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!? 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.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015


Bounded on the north by the Bristol channel, and on the south by the English channel one hundred and thirty miles of sea coast line this county.  A maritime county it is with Plymouth being a historic center of colonial settlement.  The geographer Ptolemy named it Damnonium, and it has been named by the Cornish, Welsh, Anglo-Saxons, and others various names relating to it surface characteristics.

The first Jones is identified as "Joan Jones" being very early in the legal records [Bundle 7/ No. 158].  This would place the case fairly early in 1485, and be one of the few females to be involved in the legal actions of the day.  A George Jones of Plymouth appears after 1558 [Bundle 260/ No. 30] and would suggest "sea faring" activity.  Any Jones families out there connected.

Friday, November 6, 2015


Another John Jones it is.  The name appears in case bundle 99/ no. 68 for the years 1558 - 1579.  The case involves a "Robert Bastarde" with the reason given "Blandford Forum".  A number of cases involving a John Jones of Lyme Regis follows for the years 1558 - 1603.  I suspect that this is the same fellow, but it may be another.   A Rowland Jones and a William Jones also appear around the same time period [1558 - 1603] and may be related.  The Dorset sheep and their wool were a major activity during this time.  Those from Wales would know all about the wool and sheep business.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015


Being a maritime county, the Bristol Channel [to the northwest] played a major role in this counties activities.  From the earliest days of Tudor reign, the JONES surname appears.  John Jones it is of course, related to a tenement in Yeovil. [Bundle 9/ no. 57]  The case was brought by a Thomas Lane, and a bundle number of 9 would indicate that it was very early in the 1485 - 1547 records.  A fair number of JONES surname cases are involved in this counties records prior to 1547.  A very active group indeed.  I suspect that it dealt with the trade and merchant activity around the port of Bristol.

Monday, September 14, 2015


According to A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis [Vol.II, p.483], Wiltshire derives its name from Wilton, which for a long period before the Norman invasion was the principle town.  It appears to have been a location of much warfare following the Norman rise to power.  Interestingly, the legal warfare of the JONES surname seems to occupy a number of cases.  [30 cases in my research]

John Jones, of Kyvele, was the first to break through the records [Bundle 1444/No. 80] for the years 1556 - 1558.  The case involves "...action on a bond for an award concerning land".   A John Pryor is the plaintiff.  The name "John Jones" continues through the next set of records 1558 - 1603.  Keevil, Norton, Nettleton, and  New Sarum, seem to be the location of many cases.  The JONES surname continues through 1707 when my searching stopped.  Any folks still around these areas?  Wiltshire seemed a busy place for the JONES surname.