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ARTHUR Family History
This surname is patronymic and derives from the personal name of an ancestor.
There are a couple of theories as to its exact origin. The first stems from the traditional Welsh name 'Arthur', made up of the elements 'arth', meaning 'bear', and 'gwr', meaning 'man' or 'hero'. Arthur was the name of the legendary 6th century king who fought the Anglo-Saxons. He originally appeared in literature in the old Welsh mythologies, Y Mabinogi, and he later became famous throughout Europe as the central character in the medieval Arthurian Romances.
The second theory as to the origin of the Arthur name relates to the possibility it may, in some cases, have developed from the name 'Adam' and its diminutive 'Addy' which then developed into Atkin or Adkin (meaning 'son of Adam/Addy').
Early examples of the name include William Arthur of Essex, Stephen Arthur of Wiltshire, and William Artur of Somerset, who were all recorded on the 1273 Hundred Rolls. In Scotland, early examples were recorded in 1435 (Arthur of Kyncorth) and in 1511 (Thomas Harthawr).
In Wales, it first emerged specifically as a surname between the 16th and 19th centuries, during which time fixed hereditary surnames were gradually adopted in the country. Early examples, from the early 17th century, appear on the parish registers of Flintshire, Montgomeryshire and Monmouthshire – the majority at that point in time in Montgomeryshire.
By the first half of the 19th century, although not one of the most common of Welsh surnames, there were nevertheless some notable Arthur surname clusters in parts of Carmarthenshire, Glamorganshire, Montgomeryshire, Monmouthshire and, to a lesser extent, Cardiganshire.
1841 & 1851 censuses
A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames (1896) by Charles Wareing Endell Bardsley
An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names (1857) by William Arthur
Patronymica Britannica (1860) by Mark Antony Lower
Surnames of the United Kingdom (1912) by Henry Harrison
The Surnames of Scotland (1946) by George Fraser Black (1866-1948)
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