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DAVID Family History
This surname is patronymic, in that it derives from the personal name of a given ancestor. In both Wales and England, the surname generally developed into the hereditary surname 'Davies' or 'Davis', the former spelling being the most common in Wales. In Scotland as well as in parts of England, the variations 'Davidson' and 'Davison' are also seen. In all cases, including the 'Davids' version, the surname would originally have meant 'son of David'.
As a personal name it derives from the Hebrew 'Dawidh' meaning 'beloved one', and its popularity originally stemmed from its Biblical associations.
In Wales, the Welsh equivalents of the personal name 'David' are 'Dafydd' and 'Dewi' (Dewi being the name of Wales's patron saint) – Davies is however the form most commonly used as a surname, followed by the David variation.
In England, some early examples of the surname include Richard Davi of Suffolk and William Davy of Oxford, who both appear in the Hundred Rolls of 1273.
In Wales, fixed hereditary surnames only emerged between the 16th and 19th centuries, depending on where in the country the families lived. The David(s) surname would therefore refer back to an ancestor who lived during that time. Generally the David form of the name is less common than the Davies version, and is more commonly seen in the south and mid Wales. Early references to 'David', especially in the western half of the country would relate to patronymic names, and would initially have appeared as 'ap David', meaning 'the son of David'.
By 1841, David as a fixed, hereditary surname was mostly associated with the Welsh counties of Glamorgan, Carmarthenshire, and Pembrokeshire and, to a lesser extent, Cardiganshire.
Patronymica Britannica (1860) by Mark Antony Lower
The Surnames of Scotland (1946) by George Fraser Black (1866-1948)
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