Welf (Hwelf) is the earliest documented ancestor of the Welf dynasty (sometimes known as Guelph, Guelf, Guelfe). His name is perhaps a shortened form of Welfhard or Bernwelf.
The first time he appears in the records is in the Gesta Hludowici imperatoris (Life of Emperor Louis the Pious), written by Thegan of Trier in about 836-837, where he is mentioned as the father of Louis' second wife, Judith; married in 819.
Although Welf was a noble in the Carolingian empire, its not clear exactly where. Thegan calls him a Duke in Bavaria ( Hwelfi ducis ... noblissima progenie Bawariorum) though he never held the title Duke or Count of Bavaria, which appears in many secondary sources.
It's also possible he was a Count in Argengau a district later included in the Duchy of Swabia and also the northern section of the Kingdom of Burgundy, based on his possible father or grandfather, and then his son, ruling that area.
In secondary sources, he is often called Count of Altdorf, but again there are no primary sources to confirm this and it is later members of the family who ruled there.
Another theory is that his father is Isanbart, a Count in Allemannia, the son of a Count Warin and Hadellinde.
The only date that can be assigned to him, is the marriage date of his daughter Judith in 819, when it would be supposed that he was still alive. Given that a birth date of about 800-805 is proposed for her and she is thought to be his eldest daughter and possibly eldest child then a birth date of about 770 seems reasonable for Welf.
His spouse was Heilwig, (family name unknown but from the nobility of Saxony)
He died on 3 September, probably before about circa 825, when his wife was appointed Abbess of Chelles.
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