Genealogy… Don’t Shy from Ancestral Name Changes


What could be more popular than the name David? But who would think that the name “Taffy” is one and the same as the Hebrew name David, meaning beloved? The name David is popular in Wales, due to an early evangelist who bore the name. It may have looked like this: Dawfydd. If you look at it carefully, it would be pronounced Daw-feed. In Israel, David is pronounced Da-veed. Sounds almost the same. Maybe it’s because this Welsh David, made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.

David is recognized as the patron saint of Wales. Over the years, the “D” got translated to a “T” and the result was Taffy. It’s used as a nickname for Welshmen. Legend has it that Wale’s Saint David was King Arthur’s uncle and David is the fellow to whom homage is paid for his successful battle against the Saxons. There is a big festival in his name occurring on March 1st. A leek is worn in his honor.

I heard a genealogist say that it is all too common for people to refuse to accept that their surname may have been other than it is today. David to Taffy? That’s quite a stretch. But it happens all the time in genealogy and we should not be too stubborn to accept a name change somewhere along the way.

Suellen Ocean is the author of Secret GenealogyA How-to for Tracing Ancient Jewish Ancestry, Secret Genealogy IIUncovering the Jewish Roots of Our Christian Ancestors, Secret Genealogy III From Jewish Anglo-Saxon Tribes to New France Acadians, Secret Genealogy IV – Native Americans Hidden in Our Family Trees, Secret Genealogy V– Black, White and Hamite; Ancestors of Color in Our Family Trees and Secret Genealogy VI – Freemasons, Jewish Conquistadors and the Holy Family. Available here:

Secret Genealogy:

Secret Genealogy II:

Secret Genealogy III:

Secret Genealogy IV:

Secret Genealogy V:

Secret Genealogy VI:


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