Gwaltneys In America: The Clearinghouse for Gwaltney Family History
Welcome to the Gwaltney/Gaultney/Gortney/Gwatney/Galtney/Gwartney family!
I recently returned from our 2013 Nationwide Gwaltney Family Homecoming, and I had such a wonderful time. Sometimes the weekend just goes by so fast for me and I don't feel like I get to visit much with everyone...but I enjoy seeing everyone regardless. Each year that goes by, I believe it draws us closer together as a family. The Homecoming allows us, separated by the generations and the miles, to come back together again....to the place we all can call home----southside Virginia!
I want to thank everyone who attended....we had quite a few attend for the first time, and I am always grateful for those who so faithfully return each year to share our lives together for a few days. There are so many people to thank for their assistance...Jerry and Margaret Gwaltney, Donald and Lois Gwaltney, Christopher Gwaltney, Steve Edwards and Gerald Gwaltney, Nelson Edwards and to all those who provided entertainment (The Gwaltney Trio, Bill and Mildred Gwaltney Harrison, Katie Griggs, Janice Edwards, Fiddling Joe Edwards and Jimmy Ricks, etc.), Henry Pulley and family for the good food, Jean Barcroft for setting us up at Mill Swamp, to Dr. Cliff and Talitha Gwaltney and Charlie Gwaltney for making the St. Luke's Church experience such a wonderful time, and of course to my mom for her work at the back table. I also want to thank Susan Gwaltney for making a delicious cake to help us celebrate the 400th birthday of Thomas Gwaltney (1613-1666).
I especially want to thank everyone who came, as you all are a blessing to me---it truly makes me happy to see each one of you. Thanks also to Robert and Debbie Gwaltney; David and Jennifer Gwaltney; Gary Jr., Ashley and Gary Robson III; Eric and Susan Jones, David and Joshua Gwaltney, Jennifer Gwaltney Obenchain; Janice Edwards; Ron and Vickie Gortney and Peyton; Ryan Sr., Angee, Ryan Jr., Lane, and Ty Gortney; Kay Gwaltney Morgan and Gina Morgan; Jessica Gwaltney McLain and Mason and AnnaLeah McLain; David Palagyi, and anyone else who made it their first (and hopefully not last) Gwaltney Homecoming.
We had fun the whole time from the start on Thursday night with a dinner out to Bennett Creek Restaurant in Suffolk for the early birds to our parting on Sunday from Mill Swamp Church and Steve Edward's Mill Swamp Indian Horse Farm. We enjoyed great fellowship, delicious food, and good music. Gerald and Steve had a fantastic program on colonial life in Virginia during the times of Thomas Gwaltney and his son William Gwaltney. We also announced Katie Griggs and Ryan Gortney Jr. as Gwaltney Family Scholarship recipients. Thankfully, we received enough donations in order that all of our finalists were able to receive a scholarship to help out with college.
We are a blessed family-Gwalchmai---the hawk of the field!
Welcome to the Gwaltney Family Website! I am Dr. Jeff, a Gwaltney descendent and family history researcher. Although I am not a strong computer tech guy, I have put together this site as a source of information for those interested in the Gwaltney family. It is my goal to piece the whole Gwaltney/Gaultney/ Galtney /Gwatney/Gortney/ Gwartney family together. I have not done this all on my own; in fact, I tend to compile what others before me have done as I have drawn upon the work of Hank Burnham, Dr. Jack Gwaltney, Raymond Edwards, Martha Haidek, Rosie Gwaltney Fritz, Mary Lewellyn Sweet, Carolyn Gwaltney, William Handy, and so many others too numerous too mention. My thanks to everyone who has been willing to share stories, pictures, and family records.
So I hope you enjoy the few pages I have here. And I hope someday you can attend one of our Gwaltney Family Homecomings, for it is there you can see the legacy of our common ancestor, Thomas Gwaltney (1613-1666) who, by God's grace, established this family in America!
This is a website devoted to the accumulation and preservation of the Gwaltney/Gaultney/Gortney/Gwatney/Galtney/Gwartney family history in America (Gwaltney is the original Americanized spelling). While there are Gwaltney's who have traced their individual lines back several generations, our goal here is to discover and provide information about the general Gwaltney population in the United States. While all Gwaltneys in America seem to have originated from Surry County, Virginia, migration patterns took them into North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. Then into Texas and Mississippi, and ... eventually scattered all over this great country.
The Gwaltney Name
For purposes of simplicity and ease of reading, the name GWALTNEY will be used in this website. While early spellings of the name have been "Gwalpmey" or "Gualmey", the name GWALTNEY is the earliest Americanized form of the name that has stood the test of American history. Dr. Jack Gwaltney of Charlottesville, VA has an interesting commentary on the origins of the Welsh version of Gwaltney--the name GWALCHMAI. If you are interested in his commentary, you may contact me.
So how did the spelling variations occur? How do we also end up with GAULTNEY, GWARTNEY, GORTNEY, GALTNEY, and GWATNEY being of the same family? Primarily the variance is the result of pronunciation, dialect, and mistransciption by the census-taker's hand. However, all of these names proceed from the name GWALTNEY. When Thomas Gwaltney's (3rd generation) offspring began to migrate into southern Virginia and then into North Carolina, their pronunciation and dialect brought about many of the various name spellings. For example, William Gwaltney of Brunswick Co. had at least two sons...Micajah and Michael. That group of Gwaltneys pronounced their name something like "Gawatney". Micajah ended up moving into KY and IN and started spelling the name GWARTNEY. Michael ended up moving into western VA and kept the spelling GWALTNEY.
Benjamin Gwaltney of the Brunswick Co. VA area eventually moved into the state of Mississippi. His pronunciation of the name led to the spelling GALTNEY. John Gwaltney's son, Peterson, also left the southern VA counties of Brunswick and Mecklenberg and went into Alabama and eventually his offspring made it into AR and OK--they ended up spelling their name GWATNEY, leaving out the letter "L".
As these Gwaltneys migrated from southern VA into North Carolina, some kept the name GWALTNEY, while others began to spell the name GAULTNEY and GORTNEY. It is interesting to see how many families had difficulty being consistent with the name even within their own families. Margaret Gwaltney of Hiddenite NC showed me a cemetery of Gwaltneys in Banner Elk, NC and the tombstones of some family members was spelled GAULTNEY and other family members had the spelling GWALTNEY. Sarah Gwaltney Behrens of Denver CO once showed me the photocopied pages of the Henry Hudson Gwaltney family Bible, and there, in black and white, some of the offspring had their names spelled GAULTNEY and others GWALTNEY! No wonder some were confused on how to spell the name.
The Gwaltneys who stayed in VA had no problem keeping the spelling GWALTNEY. It was those who moved further south who had difficulties in determining its spelling. Oh, by the way, even those who spell their name GWALTNEY do not always pronounce it that way. Many Gwaltneys from IL, IN, TN, GA pronounce their name "Gaultney" even though they spell it GWALTNEY.
But whether you are a GWALTNEY, GAULTNEY, GORTNEY, GWATNEY, GWARTNEY, or GALTNEY, you all belong to the same family...the family of Thomas Gwaltney (1613-1666) who settled in VA sometime after 1635.
The Vision and the Motivation
"Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; He is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commands." (NIV)
I have seen the hand of God upon my family and was curious about my past generations. Had there been a great-grandmother or a great-great grandfather who had prayed for God's grace to be upon their family and upon their generations? Thus my inquiry into the Gwaltneys was a research into who they were as a spiritual nation.
And thus I began--not just seeking to know my momma's Gwaltney family from Obion County, TN, but all the way back to the beginning--with Thomas Gwaltney, himself, the first Gwaltney in America. There is a lot I still don't know. But I've come to understand this family a lot just by talking with others, researching, and by keeping my ears open.