Gwaltneys In America: The Clearinghouse for Gwaltney Family History
Welcome to the Gwaltney/Gaultney/Gortney/Gwatney/Galtney/Gwartney family!
Well, it has been about a month ago that we held the 2014 Nationwide Gwaltney Family Homecoming in Smithfield. I want to thank everyone who participated and made it such a wonderful time. I have had a lot of people tell me they enjoy the Homecoming each year more and more. I think that has a lot to do with we are getting to know each other better. I remember when we did our first Homecoming back in 2008, we had a bunch of people who didn't really know each other-we just knew we were Gwaltney descendants. Although there are new and different kinfolk who attend every year, there have been about a lot of people who have attended faithfully since 2008 and by now, we truly are feeling like family...not just in name, but in relationship.
I am putting photos of the Homecoming here on the website under Gwaltney Homecoming 2014. I am usually so busy during the Homecoming, I don't take as many photos of the Homecoming as I wish, so if anyone has any photos they could send me, I'd appreciate it. I also want to thank my cousin, Lynsey Perry, for using my camera to do some photos for me.
I also want to thank Larry and Brenda Gwaltney of Carmi, IL; Dudley Gwaltney of Raleigh, NC; Dot Gwaltney of Windsor, VA; Lois Gwaltney of Smithfield, VA; Dr. Thomas and Dee Gwaltney of Yipsilanti, MI; Bill and Mildred Gwaltney Harrison of Newbern, NC; Dick and Jane Delbridge of Alexandria, VA and so many others for their support with the Gwaltney Family Scholarship this year. Because of the generous support of the Gwaltney family descendants, we were able to bless all six of our Gwaltney Family Scholarship finalists with a scholarship! All six finalists are outstanding young people and we were able to give all of them some money to attend college next year. Tripp Gwaltney of Alabama, Anna Gwaltney of Minnesota, Caleb Gwaltney of North Carolina, and Katie Griggs of North Carolina were each awarded a $500 scholarship. Alyse Gwaltney of Indiana and Lane Gortney of Indiana were each awarded an $800 scholarship. These finalists were chosen based upon financial need and the quality of answers they gave on written essays and a verbal interview.
There are so many others to thank: Steve Edwards and Gerald Gwaltney for such an excellent job on their Virginia Gwaltneys in the Civil War presentation; Dudley Gwaltney of his overview on the causes of the Civil War; Jerry and Margaret Gwaltney and Christopher Gwaltney who always do so much leg work for the Homecoming; Dr. Cliff Gwaltney for his sermon and Charlie Gwaltney for leading the congregational singing; Steve Edwards, Nelson Edwards, and Jeff Gwaltney for helping out with the music, Henry Pulley and gang for their cooking, and the list goes on and on.
I am blessed to be part of such a great Gwaltney family!
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.