Evans Surname Meaning, History & Origin

Select Evans Meaning
The surname Evans is a patronymic (son of) name from Ieuan
or Evan, the Welsh form of John. There were several early
references to
Iuean in Welsh history, starting with St. Ieuan in the 6th
century.
The Welsh construction ap Evan has yielded the surname Bevan.

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Evans Resources on
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Select Evans Ancestry

Wales. Evans as a surname dated from the early
1500’s. The first reference was to a John Yevans in the 1533
Monmouth
records. Its early adoption, in place of
the old Welsh patronymic forms, often occurred with those who had
English
contact.

Evan yr Halen (Evan the salt) was a 16th century salt merchant and one
of the richest men in Glamorgan at the time.
His grandson David Evans was High Sheriff of Glamorgan in 1563. Thomas Evans built his home at the Gnoll estate
in
the Neath valley in 1666. Related Evans
became coalmine owners at nearby Eaglebush in the 19th century.

The Evans name has
appeared mainly in south Wales. Other
early
examples were:

  • Richard ap Humphrey of Llanaelhaearn, also known as Richard
    Evans, who
    was High Sheriff of Caernarvonshire in 1625. Later
    Evans of this family were recorded at Henblas in
    Anglesey.
  • Euan ap Gruffydd
    of Penywenallt in Cardiganshire, also known as Evan Griffith Evans, who
    was a
    Royalist officer during the Civil War and spent some time in Cardigan
    prison. A descendant was the 18th century
    cleric and
    historian Theophilus Evans.
  • the Evans at Acheth in Carmarthenshire who date
    from about 1630. This family built their
    Highmead estate in 1777 and became
    the
    Davies-Evans.
  • and an Evans family that was active in Noncormist Baptist
    circles in Breconshire from the 1650’s. Later Evans were based in
    Bristol, including Dr. Caleb Evans who championed the American cause
    against John Wesley in the 1770’s.

Evans were farmers around
Llanddeusant on the Black Mountain in Carmarthenshire from the early
1700’s to
the late 1900’s. The first of this
family was Rees
Evan
, born in 1691 and a yeoman farmer.
The surname had become Evans with the birth
of Evan Evans a hundred years later.

David Evans, the son of Evan David, was
born in Llantrisant, Glamorgan in 1757.
His descendants for many generations were farmers and local
brewers. Later Evans became silk merchants
in London and Sir David Evans made it to be Lord Mayor of London in
1891.


England
.
By the 19th century, Evans remained very much a Welsh surname.
However,
there had been some spillover into English counties, in particular into
Shropshire,
Staffordshire and Lancashire.
An early example was John
Evans
, born in Wales and a Shrewsbury
alderman,
bailiff and MP in the 1540’s and 1550’s.

Thomas Evans of Darley in Derbyshire was a
prominent early industrialist. His son Walter built a cotton mill
in the
village in 1783 and the family – who were to own Alliestree Hall –
became local
gentry and MP’s.

Ireland.
Evans came to Ireland in the 17th century. Most
were to be found in Ulster. Colonel George
Evans from Carmarthenshire
arrived in county Cork at this time.
Thomas Evans came into possession of Milltown Castle there in
the early
1700’s. His son Eyre married a Limerick
heiress and moved to that county. Eyre’s
eldest son Eyre invested in a local Limerick bank which failed in 1820
.


America.
Welsh immigrants, many of them
Quakers, headed for Pennsylvania where there was religious
toleration.
The four
Evans sons
of Evan Robert Lewis from Merionethshire were Quakers
who founded in 1698 the Welsh tract near Philadelphia which they called
Gwynedd
.

Evans at Gwynedd included:

  • Evan Evans who proselyted for
    the Anglican church there. Oliver Evans,
    his grandson, was an American inventor and industrialist in
    Philadelphia.
    In the early 1800’s he pioneered an automated grist mill for flour and
    a
    prototype for a steam engine.
  • and Owen Evans, born there in 1699. His
    descendants later moved to South Carolina
    and then to the Quaker community of Waynesville, Ohio.
    From there came Jason Evans, a Cincinnati
    pork packer and banker, and John Evans, Governor of Colorado territory
    in
    1862.

Canada.
James Evans was a seafarer from Hull in
Yorkshire who decided to emigrate to Canada with his family in 1821. They settled in Grenville, Ontario. His son James became a Methodist minister,
working with the Hudson Bay Company at their remote Norway House north
of Lake
Winnipeg in Manitoba. In this work he
learnt the local Indian languages and was able to put them into print.

Another Evans family was also of English
extraction, but originating from Ireland.
Francis Evans from Westmeath came to Ireland around 1830 and was
a
Protestant minister in southern Ontario, near Simcoe.
His son Thomas followed his father’s
vocation, but in the small village of Tadoussac along the St. Lawrence
river in
Quebec.


Argentina
. There
was an
Evans family among the first Welsh
colonists to
Patagonia on the Mimosa in 1865. Daniel
Evans
, aged three at the time of
the voyage, helped establish a new Welsh colony at the
foot of
the
Andes in 1891 and lived on there until 1943
.

 

Select
Evans Miscellany
.

John Evans of Shrewsbury.  John Evans held offices as alderman, bailiff and MP for the
town Shrewsbury in the 1540’s and 1550’s.

As to his origins, it appears likely that he was the son or nephew of one John Jevon, a shoemaker
from Montgomeryshire, who was admitted as a freeman of Shrewsbury in
1505.  The condition that he should take up
residence in the town before Michaelmas suggests that he would have
been a
recent arrival.  The name Jevons used
here was a variant of the Welsh Ieuans which normally anglicized as
Evans.

In his will of 1565 Evans asked to be buried
in his parish church of St. Julian, Shrewsbury.
He mentioned his wife, his two daughters Catherine and Mary, and
his son
Richard.   The last two were to share
half of his household goods, plate and silver, with Mary also receiving
her
father’s best chain of gold and Richard the second best.

The Evans Family and the Gnoll Estate.  The
Evans relationship with the Gnoll estate began
in the 16th century when David Evans, grandson of Evan the Salt, leased
the
property from the Earl of Pembroke.
Thomas Evans acquired the estate in 1658 from his nephew Sir
Herbert
Evans on condition that he build a new mansion there.
Gnoll House, completed in 1666, was an
imposing edifice that stood on a terrace cut into the side of a hill
overlooking
the town of Neath.

Thomas
Evans was the
last male of his family.  In 1686 his
daughter Mary married Sir Humphrey Mackworth, a pioneer of the copper
industry
in south Wales, and the estate passed into Mackworth hands.

The
mansion survived until the 20th
century.  However, sadly neglected, it
became dangerous and was demolished in 1957.

The Will of Rees Evan in Carmarthen, 1722.  Rees Evan was the forebear of the Evans who farmed
the northern slopes of the Black Mountain around Llanddeusant in
Carmarthenshire
for more than 300 years.  He died in 1722
and his will ran as follows:

“In
the name of God Amen, this the third day of
November in the year of our Lord God 1722,  I
Rees Evan of the parish of Llanddeusant in the
county of Carmarthen, yeoman, being sick and weak of body but of a good
and
perfect memory, praise be to God for the same, and, knowing the
uncertainty of
this transitional life on earth, being desirous to settle things in
order to
make, publish and declare my last will and testament in the manner and
form
following.  First
and sincerely I commend
my soul into the hands of Almighty God my Creator who gave it me,
hoping
through the merits of my Savior Jesus Christ to have full pardon and
remission
of all my sins, and my body to the earth to be buried in a Christian
burial as
to the direction of my executors herein after named shall be thought
fit and
convenient.   As
touching such worldly
estate as the Lord in mercy hath lent me, my will and meaning is to
give and
dispose of the same in manner and form following:

  • I give and bequeath four pence towards the
    reparation of the Cathedral Church of St. David’s.
  • I give and bequeath unto my daughter Elinor
    Rees the sum of five pounds of good and British money to be paid her
    when she
    comes of the age of eighteen years by my executors hereinafter named.
  • I give and bequeath to my daughter Ann the
    sum of five pounds of good and British money to be paid her when she
    comes to the
    age of eighteen years by my executors hereinafter named.
  • I give and bequeath all the rest and residue
    of my goods and chattels and personal estate whatsoever unto my well
    beloved
    wife Janet Evan and my son Evan Rees who I do nominate and appoint to
    be my
    only sole executors of this my last will and testament.

In witness whereof I have hereunto put my
hand and seal the day and years above written.”

The Evans of Gwynedd, Pennsylvania.  Four brothers – Thomas, Robert, Owen, and Cadwalader
(the sons of Evan Robert Lewis) – assumed the Evans name and came to
America
from their Fron Goch home near Bala in north Wales.
They were Quakers seeking the religious
toleration that was available under William Penn.

Thomas
arrived first in 1697
ahead of the others in their Welsh party and purchased the land which
was to
become the Welsh settlement of Gwynedd township in Pennsylvania.  It was at his log home that William Penn
stayed when he visited.  Robert, a Quaker
preacher, was there by 1698.  Some of the
stone house that he built on Penn Oak Road still stands.
Cadwalader was also a Quaker minister at Gwynedd,
as was his son John.

Other
early
settlers in Gwynedd came from the same area of Wales and were probably
related.  William John, for instance, who
acquired the land initially with Thomas Evans, is believed to have been
his
first cousin.

These
Evans and related
immigrants left a large number of descendants in the area.
One line is said to have gone to Abraham
Lincoln’s wife Nancy Hanks.

Evans and the Battle Hymn of the Republic.  In
the 19th century, the Battle Hymn of the Republic was
adapted to fit prominent American surnames
of the time, including Evans.  The Evans
version had two stanzas of specific references.
They ran as follows:

“David,
Thomas, Evan, John were fathers of our
clan;
Posterity of Oliver and Richard
never ran;
Henry was quite virile, Caleb was a sturdy
man.
The clan goes marching on!

‘Bob”
Evans was the admiral who was with courage blessed;
In
covered wagons, Caleb led his comrades to the west;
The
Evans all are loyal and they will do their best.
The
clan goes marching on!”

David,
Thomas, Evan, and John were all
Welshmen who came to Pennsylvania around 1700 or slightly later. Thomas was the founder of the Welsh community
at Gwynedd.  Evan was an Anglican
minister who arrived there shortly afterwards.
David was another immigrant.  John
was a colonial governor of Pennsylvania who later returned to Wales.

Oliver,
born Delaware in 1755, invented the
elevator and the conveyor.  Richard
emigrated from Wales in the 1720’s and settled near Hagerstown,
Maryland.  Caleb was a Baptist preacher who
championed
the American cause of independence from England; while Henry, if this
was the
Henry, was a black Methodist preacher practicing in North Carolina in
the
1790’s.

Admiral
Robert D. Evans of the
US Navy was known as “Fighting Bob.”
Caleb left Pennsylvania for new lands in Ohio on a covered wagon
in the
1790’s. 

John Evans and the Welsh Myth of America.  In the late 1700’s there was an upsurge of interest in
Wales in the story of The Welsh prince Madog who, according to
folklore, had
sailed to America in the 12th century.  There
were also rumors of there being a tribe of Welsh-speaking Indians in
America.

The stories excited John Evans at his home in
Carnarvon and, at the age of 22, he set off in 1792 for America by
himself to
discover whether these rumors were true.
He ended up in Spanish Louisiana and got Spanish backing for an
exploration of the Missouri.  He
travelled 1,800 miles up the Missouri river but found no trace of Welsh
Indians.  He went as far as what is now
North Dakota before returning in 1797 to St. Louis.
Two years later he was dead.

His map, however, proved especially useful to
later explorers such as Lewis and Clark.

Daniel Evans in Patagonia.  The Evans family, like a number of other Welsh pioneer families who came to Patagonia in 1865 on the Mimosa,
was from Mountain Ash in the Rhondda valley in Glamorgan.

Daniel Evans was just
three at the time of this voyage.  He
grew up in the new land to become one of the
finest
horsemen in the country.
He was a daring adventurer and an able leader, so much so that he was known as the
Baceano.

He went out
several times to explore the Pampas, the most celebrated occasion being in 1883 when
his party
was attacked by Indians
in the Kel-Kein valley.
His three companions were
killed before
he himself miraculously escaped on his Malacara
pony.  He
also led a party
to the Andes
in 1885 and
helped found the Welsh community of Cwm
Hyfryd there.  He
was one of its first settlers in 1891.  He spent
the remainder of his life at Cwm Hyfryd and died there in 1943 at
the age of eighty three.

His story was
recounted in John Evans’ 1997 booklet Daniel
Evans in Patagonia
.

 

Select
Evans Names

  • Theophilus Evans was the first historian of the Welsh, with his book Mirror The First Age written in
    Welsh in 1716.
  • John Evans was the Welsh explorer who produced an early map of the Missouri river.
  • Mary Ann Evans was the Victorian author of novels such as The Mill on the Floss, who wrote under the name of George Eliot.
  • Godfrey Evans played for the
    English cricket team as wicketkeeper during the 1940’s and 1950’s.
  • Bill Evans was one of the most influential jazz pianists of the 20th century.
  • Harold Evans was a well-known British journalist and newspaper editor.


Select Evans Numbers Today

  • 232,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in Swansea)
  • 128,000 in America (most numerous in Texas)
  • 94,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada)

Evans is the #7 ranked surname in the UK.

 

Select Evans and Like Surnames  

Hereditary surnames in Wales were a post-16th century development.   Prior to that time the prototype for the Welsh name was the patronymic, such as “Madog ap Jevan ap Jerwerth” (Madoc, son of Evan, son of Yorwerth).  The system worked well in what was still mainly an oral culture.

However, English rule decreed English-style surnames and the English patronymic “-s” for “son of” began first in the English border counties and then in Wales. Welsh “P” surnames came from the “ap” roots, such as Price from “ap Rhys.”

These are some of the present-day Welsh surnames that you can check out.

BowenHopkinsMaddoxPritchard
DaviesHowellMeredithRees
EdwardsJenkinsOwenRowland
EvansJonesPowellVaughan
GriffithsLloydPriceWatkins

 


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