Sunday, June 19, 2011

Jones Surname to Virginia 1635 - 1656

The early settlement of Virginia was a very difficult and costly experiment for those willing to come to a new land. There was a high death rate and very primitive living conditions. The motivation for coming to such a place under such circumstances must have been strong.

Following the Indian uprising of 1622, an investigation in England was made into the London Company and its ability to manage the Virginia settlements. Interestingly, this investigation was headed by Sir William Jones, Lord Mayor of London.

The charter of the London Company was annulled and Virginia became a royal colony. This action meant that the company lost control of lands and peoples. This also meant that the new settlements would come under the protection of the Crown which would help stabilize and organize the colony. Royal officials provided a count of the colonist in the Muster list of 1624/25. This "muster" list recorded 1218 individuals, 934 males and 270 females. Seventy-six percent were below the age of 30 years and 89% were born in Britain or Europe.

By 1630, the population had doubled within the 27 distinct settlements. This marked increase lead the colony to develop the county system. In 1634, a Virginia assembly divided the settlements into eight divisions or counties. These counties and their populations were as follows: 1) Henrico - pop. 419, 2) Charles City - pop. 511, 3) James City - pop. 886, 4) Warwick - pop. 811, 5) Warrasqueoc (Isle of Wight) - pop. 522, 6) Elizabeth City - pop. 854, 7) Charles River (Yorke) - pop. 510, and 8) Accomack (Northampton) - pop. 396. These early counties provided governmental functions and local magistrates or "justices of the peace". These counties also provided the records and accounts of the early settlers for each area. A total of 216 Joneses immigrated to Virginia during the period 1635 - 1656. The figure above shows the pattern of this Jones Surname immigration. It clearly shows that the Jones' immigration was impacted by the civil war in England. A second wave of immigration begins after the Commonwealth is established in England.

Data abstracted from The Jones Genealogist, Vol. 1, No.3, Sept./Oct., 1989, pp.1-3.

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