Origin, Meaning and Family History of the David Name
French, Jewish, Welsh, Italian
Origins of Name:
The first use of the David surname can be traced back to King David, the second king of the United Kingdom of Israel. In Hebrew the name translates to “beloved”. One of the most prominent biblical stories is David famously defeating Goliath. The surname entered Europe during the middle ages and increased in popularity during the crusades of the 11th and 12th centuries throughout England, Scotland, and Wales. After each military campaign to save the Holy Land for Christianity, soldiers who returned to Britain would ceremoniously give their children biblical names. The patron saint of Wales, King David I of Scotland and King David II bore the name which increased the surname’s popularity further.
There are more than 100 different spellings of the surname David that are found throughout Europe. After hundreds of years, each country has continued to deviate and create its own version of the surname.
More common variations are:
Daffy, Dave, Davey, Daffyd, Dafydd, Dai, Davi, Davide, Davidson, Davidde, Davie, Daviel, Davis, Daven, Davon, Davy, Davies, Davin, Davyd, Davydd and Davyn
The David surname began in England in Cheshire, near the Border of Wales. One of the first known records of the name in England is that of Robert David in 1278. As time passed, the surname spread throughout all of England, Scotland, and Wales. It is the 42nd most common surname in England. The highest concentration of the surname David can be found in London.
Although beginning in England, the name spread in popularity in Wales prior to England and Scotland. This can be attributed to the fact of a saint and prince bearing the surname. Due to record taking based mainly on phonetics, the spelling of the surname David varies greatly in Wales, where the Celtic language Welsh was spoken. Improper record taking combined with the unique Welsh language created numerous variations as the names were later interpreted to English. The last independent ruler of Wales, Dafydd ap Gryffydd was condemmed to death for high treason against King Edward I of England in 1283. Saint David, a Welsh bishop during the 6th century and later a saint is the patron saint of Wales.
The David surname is the 307th most common name in Great Britain. The highest concentration of the surname David can be found in Glamorgan, Aberdeen City, and Angus.
A royal name which King David I and King David II shared. One of the earliest surnames recorded in Scotland.
A surprisingly common surname in Sicily. Dating as far back as 1490, a Jewish doctor is documented as living in Messina, Sicily. In 1719, priest Don Michele Angelo David lived in Capo Passero, Sicily. The surname David is also found in the Puglia region.
34,000 people share the surname David in the United States, making it the 873rd most popular surname in the country.
During the first decade of the 20th century, the majority of people with the surname David could be found in Texas, Louisiana, Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and New York.
280,000 in Nigeria
65,000 in France
65,000 in Brazil
60,000 in the United States
50,000 in Uganda
Jacques-Louis David (1748) French painter
Felicien David (1810) French composer
Gerard David (1455) Dutch painter
Pierre Jean David (1788) French sculptor
Ferdinand David (1810) German composer
Dickie David (1879) Welsh rugby player
Stuart David (1969) Scottish musician
Larry David (1947) American comedian, writer
Craig David (1981) American musician
David Coat of Arms Meaning
The four main devices (symbols) in the David blazon are the bend, lion, ship and cinquefoil. The three main tinctures (colors) are azure, gules and argent .
Azure is the heraldic colour blue, usually quite a deep, dark shade of the colour (there is a lighter blue that sometimes occurs, known as celestial azure). If colour printing is not available then it can be represented by closely spaced horizontal lines in a scheme known as “hatching” . The word is thought to originate from the Arabic lazura and it represents the colour of the eastern sky. It is also said to be the colour associated by the Catholic Church with the Virgin Mary and hence of particular significance .
Gules, the heraldic colour red is very popular, sometimes said to represent “Military Fortitude and Magnanimity”. It is usually abbreviated as gu and in the days before colour printing was shown in a system known as hatching by vertical lines . Although it may look like a French word it is normally pronounced with a hard “g” and may be derived either from the Latin gula (throat) or Arabic gule (rose).
Argent is the heraldic metal Silver and is usually shown as very pure white. It is also known more poetically as pearl, moon (or luna) . In a sketch or drawing it is represented by plain, unmarked paper .
The bend is a distinctive part of the shield, frequently occuring and clearly visible from a distance – it is a broad band running from top left to bottom right . Indeed, so important is the bend that it was the subject of one of the earliest cases before the English Court of Chivalry; the famous case of 1390, Scrope vs Grosvenor had to decide which family were the rightful owners of Azure, a bend or (A blue shield, with yellow bend). . The bend is held in high honour and may signify “defence or protection” and often borne by those of high military rank .
The art of heraldry would be significantly poorer if we were without the lion in all its forms. Most general works on Heraldry devote at least one chapter solely to this magnificent creature and its multifarious depictions . Some of the earliest known examples of heraldry, dating right back to the knighting of Geoffrey of Anjou in 1127, where he is shown with six such beasts upon his shield .The great authority on heraldic symbology, Wade, points out the high place that the lion holds in heraldry, “as the emblem of deathless courage” , a sentiment echoed equally today.
We do not need to look far to find the symbolism in the presence of a ship in a coat of arms, they appear regularly in the arms of port towns and merchant companies and families. They usually appear as a three masted wooden vessel known as a lymphad but are often described in some detail as to the disposition of their sails, presence and colours of flags and standards and so on.