Comments on: Guest Blog: What’s in a name? Fitzhenry The official blog Wed, 27 Aug 2014 17:36:33 +0000 hourly 1 By: Jo Fitz-Henry Jo Fitz-Henry Fri, 01 Feb 2013 23:47:47 +0000 Dear Jeuan
Thank you for raising these points.

Surnames did not stay the same in successive generations either in the Norman or Saxon speaking population in a way we would recognise today, until several hundred years after the Norman invasion.

Patronymic surnames (being identified by your father’s name) are one form of surname type. Being identified by the place you came from (locative names), what you did for a living, and bodily characteristics are others.
Before they became fixed as a hereditary family name, a surname might have changed in each generation of a family. The surname that a present day Fitzhenry has may been different if the surname had “fixed” to a father’s name a generation before or after. The comparison of Fitzhenry and Harrison was to show the similar derivation of the names in both languages used in England at the time.

I hope I didn’t give offence when I used the term “native Welsh” to differentiate the indigenous people of Wales, and their language and naming systems from the later Norman and Plantagenet invaders of Wales.
The Saxons, although they had been present in what is now England for several centuries before the Norman invasion, were not native to England.

I received the information about the Parry surname and its similar derivation to Fitzhenry/Harrison from the person conducting the Parry One Name Study. As you have shown in your own family, the patronymic system of giving children surnames derived from their father’s forename (rather than a hereditary family name) continued in parts of Wales far longer than it did in England.

By: Jeuan David Jones Jeuan David Jones Thu, 31 Jan 2013 19:59:33 +0000 I’m bemused by some of the points made in the second paragraph. Patronymics (son of) is the conventional system of naming until the adoption of fixed surnames. The gist of this assumes the universal adoption of fixed surnames in the ‘Saxon-speaking population before the emergence of Middle-English ca 1350-1400; what is the evidence for this?
Also, I find the term ‘native Welsh’ rather curious; were there no ‘native Saxons’?
Moving on, Ap or Ab is integral to the Welsh partonymic system meaning ‘son of’. Following the 16th Century Acts of Union, the system becomes heavily influenced by English forms and practice. Parry is a contraction of Ap Hari; Pugh – Ap Huw. Partonymics (though with heavily anglicised names) lasted well into the 19th century in some parts of Wales: my 4xgt grandfather was William Rowlands whose eldest son, also born in Anglesey, was Rowland Williams. Shortly after his birth, the family moved to the burgeoning industrial area in the NE Wales coalfields, where subsequent children (his siblings) were all given the surname Rowlands.