Wales Celtic Language, Maddox Genealogy Madog
The Welsh language is spoken by some 600,000 people today, according to that encyclopedia. It belongs to the Celtic group of languages. Celtic is the name given to a mother tongue spoken by a civilization which flourished in Europe during the first millenium, before Christ. Those peoples spread throughout Europe from Asia Minor to the islands of Britain. The Celt language developed into the Irish, Scots, Gaelic, Welsh, Cornish and Breton languages. The development of the Welsh language from that mother tongue belongs to the stormy period of the fifth and sixth centuries A.D., after Rome had withdrawn its legions from Britain. It had no alphabet and the language had not been written, until Roman letters were given to its various sounds. Welsh family names often described occupations and locations, which apparently would cause alteration of name from parent to child. That does not lessen confusion. but does help explain some of its cause.
Thus, the English language name of a person may seem completely different from the Welsh name given the same person. That would be expected. But not all English letters appeared in the Welsh alphabet, so that different translations of the same name into English might be spelled differently, as one translator tried to reproduce a sound while another reproduced the name as it would normally be spelled in English. For instance. the letter "J" is absent from the Welsh alphabet, so that "John" becomes "Sean." An English writer, referring to a Welsh person of that name might write it either way, for the pronunciation is close to the same in either case. We will puzzle over other apparent examples, trying to determine whether two writers are speaking of the same person, or not.
Owen Glendower is the commonly accepted English name applied to the Welsh national hero. The spelling of his name will be seen to vary from one author to another. Glendower, Griffith, Gruffudd .. are these merely different translation of the same name, or are these different people? With some uncertainty, I conclude these names have all been applied to the same person. In Welsh, "Llan" means church, "Tre" means village, and "ap" means "son of," and places and descent are frequently seen as parts of names. It may help to realize these things in the reading which follows.