Ap
I was just wondering what people's opinions are on this:Traditionally there was no such thing as a surname, or family name in Welsh culture. Boys would be named, for example, 'Iolo ap Gwynn' meaning 'Iolo son of Gwynn'. Say Iolo then had two sons called Llyr and Rhys they then would be known as 'Llyr ap Iolo' and 'Rhys ap Iolo'. Girls were named similarly but ferch (daughter of) was used instead of ap. Many common surnames in Wales nowadays are derived from this way of naming, e.g. Pritchard is derived from 'ap Rhisiart', Puw / Pugh is derived from 'ap Huw', Bevan is derived from 'ab Ifan' and Preece is derived from 'ap Rhys'.Currently there is an increasing tendency amongst Welsh parents to revert to our traditional method of naming their offspring (boys more commonly I've noticed). What I want to know is do you think a boy with a name like Rhys ap Iolo would have any problems not having a 'proper' surname and do you personally like this style of naming?
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Ah! Many ancient peoples used that form of naming, such as the Norsemen. Surely you've heard of Leif Eriksson? He was Leif, son of Erik. In response to your question, I love that people are trying to get back to their roots by doing that, but it makes it very difficult to trace ancestry if the line is not updated by every generation.
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I've been having further thoughts and wonder what happens when Rhys ap Iolo marries. Is his wife Mrs Iolo? Or Mrs Rhys? Or does she keep her own name? By now Rhys ap Iolo will have some idea about whether it is or isn't a good idea to have such a name style and instead of calling his children ap Rhys or Rhys as the case may be he may decide to call a halt to the whole thing, in which case he would be highly advised to have Rhys instead of Iolo as the family surname. This style of naming could become complicated where ensuing generations are out of sympathy with the system.

This message was edited by the author 9/5/2006, 5:32 AM

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I think that you would have to make sure that this was the surname registered at birth, or there might be trouble with officialdom. I'm thinking of someone who was known as "ap" and had to drop that part of his name when he stood for Parliament. But ostensibly there should be no more difficulty in being "ap Iolo" than there would be in being "de Beauvoir" or "von Karajan" or "van Gogh", apart from the arguments as to where it should be placed alphabetically. In Iceland, where a similar style of naming (father's first name followed by -son or -dottir)is the norm, the telephone directories list people by their first names!
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