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Origin of the last name Price (1920)

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The surname Price

Price is a name of Welsh origin, one of the interesting names formed from the Welsh “ap” meaning “son of,” used before a first name. Price was, of course, the son of Rees or Rhys — ap-Rees, or ap-Rhys — a name borne first by some David or even, let us say, who was called David-ap-Rhys or Evan-ap-Rees.

The Welsh used to use a long string of “aps” to indicate their genealogy as for instance a man named David, son of Evan, grandson of Philip and great grandson of Henry, would call himself David-ap-Evan-ap-Philip-ap-Henry.

An anecdote is told of an Englishman who was once riding at night through a mountainous region in Wales. He heard a voice calling for help from a ravine by the road. “Help master help!” came the call.

“Help! Well, who are you?” called the Englishman. And the voice from the ravine called back, “Jenkin-ap-Griffith-ap-Robin-ap-Williams-ap-Rees-ap-Evan.”

“Then,” called the Englishman, “you’re lazy fellows to be rolling in that hole all night, a half dozen of ye; why don’t ye help each other out?”

As might be supposed, Price is more usual in Wales than anywhere else. It is rather usual in England. In England and Wales together it is rated at 43rd in the list of the 50 most usual names. In this country, it is almost as usual in localities where the population is largely of English and Welsh origin.

>> The origin & evolution of English surnames (1892)

Possibly the most famous American of the name was Sterling Price, a native of Virginia, governor of Mississippi, in 1853, and a Confederate general in the Civil War.

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