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The descendants of Oliver Meredith of Mid Wales, UK

Updated April 24, 2004

About Our Family Research


All family research conducted since 1990 - anyone who has any relationship is more than welcome to contact me..
The forenames of OLIVER, RICHARD, WILLIAM & JAMES are present in almost every generation.
A FEW WORDS ABOUT THE ORIGIN OF MEREDITH:
Firstly, contrary to a lot of information I've seen (including the American Webster’s dictionary), the name has nothing to do with the sea or water whatsoever. It does not mean "Guardian of the Sea", Protector of the Sea or any other such combination.
The original spelling was Maredudd - pronounced "Mredeeth". Often the "E" following the "M" is not pronounced. In the Welsh language and in English speaking Wales, the accent and stress is always on the Penultimate syllable, the modern pronunciation is therefore - Mer-ehd'-eeth.
The incorrect pronunciation that strikes the name outside of the Welsh borders is the one widely accepted in the U.S. and the rest of Britain, which curiously causes "Merry" to be a suitable shortening?! To those of us who are Welsh it is grating to the ears to say the least to hear our name so mutilated! As a resident of the US I spend a lot of time correcting people in the pronunciation of the name.

Other seemingly unrelated but correct pet or short forms of the name are PRIDDY, PREEDY, PREDDY, BEDO, BEDDOES etc. Meredith is an Anglicized form of Welsh Meredudd, earlier (Middle Welsh) Maredud(d). The word is transparently a two-member compound, the second component of which goes back to Old Welsh iud(d) ‘lord’ (Indo-European *youdhyos). Cf. the -ith in Meredith and Griffith and note OW Moriud ‘sea warrior, sea lord’. In his Language and History in Early Britain (1953:346), Kenneth Jackson has marshaled a history of the name’s transformations from the Annales Cambriae forward: Morgetiud > Margetiud > Margetud > Maredud(d) > Meredith. Clearly, Old Welsh Morgetiud is not equivalent to Moriud, and a ‘sea lord’ etymology for Meredith must be rejected. In fact, no amount of licit phonological or morphological tinkering permits an equation Morgetiud = Moriud. In Morgetiud, necessarily our point of departure, -et- seemingly points to an underlying plural -etes, such as we find in early tribal names, e.g. Gaulish Namnetes. If so, then a tribal name reconstructed as *Morgetes or the like may be a preform. A Celtic *Morgetes would companionze semantically (see below) with Germanic Marcomanni ‘the men of the march or frontier men’. Initial morg- points to Common Celtic morg- / mrog- as alternative o-grade syllabifications of an Indo-European *mereg- ‘boundary land, border area’ (Pokorny’s notation: IEW 738). Such alternative Vr ~ rV syllabifications are well attested in Celtic, e.g. Latin porrum ‘leek, plant grown in a recessed bed’ from *pr-so- vs. prâtum ‘meadow’ from *prH-to- : Middle Irish ra(i)th ‘earthen rampart, garden bed’. For *morg-, cf. Gothic (etc.) marka < Indo-European morgâ feminine. For *mrog-, recall Cymmry ‘Welsh’ < *Com-mroges and compare Old Irish mruig- < *mrogi- ‘country, area’, Breton bro ‘country, district’, and so forth.


The name is of course a male christian name with some of the earliest examples dating from the 6th century onwards. It was a name popular with some members of the ancient Welsh Royal families.
Exactly how or why it should become common as a female name in the U.S is curious indeed!!
A girl or woman named Meredith to us, is as strange to us as a woman called Peter, Jack or David!
The name's most common point of origin is in the rural border counties of Mid Wales - Radnorshire, Montgomeryshire and also over the border in Herefordshire and it's neighbours. Even today, this is where the greatest concentration of the name exists.

There are several ancient families of the name - that is to say families who adopted the name as a "fixed" surname prior to the mid 1600's. The Meredith families of Llanbister/Llangunllo/ St Harmon and Nantmel being some of the most ancient. There is also a very ancient li

 
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