Thursday, February 24, 2011

Impact, The Act of Union 1536

The following figure represents a summary of information abstracted from a series of publications which indexed the Public Records Office of Great Britain. The reference is titled: "An Index of Ancient Petitions, Great Britain Public Records Office, List and Indexes." I used this index to abstract the legal records of England for the surname JONES. In 1994, I published these results in my newsletter entitled: "The Jones Genealogist". It is copied here to provide the results of this research for the appearance of the JONES surname in England and Wales before and after the Act of Union 1536. It shows that the surname JONES did not appear in the legal records in Wales before 1538. The surname JONES begins to appear in England starting around 1500, but it was not until 1558 that a large number of cases using the surname JONES appears. Those first appearing in England represent the Welsh who had already followed the Tudors. As English law became that of Wales, the JONES surname begins to appear in the legal records. [Please note that this newsletter is copyrighted, Library of Congress No. 6192-01064476.] Future post will go into more detail from this research, but since my JONES surname begins during this time period, I thought it would be a good place to show how the Act of Union impacted the derivation of the JONES surname and all other Welsh surnames!

At this time in Welsh history, the English had a very biased view of the Welsh naming system. Jokes, poems, and plays were written by the English about the ancient Welsh system of genealogical naming. Cheese, for example, was described as:

"Adam's own cousin-german by its birth ap curds ap milk ap cow ap grass ap earth."

An English judge in 1540 is credited with the following verse"

"Take ten," he said, "and call them Rice;

Take other ten, and call them Price;

Take fifty others, call them Pughes;

A hundred more, I'll dub them Hughes;

Now Roberts name some hundred score;

And Williams name a legion more;

And call, "he moaned in languid tones,

"Call all the other thousands--Jones."


The Jones Genealogist, Vol.1, No.1, May/June, 1989, p. 3-4.

The Jones Genealogist, Vol.VI, No.4, Nov/Dec, 1994, p. 1

List of Early Chancery Proceedings, Preserved In The Public Record Office, Kraus Reprint Corp., NY, 1963.

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