Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Smith, Brown, Williams, Johnson, and Jones

The following article analyzes the use of first names. It presents the surnames SMITH, BROWN, WILLIAMS, JOHNSON, and JONES that were indexed in the first volume of Cavaliers and Pioneers, 1623-1666.

The first names were identified and grouped by surname. The first name "John" was the most common name used for Smith (67 times), Williams (94 times), Johnson (87 times), and Brown (48 times). It was not the first name used for Jones! (48 times).

William (78 times), Richard (51 times), Thomas (50 times), and then John (48 times) was found to be used as first names for the surname Jones. How about that. Who would have thought that William Jones was more common than John Jones!

John as first name was the most common name used among all the surnames analyzed, totally 344 times. The second most common first name was Thomas (223 times), then William (201 times) and Richard (114 times).

The tables to the right summarize these findings with the first name listed in the right hand column, and the surname across the top.

Interestingly, the many first names used with the surname Jones does not appear used the surname Johnson. This implies that those folks with the surname Johnson did not follow the same pattern of the Joneses! This would suggest to me that the surname Johnson did not share the same origins as the surname Jones.

The surname Williams shared the most first names. This implies that the surname Williams and Jones most likely have common roots. [Good Welsh names.]

Explore the first name usage for yourself, and see what impressions you gain.

The study was published 1999 in The Jones Genealogist, Vol.XI, No.1, May/June issue.

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