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Davies Family History
Davies is a popular surname in Wales and England. It derives from the personal name David and, as a patronymic name, would originally have meant the 'son of David'.
David is translated as both Dewi and Dafydd in Welsh, and is the name of Wales's patron saint, St David.
The oldest use of the name as a surname involved the Welsh form 'ap Dafydd' - son of David. In Wales it developed into a settled, hereditary surname – Davies or Davis – between the 16th and 17th centuries, depending on where in the country the family lived. Higher status families and individuals adopted the fixed form earlier than others. Today, Davies is a more popular spelling in Wales than Davis and is the second most common surname overall in the country.
In some parts of Wales, most notably the south west, David and not Davies was adopted as a settled surname.
The surname was also, historically, very common in the English counties that bordered Wales, including Cheshire, Shropshire and Herefordshire as well as Gloucestershire and Worcestershire and other parts of south west England.
Other variations of the surname, including Davidson and Davison, are not common in Wales, but are evident in parts of England, especially in the north, and large parts of Scotland.
The variations Davy and Davey also derive from the same patronymic origins.
The popularity of the surname in Wales comes from both its Biblical associations as well as its connection with the country's patron saint. In Scotland, its popularity was probably enhanced by the fact that that two Scottish kings bore the name David.
According to the 1990 United States Census survey, 'Davis' was the 6th most frequently reported surname.
- Bette Davis (1908–1989), American and multi-award winning actress.
- Dr John Davies (1938–2015), Welsh historian and television and radio broadcaster, well-known for his many books outlining various aspects of Welsh history.
- Russell T Davies (b. 1963), Welsh screenwriter and producer, famous for his work on the BBC's Doctor Who drama series.
Homes of Family Names in Great Britain (1890) by Henry Brougham Guppy
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