


Now that the C names have been discussed, next up is the letter D:

Daggett (my mother’s paternal line)
English—This surname is generally accepted as deriving from the Old French word dague, meaning knife or dagger. The name is a medieval metonymic for one who habitually carried a dagger or who was a manufacturer of such weapons. However, the name was originally prominent in Yorkshire, where it has been suggested that it may derive not from French but from the Norse-Viking word dag, meaning day.

0a1a1a_7911c6a997b14975b47df53472e609f9Daley (my mother’s paternal line)
Irish—This surname of Medieval Irish origin is one of the variant forms of (O) Daly, itself an Anglicized form of the Old Gaelic name O Dalaigh. The Gaelic prefix ‘O’ indicates male descendant of, plus the personal nickname dalach from dail, an assembly or meeting place as in Dail Eireann.

Damourvell (my mother’s paternal line)
French—This is one of those surnames whose origins are unknown. However, I can make some educated suppositions on what the meaning/origin of this name might be. Let’s start by dividing this surname into two words. The first part of the surname is damour. In French, d’amour means of love. The second part of the surname is vell. In English, the word vell has two definitions. The first is to cut the turf from, as for burning. The second is a salted calf’s stomach, used in cheese making. Or, perhaps the vell was originally spelt ville, the French word for village, town, or city.

026-eleventh-century-02-d-q90-1534x1356Davies/Davis (my mother’s paternal line and my spouse’s mother’s paternal line)
English/Welsh—Both Davis and Davies are English patronymic surnames, often associated with Wales. These surnames mean the son of David, from the Hebrew male given name translated as beloved.

Dawson (my mother’s paternal line)
English—This surname is a patronymic form of the medieval male given name Daw. Daw is a nickname form of David, adopted from the Hebrew male given name Dodavehu, meaning beloved of Jehovah.

letter-dDebnam/Dedman (my mother’s paternal line)
English—Recorded in several spelling forms including Debnam and Dedman, this is a locational surname deriving from the village of Debenham in the county of Suffolk. This village’s name comes from an Old English pre-7th century river name, deriving from deopa, meaning deep, and ham, meaning farm or homestead.

Dekker/Decker (my spouse’s mother’s maternal line)
Dutch—This is an occupational surname for a roofer—a thatcher, slater, shingler, or tiler), from the Middle Dutch word deck(e)re, an agent derivative of decken, meaning to cover.

letter-d_1544033Delatush/Dilatush (my mother’s maternal line)
French—These are the Americanized versions of De La Touche, a locational surname for someone from the village of La Touche in the Drôme department in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region of France. La Touche is derived from the Middle French words toucher or touchier and the Old French words tochier, touchier, or tucher, all meaning to touch.

Dent (my spouse’s father’s maternal line)
English—This surname is most likely being a locational surname from either of the places called Dent in West Yorkshire and Cumberland. The placenames derive from the Old Irish word dinn or dind, meaning a hill, and the Old Norse word tindr, meaning point or crag. The second possible origin is a medieval nickname for someone with prominent teeth, derived from the Old French word dent, meaning tooth.

manuscript-letter-d-illuminated-ancient-ornate-irish-manuscripts__54677-1446307942-500-750Desbles (my brother-in-law’s paternal line)
French—In French, des blés means wheat, so one would assume that this surname is an occupational one for a person who grows, harvests, and/or mills wheat.

Desmarais (my brother-in-law’s paternal line)
French—A habitational surname for someone from any of various places named with the Old French word mareis or maresc, meaning marsh—for example Les Marets in Seine-et-Marne, Centre, Nord, and Picardy.

Dieb (my spouse’s father’s maternal line)
German—Hopefully, this surname is not occupational in nature, as dieb is the German word for thief!

0127-historiatedalphabet-letter-d-q75-814x750Digel (my spouse’s mother’s maternal line)
German—This surname comes from the Old High German word tigel, a cognate of tiegel, meaning crucible.

Dill (my father’s paternal line)
Swiss—A metonymic occupational name for a sawyer (a person who saws timber for a living) derived from the Middle High German word dill(e), meaning (floor)board.

Dinkel (my spouse’s father’s maternal line)
German—A metonymic occupational name for a grain farmer, from the Middle High German word dinkel, meaning spelt or wheat.

ornate_d_24371_lgDircks (my spouse’s mother’s maternal line)
Dutch—A variant spelling of the Diercks surname, which is derived from the nickname Dirk, a reduced form of the personal name Diederik.

Dodson (my mother’s paternal line)
English—This surname is a variant of the Middle English given name Dodde or Dudde from the Old English pre-7th Century personal byname Dodda or Dudda. It was derive from a Germanic root dudd or dodd, meaning something rounded; it was used to denote a short, rotund man or possibly a bald one, from the word dod, meaning to make bare, cut off.

zentangle-letter-d-monogram-in-black-and-white-nan-wrightDouglas (my mother’s paternal line)
Scottish—This surname is of territorial origin from the lands of Douglas, south of Glasgow, in Lanarkshire, situated on the Douglas Water. These waters were so named from the Old Gaelic words dubh, meaning dark or black, and glas, meaning a rivulet or stream.

Douwes (my spouse’s mother’s maternal line)
Dutch—This surname might be the singular present subjunctive of douwen, derived from Middle Dutch word duwen or douwen and from Old Dutch word thuwen, meaning to push.

letterDowning (my mother’s paternal line)
English—This name of Anglo-Saxon origin is from a nickname for a man with particularly dark hair or a swarthy complexion, meaning the son of Dunn. The derivation is from the Old English pre-7th century word dunn, meaning dark-colored.

Drummond (my mother’s paternal line)
Scottish—This surname is of territorial origin from any of the various places, including Drymen near Stirling that get their names from the Gaelic word dromainn, a derivative of druim, meaning a ridge.

Duff (my brother-in-law’s paternal line)
Scottish—This surname is the Anglicized form of the Gaelic word dubh, meaning dark or black. This word was frequently used as a personal name, by itself or as a shortened form of a longer double-stemmed name, and as a nickname for a swarthy man or someone of a dark temperament.

william-morris-letter-d-by-kuba-witpj5-clipartDunn (my mother’s maternal line)
English/Irish/Scottish—This name of Anglo-Saxon origin is from a nickname for a man with particularly dark hair or a swarthy complexion, from the Old English pre-7th century word dunn, meaning dark-colored.

Durant (my mother’s paternal line)
English—This surname is of Norman origin, derived from the Old French word durant,  meaning enduring, from the word durer, meaning to endure or last. This French word itself comes from the Latin word durus, meaning hard, firm.

Dürr (my spouse’s father’s maternal line, two branches—probably sisters)
German—This surname originated as a nickname from Middle High German word dürre, meaning thin, gaunt, dry.

Dutton (my mother’s maternal line)
English—This is a locational name from places in Cheshire or Lancashire. They share the same meaning, which is Dudda’s village or settlement, derived from the Old English pre-7th Century personal name Dudd(a) with tun, an enclosure, settlement, village, town.

All done with the Ds! Stay tuned for the E surnames in our families…


For more information on the origins of many surnames, check out Almwch Data, Behind the Name, Irish Origenes, Surname Database, Surname Meanings and Origins, Surname Web, and Wiktionary.

#etymology     #familytree     #surnames

Categories: Cole-Marriner Line, Extended Families, Harwick-Bush Line, Spangler-Kenney Line, Surnames from A to Z, Taylor-Thomas Line, Watts-Stark Line, Williams-Stott Line | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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