Grand Pockets’s Blog

Genealogy, Family, Poetry and Peeves

The Name and family of Conway


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The name of CONWAY is believed to be one of the few Welsh names which were derived from the name of the residence of their first bearers, probably the town of Conway, in Caernarvonshire, Wales. It is found on ancient records in the various spellings Connyway, Connaway, Connoway, Conoway, Conaway, Konwy, Conwy, Konway, Conwaye, Conway, and others, of which the form last mentioned is that most generally used in America today. [Also in early Delaware and Maryland records you’ll find Conner, Connor, Connell, and Conwye, Conwys variants. Conner surprised me but it is often used interchangeably in those very early records with Conway/Conaway on land records. Just keep in mind the variants on this surname get pretty far from the “standard”]

Some authorities assert that the family traces its descent from Sir William Konias or Conway of Warre, Yorkshire, who was High Constable of England under William the Conqueror in 1066. This man was the father by his wife Isabel of Sir Richard, who was the father by his wife, Ffelis or Phillis Corbet, of Sir Roger and Sir Richard, of whom the first married Sybyl Mortimer and had Sir Raffe or Ralph and Julian, of whom the first had issue by his wife, Avicia Butler, of Sir Hyw (Huw or Hugh), Sir John, and Sir Philip Konwy or Conwy. Of these sons, Sir Hvw married Elizabeth Pitchart and had Sir Harry, who was the father of Richard, William and Harry, of whom the first married Annes Radclyff and had John, Richard, and Hyw, of whom the first was the father of John Wynn Conwy and John aer Konwy.

John Wynn Conwy, son of Jenkin, was the father of Edward and Thomas, of whom the latter was the father of Rowland, father of John. This John married Margaret Wynne and had Piers, who was the father by his wife, Katherine Bellot, of another Piers, who married Mary Thelwall.

John aer Konwy, son of Jenkin, was the father of Sir Huw (died young), John aer, James, Pyrs or Piers, Edward, Harry, and others. Of these, John aer was the father of, among others, a son named Thomas, who married Alex Chauntrel and had John aer, who was the father by his wife, Elizabeth Hanmer, of John, who married Jane Salsbury and was the father of John, Pyrs, Thomas, Huw, Lowri, and numerous daughters, of whom the son John was the father of Sir John. William, Jankin, Peter, and several daughters in the latter sixteenth century; Pyrs, or Piers was the father of Harry Conway, who married Grace Dirhurst and had Piers, who was the father by his wife, Ann Wyrral, of John, who had issue by his wife, Jane Price, of William, who married Margaret Wynne; and Harry was the father of Harry, Arthur, Robert, William, Katrin and Elin Konway.

Many other branches of this line were to be found at early dates, among which was that of John aer Konwy of Flintshire about the begin­ning of the sixteenth century, who was the father of James, who was the father of, among others, a son named Edward, who was the father of Hyw or Hugh, Edward, Harry, and Pyrs. Of these, Hugh married Elizabeth Konwy and was the father of Edward and Robert, of whom the first was the father of a son named John Conway, who died in 1680 and was succeeded by his son John, who married Hester Thomas and was the father by her of a son named Edward.

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Another branch of the Family settled in Warwickshire and was represented about the beginning of the sixteenth century by Sir Edward Conway, who married Anne Burdette and had Sir John, father of another Sir John, who had issue of Sir Foulke and Sir Edward. Of these, Sir Edward was the father by his wife, Dorothy Tracey, of Edward, Sir Thomas, and Ralph, of whom the first was the father in the early seventeenth century of John, Edward, Thomas, and the others.

Not without distinction in Wales and England, where many bearers of the name of Conway were of the landed gentry and yeomanry, the family was well represented among the earliest British colonists in the New World.

One of the first settlers of the name in America was Edwin Conway, who came from Worcestershire, England, to Virginia about 1640 and settled in Northampton County. By his wife, Martha Eltonhead, he was the father of Edwin and a daughter, named Eltonhead.

Edwin, son of the immigrant Edwin, married Sarah Fleete of Lancaster County, Virginia, about 1675 and was the father by her of Edwin and Mary. By his second wife Elizabeth Thompson, whom he married about 1695, he had further issue of Francis and another child who died young. Of the sons of the second Edwin, Edwin was first married in 1704 to Ann Ball, by whom he had issue of Ann, Elizabeth, Agatha, Peter, George, Hannah, Millicent, and was later married to Ann Hack but had no further issue; and Frances married Rebecca Catlett about 1718 and was the father by her of Catlett, Francis, Elizabeth, Reuben, Sarah, and Eleanor.

Others of the name who came to America in the seventeenth century but left few records of their immediate families or descendants include John of James City County, Virginia, in 1683; Jarman and Aron of Virginia in 1642; Nicholas of York County, Virginia, in 1651; Freeman of Northumberland County and Henry of Lower Norfolk County, Virginia, in 1652; and Jeremiah of Charlestown, Massachusetts, before 1678.

William Conway came from County Denbigh, Wales, to America before the year 1770 and settled at Caernarvon, Pennsylvania. In 1771 he was married to Ruth Adams, by whom he had, among others, a son named William.

James Conway, who may possibly have been descended from the earlier Virginia line, was living in Pittsylvania County, Virginia, before the Revolutionary War. He was the father of James and Christopher, both of whom served in the war, and it is possible that he had other children as well.

More recent representatives of the various branches of the Conway family in America have scattered to every State of the Union and have aided greatly in the growth and development of the nation. They have been characterized physical vitality, indomitable courage, tenacity of purpose, and in many cases by intellectual and executive abilities which have contributed to success in business and the professions.

Among the Conways who fought in the War of the Revolution were Lieutenant James, of Virginia; Captain Lieutenant Joseph of Virginia;

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Captain Henry, of Virginia ; Lieutenant Colonel John, of Mew Jersey; Major General Thomas (who came to America with the French forces but was of Irish birth); and numerous others from the various states of that period.

Richard, John, Roger, Hugh, Harry, Thomas, Henry, Peter, Robert, Edward, Edwin, James, Francis, Joseph, and William are some of the Christian names preferred by the family for its male progeny.


1 Comment »

  1. Hi,
    My name is Sheryl and I was wanting to know if you have information on the conaways from Missouri?
    My great grandparents where Aussie Franklin Conaway and his wife Myrtle Hicks Conaway. They passed in Oct. 8th 1969. My grandmother their daughter is still living and her name is Eula Elizabeth Conaway.
    I would like to know if you have any information on us.
    You can email me at

    Comment by sheryl | February 8, 2010 | Reply

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