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EVANS Family History
This surname, of medieval Welsh origin, is a patronymic form of the Welsh male given name Ifan or Evan, the roots of which lie in the Latin forms of John – 'Iohannes' (Johannes) and the colloquial 'Iovannes'. The forename John enjoyed enormous popularity in Europe throughout the Christian era, when parents named their infant sons in honour of St. John the Baptist, St. John the Evangelist, or the nearly one thousand other saints of the name. The ultimate derivation of the name comes from the Hebrew name 'Yochanan', meaning 'Jehovah has favoured (me with a son)' or 'may Jehovah favour this child'.
The medieval form of this Welsh name was Ieuan, and the Evans version started to emerge in the 16th century. In addition to Evan, Efan and Ifan, the variants of this surname include Evens, Evins, Heavens, Ivins, Ifans, Ivens, Ivans, Heaven, Haven, Havins, Heavin.
In Wales, where traditionally there were no fixed surnames, Evan/Ifan was originally a patronymic name, and originally it would have referred back to an individual's father – for example, 'William ap Evan' (or 'William ap Ifan') was literally 'William the son of Evan/Ifan'. Between the 16th and 19th centuries however Welsh families started to adopt hereditary surnames, and the 'Evan' or 'Ifan' form eventually became fixed as Evans as it was passed down the generations.
It quickly grew to become one of the most common of Welsh surnames and is found in all parts of the country. Today, over 74,000 Welsh people have Evans as a surname and it is the 4th most common surname in Wales.
Back in 1881, just over the border in England, the census revealed that Evans was one of the most common surnames in the city of Bristol. The majority of Evans men that year worked as farmers, coal miners and labourers, while some worked as agricultural labourers.
By 1891, the Evans population in the whole of England and Wales numbered 137,842. In Scotland the count was 586.
The Welsh archaeologist, Sir Arthur Evans (1851—1941), was famous for his excavations at Knossos on Crete, where he uncovered the remains of the Minoan civilisation. His work provided the vital missing link between Ancient Egypt and the rise of Ancient Greece.
In the UK, there are towns called Evanton and Evans Mead, while in North America there are 13 towns that have adopted the Evans nomenclature, including Evansburg and Evansville. Six of those towns are located in the United States. Bermuda and New Zealand have Evans Bays, while in Australia, Evandale, a town located in Tasmania, was named after a 19th century surveyor and explorer, George William Evans.
1881, 1891 Census
1881 Census in Bristol
The Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain and Ireland, P.Hanks, Coats, McClure OUP 2016
Dictionary of American Family Homes, P Hanks OUP 2003
Homes of Family Names in Great Britain, H.B. Guppy, London 1890
1860 Lower, Mark A Patronymica Britannica: a dictionary of the family names of the United Kingdom, London: J.R Smith. Public Domain
1857 Arthur, William An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names. New York: Sheldon, Blakeman. Public Domain
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Thomas Evans (my great x 4 grandfather)
Arrival date in US: 15 June 1864
Age 45 (b. circa 1819)
Port of Departure: Liverpool, England (and Queenstown, England)
Arrival: New York (Castle Gardens)
Ship name: Olympus
Anna (Anne) Powell Evans (my great x 4 grandmother)?Arrival date in US: 15 June 1864 ??????Age 50 (b. circa 1814)
Port of Departure: Liverpool, England
Ship name: Olympus
Charles R. Evans
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