Thursday, March 24, 2011

Early English Records and the Jones Surname

As described in the last post, the Domesday Survey represents the earliest records of this new kingdom under William I. The completion of this work was finished by 1086. The date of the next public records did not occur until the 31st year of the reign of Henry I. These records now titled, the Great Roll of the Exchequer, begin their date from 1130 AD. The next records were the Pipe Rolls, and have been a continual record of the English since this time.

A second group of records began during the reign of Henry II (1155-1189). A record of the knight's fees, called the Black Book of the Exchequer, was started. Another record was started being the rolls of the widows and children of the King's tenants. These rolls recorded the ages, lands, and possessions of these folks.

It was during the reign of Richard I (1189-1199) that the proceedings of the royal courts, called Courts of Justice were made. Records now called "Placita of the Curia Regis" and of "Assize".

It was not until the reign of King John (1199-1216) that an unbroken series of records have evolved which include the principle events and persons active in the government of the day. These include rolls of charters, rolls of offerings or gifts (called "oblata" rolls), rolls of letters patent, rolls of liberate. There were also close rolls, which on the back pages, had writs of summons to Parliament. Other records were fine rolls, and Norman rolls. I guess that all the trouble that John had, including the Magna Carta, needed a bunch of records!

With the reign of Henry III (1216-1272) there began extensive records called Patent Rolls. These are the earliest British records that can be accessed through the University of Iowa.[Spent five years at the University of Iowa.] They can be researched [read and searched] fairly easily using the Internet. Just type in "Patent Rolls" and seek University of Iowa. An analysis of the first index of A.D. 1216-1225, does not show a JONES surname. The name John appears with King John taking up most of the space. Only seven other folks with the name John appears. One given as "John, merchant of Piacenza", and the remaining six used with "son of". Thus by 1225, the name John was not common in the English records. The surname JONES did not appear.

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