Meredith

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Meredith Surname Genealogy

Meredith, or
Meredudd
in its earliest manifestations, is a very old
Welsh forename.  The closest English translation would be “great
lord.”  Royal princes bore this name in Powys (mid Wales) and in
Deheubarth (south Wales) before the Anglo-Norman invasions.The
name appeared in the Welsh patronymical style as:

  • Madoc ap Maredudd the
    prince of Powys in the 1100’s
  • and as Rhys ap Meredith in
    Lampeter in the late 1200’s.

Owen ap Meredith, from these Welsh lines, succeeded by battle to the
throne of England in 1485.  He elected to use an anglicized form
of his grandfather’s name.  As a result, we have the royal house
of
Tudor rather than the royal house of Meredith.

The transition to English-style surnames did not really occur in Wales
until the mid-16th century.  Maredudd ap Gronwy was born around
1500.  His grandson, born in 1550, was the
bishop Richard Meredith.


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Meredith Ancestry

Wales.  The Meredith
families of Llambister and Llangulo in Breconshire were among the first
to
adopt the English style Meredith.  John Meredith, later knighted,
was the high sheriff of Brecon in 1762.  Among present day Brecon
notables is the Welsh novelist and poet, Christopher
Meredith.

Border Counties.
The Meredith name was soon to be found as well in the Welsh border
counties of Radnorshire and Monmouth (present day Powys and Gwent) and
the abutting English counties of Herefordshire and Shropshire.
Waterden in the county of Shropshire recorded the following Merediths
in the Welsh style in wills during Elizabethan times:

  • Jenkyn ap Meredith in 1560
  • James ap Jennk ap Meredith in 1570
  • and Rees ap John ap Meredith in 1587

Rhiise ap Meredith died in Presteigne, Radnorshire in the 1550’s.
His Meredith descendants established themselves at Stapleton in
Presteigne and later in Kington in Herefordshire.  John Meredith
ran an iron foundry
in Kington in the early 1800’s.  Mary Webb was born
Mary Meredith in the small village of Leighton in Shropshire in
1881.  The novels she wrote strongly evoke the countryside of her
day.

North Wales.
Further north, an old Welsh Meredith family established themselves
in the 1640’s through Amos Meredith at Henbury Hall in Cheshire (near
Macclesfield).  They remained there until Sir
William Meredith sold the house in the 1770’s.

There were also
Meredith lines near Wrexham in north
Wales.  A Meredith family who made their money from local coal
mines was based at Pentrebychan
Hall from the 1620’s; and there were Merediths as well at Allington and
Stansty
nearby.  Billy
Meredith from Chirk
was Wales’s first football star.

England.  A Meredith
family, probably originally from Wales, was first found in Portsmouth
with the baptism of Melchizedek Meredith there in 1763.  His
grandson
was the writer George Meredith.

Ireland.  Merediths were
also in
Ireland
.

Some would have been descended from Bishop Richard
Meredith
and his brother
John who had arrived from Llanafan Fawr in Breconshire.  Both
lived in Dublin and were buried in St. Patrick’s Cathedral there.
These Merediths were later to be found in Dublin and in Templerany in
county Wicklow.  Another Meredith family resided at Rosenallis in
county Laios, starting with Rice Meredith in the late 1600’s.

America.  The first
Merediths arrived in America in the 1700’s.  A number
prospered.
Reese Meredith, a merchant, reached Philadelphia from Radnorshire in
Wales in 1730.  His son
Samuel rose to become the first Treasurer of the United States and
issued the first American banknotes.

Other early Meredith
arrivals
included:

  • Robert Meredith to Maryland in
    the 1670’s from Radnorshire.  A descendant, Davis Meredith, fought
    in the Revolutionary War and settled in West Virginia.
  • David Meredith to Chester county, Pennsylvania in the early
    1700’s from Radnorshire.  He and his wife Sarah settled in the
    Welsh tract granted by William Penn in 1705.
  • Simon Meredith to Philadelphia in 1708 from Radnorshire.
    His son Hugh was for a short term a printing partner with Benjamin
    Franklin.  Hugh later promoted Welsh settlement in the Carolinas.
  • James Meredith to Doylestown, Pennsylvania in the
    1730’s.  His son Hugh was the practicing physician there.
  • Jonathan Meredith and his wife
    Elizabeth to Philadlphia in the 1750’s from Herefordshire.
    Jonathan started a tannery business and prospered.
  • Luff Meredith helped set up the Baptist church at Cow Marsh in
    Delaware in the 1760’s.  Later Merediths from this family moved
    onto Ohio.
  • and three Meredith brothers came
    to America in the
    1760’s, John to Virginia, Charles to North Carolina, and William to
    South Carolina.

Some Merediths found the going harder.  One family
account tells of Merediths from the debtor prisons of Wales being
shipped out to Georgia where they struggled to make a
living; and there was another account of Merediths in the poor house in
Delaware.  In the 1850’s, six Meredith children
were orphaned in Iowa
after their parents died.

Merediths were later to be found in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Texas
principally.  There is a spot in East Texas called the Meredith
Camp Grounds where Eber Meredith and his family were jumped by Indians
in the 1850’s. The Lake Meredith Recreational Area near Amarillo in
Texas is named after AA Meredith, the father of the Canadian river
dam.

Canada.  The Rev. Thomas
Meredith
was born in Wicklow in 1777, but died
in tragic
circumstances
there in 1819.  The family then uprooted themselves to Canada
where his son
William Meredith became Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of
Quebec.

Other Merediths from Templerany started heading for
Canada in the 1830’s, including John Cooke Meredith and his wife Sarah
who settled in London, Ontario.  Their children came to be known
as “the
eight London Merediths”
because of their prowess in law and
finance.

Australia.  Frederick
Meredith from Denham in England arrived in Australia as a seaman
onboard the Scarborough in
the First Fleet in 1789.   He married in Australia four times
– to Mary Allen in Sydney in 1789, to Ann Case on the high seas in
1792, to Mary Kirk one year later in Sydney, and to Sarah Mason in
Sydney in 1811.  Only the marriage to Sarah Mason produced sons.

A later arrival, in 1821, was Charles
Meredith from Pembrokeshire and his wife Louisa Ann.  He was
active in political life in both New South Wales and Tasmania.  A
mountain range in northeast Tasmania commemorates him.

At the
turn of the century, James Meredith moved further afield, to
Samoa.  Here his family run a coconut cream factory.

Select Meredith Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for
further stories and accounts:

Select Meredith
Names


Medoc ap Meredith was the last prince of Powys. 
Bishop Richard Meredith
was a well-respected bishop in Wales
and Ireland during the sixteenth century.

Samuel Meredith was the first
Treasurer of the United States.
George Meredith, born in
Portsmouth, was a noted Victorian novelist.
Billy Meredith, born in
Chirk in north Wales, was possibly football’s first superstar in the
early 1900’s.

Select Merediths Today

  • 12,500 in the UK (most numerous
    in Bridgend)
  • 8,000 in America (most numerous
    in Kentucky).
  • 5,000 elsewhere (most numerous
    in Australia).

 

 

 

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