This will not be the most helpful comment I know - an editor is getting
really, really anxious because I have not returned some book proofs so
time is limited.
However, there is a research site at an English university recording
name distributions in Britain. They show maps for C19 and then for C20.
I seem to have lost the bookmarked URL. I remember the Mendus name was
tightly grouped around Pembroke/ M Haven in C19. Davies (with the e)
centred on Cardigan and without the e spread along the Marches.
Ubiquitous Jones nearly owned Anglesey!
Perhaps some KS with time can ask Mr Google where the site is.
Professor B E Davies 2628 Turben Place, Mount Pleasant, SC 29466 tel:
843-971-4204 mobile 864-617-2810 other email bdavies(a)clemson.edu
On 11/25/2012 4:42 PM, Brian P. Swann wrote:
I would treat with some considerable scepticism any reports on the
of family surnames before 2003 - even from such well-known authors as T. J.
and Prys Morgan, 1985.
Before 2003 the Surname Atlas CD by Charles Archer, based on the 1881 Census
of England, Wales and Scotland was not available.
It is now recognised that several reported homes of surnames in well-known
surname books published before that date were just plain wrong. This was
the first truly comprehensive survey of surnames of the British Isles.
As follow up I would now get a copy of Debbie Kennett's book, just
I know she consulted with Sheila Rowlands on the Welsh section in here [John
and Sheila Rowlands wrote The Surnames of Wales in 1996]. But is
appreciably shorter than their book, of course - and I hope their revised
edition will see the light of day.
And, of course, I would advocate DNA testing. It will be relatively easy to
reconstruct and get a genetic signature of the Mendus families living in
West Wales and elsewhere today - and then you can truly see if there is
anything in these similar sounding names on the continent. Archer's Surname
Atlas will also tell you what spelling variants may survive - as you mention
Meddus and Mendez below. Tracing people forwards from the 1440s in Portugal
might be a bit challenging though (to get a DNA sample) - and I suspect if
the surname comes from the spelling variations Mendez/Mendes in the Iberian
peninsula, then the numbers involved will be overwhelming.
But this is probably the only way to move this problem forwards from the
realms of speculation. To give you some encouragement - there is already a
Mendes Project running at FTDNA with already 30 participants:
The Mendes Family Project seeks to find common heritage through sharing of
information and dna testing. Any variant spellings are welcome. Due to the
fact that surnames in families of Iberian origin are often inherited
matrilineally, mtDNA results will also be included in this project. O
projeto da família Mendes busca encontrar ancestrais comuns através do
compartilhamento de informações e de testes de DNA. Quaisquer variações do
sobrenome são bem-vindas. Devido ao fato de famílias de origens ibéricas
muitas vezes herdarem sobrenomes pela linha feminina, resultados de DNA
mitocondrial também serão incluídos neste projeto.
Ask the Project Administrator of the Mendes DNA Project if they will pay for
DNA tests of a Mendus family in Wales with possible origins back to Spain /
Portugal - if you are successful in recruiting someone. Right now a
37-marker Y-DNA test only costs $119 dollars. And you can tell the Project
Administrator your story below. They are based in Brazil, according to
their email address.
From: dyfed-bounces(a)rootsweb.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] On
Behalf Of Dale Davies
Sent: 24 November 2012 08:08
To: 'melanie stark'; dyfed(a)rootsweb.com
Subject: Re: [Dyfed] Mendus
Thanks to everyone who has responded. I suspect that the name, especially
with its variants, has multiple origins. I've dug out some info, prodded by
ideas people got me thinking about.
It appears not to be from English (southern Pembrokeshire Flemings), despite
the lack of the "A ap B" format, but I wouldn't bet on "little
beyond Wales" being uninvolved. I've found that the first reported reference
to the name dates from 1503 - a William MENDUS, portreeve or portryff (?) of
Newport PEM (the Rowlings - "The Surnames of Wales", 1996).
A Lewys MENDUS was a juror in the same town in the same year. I found the
original journal article (LlGC online) for the former mention, but not for
the latter. A memorial inscription from St Mary's, North Fishguard, from
1535 reportedly refers to a David MEDDUS or MENDUS (Royal Commission etc);
it could be problematical given it has alternatives. A 1601 probate exists
for a Matthias MENDUS of Nevern. In 1613 a Hugh MENDUS was a bailiff for (I
think) a Thomas LLOYD in a case brought on by Alban OWEN; a case that looks
a bit like it arises from the minor aristocracy doing pretty much whatever
they pleased, calling to mind another thread going at the moment. In ~1617
(14 Jas. I) a John MENDUS of Fishguard who would have been born ~1557 also
made a deposition in a similar situation.
I've reeled-off that lot because I think they indicate the earliest
instances pre-date religious strife in France or the Netherlands. Newport
was apparently involved from much earlier in the export of wool, and
Flanders was a major weaving centre. It is not impossible that some people
went the other way, to Newport from Flanders, when things later got too
fraught - especially if there was an existing connection to Newport.
The persistent tradition of Huguenot involvement suggests that, in the
period from the mid-16th century, protestant Walloons, or Flemings, made the
trip as well. From 1503 to then is perhaps two generations, but the form of
those two 1503 names suggests "nativised" family or families
Actual name or transliteration?). I notice Newport is a mere 4km or so from
Dinas, and roughly halfway between Fishguard and St Dogmaels/Cardigan, the
latter places where "my" MENDUS genealogical bits first turn up, the former
having that 1535 monumental inscription.
In a book/article series "Crosscurrents in Hispano-Welsh Relations", in an
aside to a discussion of wine imports to Southwest Wales, the author draws
attention to a 1582 reference to the surname Mendous in Haverfordwest; they
support the suggestion it's connected with a Spanish or Portuguese name
Mendez(s). That's apparently from "Welsh Surnames" (T.J. and Prys Morgan,
1985). But such a name could as easily have gone from Iberia to Wales via
the Spanish Netherlands, with or without the wine, as it is in the middle of
the latter's revolt against Spain. They also cite a Mrs Wendy Childs, who
drew a connection to Portuguese (wine?) merchant names: Alfonso MENDES
(1443) and Alfonso MENDUS (1449).
So putting it all together I'd guess MENDUS (et al) has more than one
origin: I would suspect a layer of Huguenot incomers settling in an area
where (related?) others had preceded them and become established. That
"established" aspect would have been a powerful incentive for later
connected people to flee to SW Wales if they had need for safety.
I hope that lot is not too long-winded. I hope it's not too wrong either,
but at least that would not be as embarrassing.
Dale in Queensland
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