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WELSH NAMES: Beyond Gwyneth and Griffin

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 Because of its relatively small population, Wales has sent fewer immigrants to the US than Ireland and Scotland have–a mere 100,000 between 1820 and 1976–so that  Welsh names are not as well known here as the other Celts. Which is a shame, because  it’s a lilting, rhythmic language, offering lots of fresh and beguiling choices.

Like the Irish, the Welsh have only rediscovered some of the rich resources of their own language and culture in the past century. Ater the Welsh language was suppressed for hundreds of years, baby namers are now digging back into their native history and myth, traditional literature and legends for inspirational namesakes of ancient heroes, princes and other royalty, for example increasing the popularity of names like the mythological Rhiannon.

Unlike the Irish names, Welsh choices present far fewer pronunciation challenges–their spelling is much closer to phonetic. Also note that the yn ending is usually masculine (even though, for example, Gwyn might sound feminine to us), and the en ending, as in Gwen, is for the most part feminine.

Here, a selection of some rich Welsh possibilities:

GIRLS

ADWYN
AELWEN
AERON/AERONA
ALYS
ANWEN
AURON (AYR-on)
BEDELIA
BETHAN
BRANWEN
BRIALLEN
BRONWEN
BRYN (unisex)
CERYS
DELYTH/DILYS
EIRA (AY-ra)
ELERI (el-AYR-ee)
ELEN/ELIN
ENID
FFION, FFIONA
FFLUR (FLEER)–Welsh word for flower)
GLADYS
GLENYS
GWENDOLEN
GWENNO (a nickname-name for Gwen names)
GWYN/GWYNETH
IOLA (YO-la)
KENDALL (unisex)
LLIO (LHEE-oh)
LOWRI
MAIR
MARGED
MEGAN
MELERI (mel-AYR-ee)
MYFANWY
NERYS
NIA

NESTA
OLWEN
RHIANNON (ree-AHN-un)
RHONWEN
SIAN (SHAN)–Welsh form of Jane
TEGAN
TELERI (the-AYR-ee)
WINIFRED

BOYS

ALUN
ALWYN
ANEIRIN (an-EYE-rin)
ARVEL
BEVAN/BEVIN
BRYN
CADWELLEN
DAFYDD (DAY-veth)
DEWI
DRYSTAN
DYLAN
ELIAN
ELLIS
SMYR
EVAN
GARETH
GRIFFIN
GRIFFITH
GWILYM (GWIL-um)
GWYN
HUW/HEW/HUGH
IAON (ee-oo-an)
IOLO (YOH-lo)
JEVAN
KYNAN
LLEU
LLEWELLYN
LLOYD
MADDOX
MARCH
MORGAN
NYE
PADRIG (PAHD-rig)
PARRY
RHYS
SIAM (SHAM)–Welsh form of James
SIARL (SHARL)–Welsh form of Charles
SIOR (SHOR)–Welsh form of George
SULIEN (SIL-yen)
TALIESIN (tahl-YES-in)
TEILO (TAY-lo)
TUDOR
VAUGHAN

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