Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The Greek Word

Generally regarded as one of the first to conceive the ideal of  a "One World",   Alexander the
Great brought the Greek language to the existing world. [reigned from 336 to 323 B.C.]  "Hellenistic Culture" became the term to describe much of the activity of the day.  In Egypt, a city name, of course, Alexandria became a focal point of this new world.  Here, scholars of the day tried to tie the Greek and Near Eastern thought together.  Jewish scholars [285 - 247 B.C.] translated the Hebrew canon into a Greek translation called "The Septuagint".  The Hebrew word for "John" [shown last post] became translated into the Greek shown above.

The actual text where this translation occurs is shown below.  The Greek word is underlined.

The Hebrew to Greek before the Roman world came into existence.  What a deal it is.

My copy is from: The Septuagint with Apocrypha, by Charles Lee Brenton.  It was first published in London in 1851.  My edition is by Hendrickson Publishers, Eighth Printing December 1999, p. 563.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

The Hebrew Word

After all this chronology surrounding the surname JONES [see last post], I thought there might be those who would like to see the words [for John] as they appear in the original languages.  The earliest, is the Hebrew word.  The English translation is given underneath.  Let it speak for itself:

This is taken from: The Interlinear Bible, Hebrew English, Vol II, I Sam - Ps 55, by Baker, p.1123.  Jay P. Green, Sr. was the general editor and translator.  Published by Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1976.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

JOHN...TO...JONES : Big Picture 4

Perhaps, this will be the biggest picture yet.  It shows a corridor in time through the languages that became involved in our surname JONES.  First, take a deep breath...then take a look at the figure below.

Wow you might say...but let's begin in the upper left corner.

The Hebrew language was the first to introduce the writing of the name we translate JOHN.  It was around 1000 BC.  The documentation can be found in "The Interlinear Bible -  Hebrew / English" Vol. II, p. 1123.  "Jehohanan" is the English translation, and the story is found in the book  I Chronicles 26:3.

The name carried through the Hebrew, and it was not until the Jewish scholars at Alexandria, Egypt (285-247 BC) translated their books into Greek, that the name appears in a more widely used language.  "Ionathan" [translated Jonathan] is the word. The documentation can be found in "The Septuagint with Apocrypha" by Brenton, p.561.

Now is was the Roman Empire that brought its language [Latin] to the world, and it became the dominate phonetic expression.   It was under this "world administration" that Christianity had its beginnings, and the name JOHN appears frequently in the early Christian writings.   Around 250 AD, the Christians were being driven out of the Empire, and the faith moved to the Islands.  Here it met the Celtic folks who formed the "Celtic Church". [P-Celtic/Brythonic]

Around 400 AD the Roman world was about to collapse and the P-Celtic folks began their own development as linguistic groups.  It was also around this time that the Saxons began their appearance, and the Anglo-Saxon language joined in the fray.  So, by 600 AD the Saxons had accepted Christianity, the Celtic Church had survived, and the Roman center of Church administration all used the surname JOHN. [Only in their own language...Latin being that of the Church.]

So again, before the French [Normans] ever showed up; 1) Latin, 2) Anglo-Saxon , and 3) Welsh were recording the name JOHN in their own languages, transmitted from the Hebrew to Greek.  Now, how "big" a picture can you get?

A summary is shown:

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

A Big...Big...Big...Picture 3

Language is spoken before it is written.  The folks who were the first to speak the Welsh language is presented by Bede in his book "The Ecclesiastical History of The English Nation"written between 680 - 703 AD.  In chapter I, he writes "This island at present....contains five nations, the English [Anglo-Saxon], Britons [Brythonic], Scots [Gaelic], Picts [Pictish], and Latins [Latin], each in its own peculiar dialect..."  He continues to write "The Latin tongue is, by the study of the Scriptures, become common to all the rest."  So by 700 AD Latin was the chief language of the clerks, and writers of the time, but had also become a language between the nations. [Please note that the brackets are mine and not Bede's.]

Now for the Celts, the spoken language had become the only means to transmit their legends and stories.  To accomplish this generation after generation, a special position was established to manage this endeavor.  The Bard he was called.

Significant was his role in maintaining Celtic, to become Welsh culture, that the above drawing gives an impression of this activity by Edward Jones in 1784.  Oral tradition was the norm.  Words and their vocal expression, often to music [the harp shown above] , became the foundation to the written words that became Welsh.  Now, look back to the previous post that give words in the languages noted by Bede.

Bede's text is taken from:  Everyman's Library 479, History, J.M. Dent & Sons LTD, 1954, London, p. 5.

The drawing is taken from : Wales Her Origins Struggles And Later History Institutions and Manners, by Gilbert Stone, Frederick A. Stokes Co., NY, 1915. [Please note that the drawing is by Edward Jones, 1784...those Jones are everywhere.]

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

A Big...Big...Big Picture 2

Writing or speaking words become the threads that bind a cultural group together in this world of experiences.  Events of life like birth, death, and all the places in between, are packaged in words that get past down from one generation to the next.  The following table shows some of these words used among the language groups that played a role in the derivation of the surname JONES.  The words of life they are called.

The first column list these words in English, which is the language of my own tongue.  Next is Welsh which seems to be the cultural foundation for our surname JONES.  Latin [the language of the early Christian Church that wrote things down]...French [the language of those folks taking over the Island after 1066]...Greek [the language which clustered in the educated of the day such as priest, clerks, and the record keepers]...and finally Anglo-Saxon [the vernacular] which survived to bring us to the English.

Now what has this got to do with the surname JONES you may be asking.  Well, if you will, take each word in the first column and move its spelling across the other columns, you will see variations among the language groups.  Some spellings are close, but for the Welsh there are dramatic differences.  For example, the word for "Man" is "dyn" in the Welsh, but "homo" in Latin, "homme" in French, an "anthropose" in the Greek.  In the Anglo-Saxon it is "man".  Take some time and look through the words of life.

All this analysis shows how different the Welsh tongue is to our English tongue.  This difference is one main factor in the "phonetic" changes that took place during the course of the chronology of our surname JONES.  The language groups listed above all played a role in the formation and changes to our surname.  Welsh to English passing thorough a group of languages to become JONES.  What a "BIG" picture indeed it is.

Note: This table was put together after many years of trying to piece together why the various spellings of "John" appeared in the documents of the day.  Who would have known?

Saturday, January 23, 2016

A Big...Big...Big Picture 1

Having completed a long series of post on the first JONES to appear in the legal records of England and Wales, I thought it would be helpful to try and put together a "big picture" of this surname.  The next group of posts will present a summary chronology intended to piece together the many years of JONES surname tree climbing that brought me to believe its origin is more "phonetic" than "genetic".  Say what!?...you might be thinking.  Only time will tell [actually the next posts] if the trail to be presented is an accurate description of our surname.  Come follow along and make your own opinion.  Please feel free to correct or make any comments that will help complete our JONES surname story.  So here we go.

Let's begin with our Celtic roots and the languages that formed their distinctive cultural groups.  Language can be defined as the words, their pronunciation, and the methods of combining them used and understood by a considerable community.  What is generally accepted as the "language" roots of the various groups of folks that came to settle the geographic areas where the JONES surname has its highest frequencies is show as follows:

Six distinct cultural groups formed their unique way of communicating.  The Irish, Scottish, and Manx making one branch [Q-Celtic], and the Welsh, Cornish, and Breton forming a second.  It is in Wales that the JONES surname has its highest frequency than anywhere in the world.  What has this to do with the JONES surname I asked at one point in the distant past.  It took some years to sort through this question, but understanding the shared language roots for what has become the present cultures of Ireland, Scotland, the Isle of Manx, and Wales [Cornwall and Brittany not excluded] helped me form a linguistic origin in a bridge to the JONES surname.  A place to begin the first "big picture" it is.

The best reference for this research can be found in "The Celtic World", edited by Miranda J. Green, and published 1995 by Routledge, London.  [Language and society among the Insular Celts 400 - 1000 can be found in Part XI: Celtic Britain Post AD 400, beginning page 703.]

Monday, December 21, 2015


The final county in England and Wales for the surname JONES.  Cornwall it is.  Sort of appropriate since the location titled "Lands End" is here!

Thomas Jones is the name. [bundle 421/no. 27 for the years 1515-1518]  His wife "Margery" is also listed making this a family affair.  An "Alice Bossytherowe, widow" along with Richard Thomas and Robert Thomas bring the case.  The case involves the "detention of deeds relating to a messuage & land in Paul, Penzance, Newlyn, Trevenath".  It sounds like a number of different locations.  Any folks out there know these places?  Here is an example of a case using the JONES surname before the Act of Union 1536.  It is interesting that the ancient Cornish language has the same root as the Welsh...a little of that Celtic blood goes way back.