Gwaltneys In America: The Clearinghouse for Gwaltney Family History
Welcome to the Gwaltney/Gaultney/Gortney/Gwatney/Galtney/Gwartney family!
I am excited about the Homecoming this year on July 19-21, 2013 in Smithfield, VA! Our theme is Thomas Gwaltney: Blessing the Generations. We will be celebrating the 400th birthday and life of Thomas Gwaltney, our common ancestor who immigrated to America sometime after 1635. We will be investigating his world at the time and the legacy he left us to pass on to our future generations.
One of the special features of this year's Homecoming will be a special time on Saturday morning reserved on the grounds of St. Luke's Church in Smithfield. St. Luke's is the oldest extant brick church in America. There will be time to tour the grounds and church and also participate in the Gwaltney Family church service with preaching from Dr. Cliff Gwaltney of Hiddenite, NC and congregational singing led by Charlie Gwaltney of Salem, VA. If you would like to help add to the authenticity of the moment, please feel free to come dressed in your colonial or old-fashioned attire. Of course, you can just attend in your street clothes if you wish! We just want to see you there! If you have never been to St. Luke's Church before, it will be a treat and a definite step back in time.
Also, for the Homecoming this year, we will have a Gwaltney Family Day on Sunday, July 21 with a visit to Mill Swamp Baptist Church (the Gwaltney family church from the late 1700's into the 1800's) and an afternoon at the original Gwaltney Family homeplace of 1666. I have been talking with Mr. Brantley, who currently owns the old Gwaltney Homeplace (and is an honorary Gwaltney family member), and he has invited us to spend some time out there. Weather permitting, we are looking at spending time there with listening to some old stories and history of the Gwaltney Homeplace, eating ice cream, playing some music, and perhaps participating in a few games on the grounds. It would be wonderful time to relive some history from the colonial and post-colonial time period.
Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for a registration form.
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.