Guelph Surname Origin
A wolf; the surname of the present Royal Family of England. We have the following amusing tradition of the origin of the royal house of Guelph: 'It is told in the chronicles that as far back as the days of Charlemagne, one Count Isenbrand, who resided near the Lake of Constance, met an old woman who had given birth to three children at once, a circumstance which appeared to him so portentous and unnatural that he assailed her with a torrent of abuse. Stung to fury by his insults, she cursed the Count, and wished that his wife, then enciente, might bring at a birth as many children as there are months in the year. The imprecation was fulfilled, and the countess became the mother of a dozen babes at once. Dreading the vengeance of her severe lord, she bade her maid go drown eleven of the twelve. But whom should the girl meet while on this horrible errand but the Count himself, who, suspecting that all was not right, demanded to know the contents of the basket. 'Welfen,' was the intrepid reply (i. e., the old German term for puppies or young wolves). Dissatisfied with this explanation, the Count lifted up the cloth, and found under it eleven bonny infants nestled together. Their unblemished forms reconciled the scrupulous knight, and he resolved to recognize them as his lawful progeny. Thenceforward, their children and their descendants went by the name of Guelph or Welf.'
Source: An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names With an Essay on their Derivation and Import; Arthur, William, M.A.; New York, NY: Sheldon, Blake, Bleeker & CO., 1857.
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