Monday, November 18, 2013

First JONES Surname In Wales By County

The following table summarizes the last series of posts discussing the first to have the JONES surname in Welsh counties between 1500 - 1560.  It puts together (by date) those who first appear in the English legal records of the day.  The name of the Welsh county is given first, followed by the year that a individual with the surname JONES appears in that county.  This is followed by the name of the individual as recorded in the legal records.   The date of the post which discusses this county, and gives the documentation of each individual presented is shown. 

Anglesey is the only Welsh county during this period that did not have an individual appear with the JONES surname.  Glamorgan is only Welsh county to have a JONES surname appear before the Act of Union 1536.  There are a variety of first names with only "William" occurring twice.  This figure will provide at least a starting date and location for the genealogist seeking the origin of the JONES surname in Wales.

Thursday, October 31, 2013


The last county in Wales to be listed is the first (earliest) county in Wales to show the surname JONES.  Of course, it had to be "John Jones"...:-).  It is the county of Glamorgan.

John Jones was identified as the "son & exec." of Jankyn ap John [1515 - 1518] (bundle 421/ no. 72).  The case had to do with the lease of "...1/2 the mills of Cardiff held by the s'd Jankyn of John Howell, baker".

Now Tacitus was the first to describe these folks in his "The Life of Agricola".  He writes:

"The dark complexion of the Silures, their usually curly hair, and the fact that Spain is the opposite shore to them, are an evidence that Iberians of a former date crossed over and occupied these parts."
These Romans were to take control of this area by 84 AD. 

It would seem that the legal system of England had already established its influence well before the Act of Union" 1536.

Well, say hello to John Jones, the first to take this surname in Wales.

The history of Glamorganshire can be found in Nicholas, Vol. I, pp. 458 - Vol.II - 648.  The reference to Tacitus can be found in "The Historians of Ancient Rome", ed. Ronald Mellor, p.399.

Monday, October 14, 2013


The name of the confluence of the river "Monnow" with the Wye [Aber-Mynwy] became the mouth [aber] of the Monnow, translated in the English Mon-mouth.  First the site, then the town, and then the county it became.

The first of the Jones surname was Hugh "Jonys", 1538 - 1544. [bundle 1016/ no. 59]  A Maude Jevan, daughter and heir to Jevan ap Griffith (1504 -1515); a Jenkin ap Jevan, carpenter (1538 - 1544); and Edward Jeyn, yoeman (1538 - 1544) were also found.   Hugh Jonys was identified as "groom of the King's Chamber, and nephew and heir of Edward "Davyd" clerk.  The spelling of "Jones" begins with a David Jones (1547 - 1551) [bundle 1238/no. 38] which again shows the transition from "Jevan" to "Jonys", to "Jones".

A discussion of Monmouthshire can be found in Nicholas, Vol. II, pp. 715 - 787.

Saturday, September 28, 2013


There is a fairly lengthy discussion as to the origin of the name Carmarthen found in Nicholas. [Vol. I, pp. 211-212]  He concludes that the most likely source for the name comes from the nearly 400 years of Roman occupation which produced Caermardin.  [a fortified point situation near the sea] 

The first of the JONES surname to appear in this county's legal records was Griffith Jones, 1553-1555. [bundle 1362/ no. 66-69]  He is identified as "...of Wickhambreux, co. Kent, yeoman".  His case is against "David Jevan ap Rice" relating to land in Llanedy,  "late of Mabeley Howell, dec'd, mother of complainant".  The first JONES in Carmarthen is found to be Thomas Jones, 1558-1579 [bundle 99/ no. 27] in a case against Griffin ap Owen. 

Names like "Jevan ap Jevan ap Jenkyn", "Jevan ap David ap Hoell", and "Howell ap Rice ap Muryke", make the records difficult to sort through the connections.  Such is the case during this period of annexation.

Thursday, September 5, 2013


Pembroke takes its name from the Welsh pen [head, extreme part ], bro [region, district ], and og or wg [ a terminal particle applied in old Welsh to an inhabited region ].  The more ancient name was Dyfed, and called Dimetia by the Romans.  Pembroke is certainly situated at the "end" of Wales.

The first of the JONES surname was Owen.  His case is found in Bundle 242/ No. 66 which is dated 1558 - 1603.  It is unclear the exact date of the case, thus Owen Jones would be found after 1558 and before 1603.  Interestingly, Owen [Bowen] also becomes a surname [ ab Owen ] that were to share some of the same Y-chromosomes but with different surnames.   A full account of Pembrokshire can be found in Nicholas, Vol. II, pp. 832 - 911.

At any rate, say hello to Owen Jones, the first of this surname to appear in the English legal records.

Friday, August 9, 2013


There is some discussion as to the origin of the name Brecon.  One belief is that a Welsh chieftain named Brychan, who came from Ireland, name the area.  The term wg, or og , was used to signify a region, or county.  Thus Brychein-wg became the country of Brychan.

Roger Jones is the first of this surname to be found in the legal records.

His case is dated 1547 - 1551 [Bundle 1238/ No. 45-46 ].  It deals with the "messuage" in Llywel (Thwewell).  Interestingly, it list Roger Jones as the son of Roger Evans who in the English is called Jones.   Here is clear documentation that Roger Evans [Ievan] had a son Roger Jones.  The case is against John Gefrey and Margaret verch [daughter] of Thomas ap Rosser who was the wife of John Gefrey.  Here the term "verch" is the Welsh word for daughter.

Say hello to Roger Jones who's father is Roger Evans.

The history of Brecon [Breconshire, Brecknock] can be found in Nicholas, Annals and Antiquities of The Counties and County Families of Wales, pp. 53 - 122.

Friday, July 19, 2013


According to Nicholas, Cardigan is a compressed form of the ancient Welsh name Ceredigion, so called after Ceredig or Caredig, a legendary king.  After the Statutes of Rhuddlan [Edward I days], it became the English designation of this area of Wales.

Thomas Jones was the first to appear in the legal records of Cardiganshire 1558.  The plaintiff was John ap Rice ap Powell, and the reason for the suit was a messuage (land and its content) called Tyre dan Yrattgahe alias "Trye evan back". [bundle 99/ No. 40]  This records again shows the transition between the Welsh naming system "John ap Rice ap Powell" to "Thomas Jones". In the Welsh system of naming this would be "Thomas ap John ap Rice ap Powell".

Well say hello to Thomas Jones of Cardigan...the first to greet the pages of English documents in this county of Wales.

The history of Cardigan can be found in Nicholas, Vol. I, pp.123-189.

Monday, June 24, 2013


The name "redenor" is first mentioned in the Annales Cambriae around 1196 AD when the "Lord Rhys" burned things down.  In the Welsh it was known a Maes-hyfed and Maes-hyfaidd which implies the place where a summer-like fair was held.  I guess that is why one from another area wanted to burn things to the ground.

William Jones appears in the legal records between 1547 - 1553. [Bundle 14/No. 96]  He seems to continue his legal activity through 1579 appearing often in debt during this time.  The spelling Jevan appears as early as 1538 [Bundle 1015/No. 76] such as "Jevan ap Mezzer" of Woebley.  The "seizure of goods and occupation of mortgaged lands..." was the cause of several legal actions.  This again shows the transition between implementation [Act of Union 1536], and the reality of new laws upon the land.

A discussion of Radnorshire can be found in Nicholas, Vol. II, p. 912 - 927.

Saturday, May 25, 2013


It was during the year of the conquest of England [1066] that a fellow named Roger de Montgomgery was created Earl of Shrewsbury and Arundel.  It was in the French, English, and Latin languages that this area became know by his name, Montgomery.  It was of course still part of the ancient Welsh Powys, but you know, to the victors go the history books.

The first JONES I could find was Lewis Jones. 

In Nicholas, p. 812, he is listed as "Lewis Jones, Esq. [ or ap John, son of John = John's ]  Nicholas goes on to state "Of him little is known."  He seems to have had some Tudor connections for he is found as "High Sheriff " 1542, 1545, and again in 1558.

The English legal records list a "Richard Joones" [1547-1551] dealing with land in Llanfechan at the bequest of Griffith Jones. [Bundle 1238/ no. 56-60 ].  During this transition period the Norman spelling "Jevan"
is frequently used as in "Edward ap Jevan" and "David ap Jevan".  It would seem that the spelling "Jones" was established consistently by 1558.

Friday, April 26, 2013


Merion, who from Welsh ancestry, was of lineal descent from Cunedda. He is credited with saving north Wales from the Irish after the fall of Rome, thus giving his name to this ancient territorial designation.  Thus, "Meirionydd" was the district over which he ruled.

The first with the surname JONES recorded in the English legal records for this area was William Jones, 1547 - 1551. [Bundle 1238/ No. 50]  He his described as "an infant by Edward Pery his guardian".  In this record, the reasons for the suit had to do with "messuages" [land] in "Llandecwyn" which was owned by Humphrey Jones, "father of complainant".  Therefore, William Jones is listed by case in the records, but Humphrey Jones would have to be alive in the area before this time.  "John ap Evan ap Rice" and "Rice ap Jevan" were listed as "Plantiff(s)".  This again shows how the English records related to the surname JONES and the name John/Jevan.

 A map is shown of Merioneth, and its general geographic location in Wales.

 A detailed discussion of Merionethshire and its history can be found in Annals and Antiquities of The Counties and County Families of Wales, by Nicholas, Vol. II, pp. 649-714.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


Edward I continued to slice and dice the ancient comots of Wales under the Statute of Rhuddlan 1283.  The ancient region know as Tegaingl was to become Flintshire.  Ironically, the very town of Rhuddland is in this county where the very statue was signed in 1283.

The first JONES recorded in the English legal records was Edward Jones, 1544. [Bundle 1135/No. 30]
His suit was against  "Edward Puelston, esq., son and heir of Roger Puelston, knt."  Both these folks ended up being connected to my own JONES family tree.  Various geographic locations such as "Mastyn" [Mostyn], "Basingwerk"[ Basingwerk Abby], Pengwern, and Holywell were play a role in my JONES family history.  Several of these locations are shown in the figure below in the context of of northeast Wales.

The geographic relationships between Chester, Wrexham, Llangollen, and St.Asaph are shown.  It was in this area that my JONES family took its roots.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


The first English document using the name "Denbigh" is found 24 October, 1282, under Edward I. [Calendar of Patent Rolls, Vol. 2, p.38-39 ]  Before this time, it seems to have been referred to a "Perfedd-wlad" meaning the interior land.  There were four "cantrefs" which could be viewed as our counties of today.  These were 1) Rhos, 2) Rhyfoniog, 3) Ystard, and 4) Dyffryn.  These cantrefs were to play an important role in my own JONES surname family tree.

The first JONES (spelled Johnes) was Robert Johnes, listed as "vicar of Llanvau" [ Llan-fairdyffryn-clwyd] in the records of 1553 - 1555. [bundle 1363/no.55-56]  A John Jevans (1538), and a  Jeavan ap Griffith ap David ap Tuder (1544) appear before Robert, which show how the spellings were being listed.

Interestingly, it is recorded that "Thomas ap Jevan ap David ap Blethyn, alias Thomas Jones" is clearly listed [bundle 1363/ no. 62] during the same time period 1553 - 1555.  This shows the transition from the Welsh naming system to the English surname system. 

It is my own JONES family that has its earliest bridge from the Welsh to the English naming system during this transition period, and from this geographic area.  What a deal!

Thursday, March 21, 2013


This northwestern most part of Wales was first known as Arfon.  This meaning over against, or near, the island of Mon (Anglesey).  Caer' narfon thus meaning the stronghold (fort) in Arfon.  Snowdon (3,471 ft.) rises quickly from the shore giving a natural boundary to this land.

The earliest JONES is dated 1538 - 1544.  The case is found in bundle 1016/ No. 49.  The suit is in the name of Sampson Jones of London, but listed as the son and heir of Humphrey Jones.  The Plaintiff (s) is listed as Richard ap Evan ap Davy, clerk.   The reason is "detention of deeds relating to land in Arduddaye & elsewhere".  It would seem that Sampson Jones had moved to London (usually a step to represent the family's interest/business/trade), and his (most likely) relative, questioned part of the inheritance.  Certainly a never ending story it is.

The following figure shows the geographic position of Carnarvon.

 A detailed history and discussion of Carnarvon can be found in Annals and Antiquities of The Counties and County Families of Wales, by Nicholas, Vol. I, pp. 309 - 364.

The surname JONES is found next 1558 [Richard Jones and Margaret , bundle 100/ no. 38] and continues at a steady pace from this period of records. [ 1558 - 1579 ]

Monday, March 11, 2013


The JONES surname first appears in the records of history over a fairly short period.  For Wales,  there is a distinct pattern that forms for the JONES surname based upon a number of factors.  Geography, annexation pattern, resistance to English rule, and family are just a few of these factors.  The next series of post will present my research into the JONES surname as it appears in the English legal records of Wales.

This post begins with Anglesey.  It is the most northwestern segment of Wales with a very distinct history.  It is also the place where the JONES surnames appears the least among the counties of Wales.  The figure shown below shows the geographic location.

As Anglesey, it was first created a county by the Statute of Rhuddlan (Statutum Wallie of 12 Edward I,  March 3, 1284 AD)  Prior to this, it was generally a part of the Welsh kingdom of Gwynedd know as Mon. [Ynys in Welsh is island.]  The Act of Union 1536, brought English to the island as the only official language of the courts.  The following is the recorded names as written for "John".

"Jevan ap Llewelyn ap Howel"  1544 - 1547 [bundle/no. = 1135/3-6]
"Hugh ap David ap Jevan"  1558 - 1579 [bundle/no. = 102/35]
"Owen ap Jevan" 1558 - 1579 [bundle/no. = 103/11]
     in suit with "John ap Jevan ap Meredith"
"Richard ap Thomas ap John" 1558 - 1579 [bundle/no. 103/34]
"Agnes vergh David ap John" 1558 - 1579 [bundle/no. 103/50]
     in suit with "Hugh ap John ap William ap Eigan"

No JONES surname appears during this period.  You can see the Norman-French influence with the spelling "Jevan".  The English spelling "John" then starts to appear.

A detailed history of Anglesey is given in Nicholas, Annals and Antiquities of The Counties and County Families of Wales, Vol. I,  pp. 1-52.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Derivation of The JONES Surname

The formation of a word from another word or base is called its derivation.  Sort of like a "word" family tree as might be viewed  in our world of genealogy.  The following diagram shows such a derivation for our surname JONES.
Sumerian writing started things off some time around 2800 BC. Symbols for sounds with the swipe of a little stick.  Who would have thought?  The Chaldean, then Hebrew languages soon followed giving the context, in words, for the first appearance of the name on the written thoughts of man. [ Recorded in the first book of Chronicles, chapter 25, verse 4 around 970 BC.]

When Alexander got around to taking the world by storm (334 - 325 BC), the Greek language became the language of the world.  Around 285 BC, the scholars in Alexandria translated the Hebrew writings into the Greek language which is called the Septuagint.  Little did they know that another group called the Romans would replace their language with that Latin.  (265 BC - 44 BC) 

It took the next 400 years for the Latin to be written by those of the Christian faith into the form that was to become the name JOHN.  With the spread of Christianity (600 AD - 1100 AD) the name of JOHN took on its on significance.  The Celtic Church, the Norman (French), the Anglo-Saxon and many other groups of folks took the name to give to their sons.  Each language giving its own pronunciation and spelling.  The Welsh of Celtic origins, had no "J" in their alphabet, and it took the Anglo-Saxon under Norman conquest to finally make the transliteration JOHN.  [Welsh "J" sound was written "Si".]  When the three Edwards [I,II, III], and finally the Tudors, ended the process of Welsh annexation [The Act of Union, 1536]  the name JOHN was transliterated to become the surname JONES.  This was often the case when one of those Welshmen told their names in the English courts as William ap John ap Thomas ap Rys ap Peter... are you kidding me...I am not going to write that down in these English records.  Besides, you have to speak English now, and that sounds like JONES to me!

Well, there you have it... the derivation of the JONES surname.  Who would have believed it?

Monday, February 11, 2013

The First JONES Family 1312

Matilda Jones was the first to carry the JONES surname in English records 1279 AD. [As discovered to date.]  I thought it would be of interest to present the first JONES family that I have been able to establish in the English records.  By this, I mean the first family to be recorded as "husband", "wife", "son", and "daughter".  His name was Philip Jones and his wife was named Edith.  They appear 20 August, 1312 in Warwickshire as husband and wife.  The documents of this family continue from 1312 to the 3rd of March 1389/90!  The following map shows the position of Warwickshire (home to Philip), in relationship to Huntingdonshire (home of Matilda).
In 1086 (Domesday account), Warwickshire consisted of two sections.  One being mostly isolated farms, and one being cultivated farms on open land.  The first "Earl of Warwick" was named from lands inherited here and his family was to play a large part in my own JONES family in Wales.

The documents of Philip and Edith Jones can be found in Gregory family of Stivichall, Warwickshire, Catalogue Ref. DR10.  In Documents of Title, Deeds and Papers, Kingshill in Stoneleigh, the name Philip Jones appears as witness among many others. (ref. DR10/1118)  Over the next 40 years, Philip Jones had certain "tenements" by 1320.  The records show that Philip had a son and daughter, brother, sister-in-law, and father.  On 10 December 1352, Philip is described as "son of" William Jones. 

The land of Philip Jones (has tenements on both sides) is joined by the lands of "Thomas de Thorndon".   The Thornton family becomes connected to my Jones family for generations to come!

Well say hello to Philip and Edith Jones.  The first JONES family to find the light of English records.

[A detailed account and analysis of this JONES family is contained in my research notebook #21.]

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Jones In Virginia 1623 - 1666

My own JONES surname family tree climbing starts in least on this side of the great pond.  Over the years [now 53 of them] genealogy has involved a study of land grants and patents.  For me, this has involved a great deal of research into these subjects from the earliest settlement of Virginia.  My research is contained in a series of notebooks that cover many topics and areas of interest. [ See my blog entitled:  The Jones Genealogist Research Notebooks.]  Notebook #205 contains my work on a coding system of those who's JONES surname appears in the abstracts of Virginia land patents and grants 1623 - 1666. [ Cavaliers and Pioneers by Nugent.]  The table below is a copy of a page from this collection.

It is basically a chronology of the JONES surname as it appears with Elizabeth (JO-1) and runs to Evan (JO-651).  It was my attempt to help separate (by coding) the many, many, and many JONES who shared the same first name.   These folks were then arranged alphabetically [in this notebook] so that one could "look-up" a first name, and then research how this group, sharing this first name, could be organized and studied.  For me, this was necessary since my JONES family tree had so many branches which crossed one another.   Wow...who would have thought that this method helped open several important doors to the past, and helped cross the great pond to the other side.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A Matilda Jones Update

Over the past several days, Stephen Rettie (Glasgow, Scotland) and Tanner Ritchie (Ontario, Canada) have been discussing with me the documentation of Matilda Jones.  Stephen Rettie provided access to "Rotuli Hundredorum" [The Hundred Rolls] from work completed by Tanner Ritchie, and I was able to read from the documents [in Latin] the record of Matilda Jones!  It is found in Vol. 2, p. 648, and is dated the 12th of March in the 7th year reign of Edward I.  This would be in the year 1279, and not in 1273 when the rolls were started as I have previously posted.

The Latin was translated by Tanner Ritchie, and it reads that Matilda held 4 acres of land, and a half acre of orchard.  She was required to pay an annual rent of 2 shillings, and provide a number of services to the Abbot of Thorney.  This included help with harvest, milling, and hunting.  I have concluded this was the Abbot of Thorney, which was located in Stibbington  (Stebintone/tune) a parish in the hundred of Norman-Cross. 

It has taken roughly 25 years for me to find this documentation of Matilda Jones!  [for myself]  Thank you beyond words to Stephen Rettie and Tanner Ritchie for providing this update to the first JONES in the English records. 

If anyone has additional information, please post.    I have not been able to find anyone with the JONES surname before this date in any historical document or records.  Anyone that has documentation before this date, please let all the readers know.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Irish Counties and The Jones Surname

From Latin and Norman French, English was first written in the legal records of Ireland in the city of Waterford, 1365.  [Kilkenney 1434, Dublin 1450's, and Galway 1485 ]  From this English language, the Jones surname appears.

The figure below shows the counties in Ireland that had recorded a Jones family with a coat of arms before 1840.  These arms were recorded in Burke, 1884 edition,  pp.548 - 549.

Dublin had eight families, with Meath and Kildare having two Jones families.  Wrexford, Sligo, Leithrim, and Londonderry had one each.  The earliest JONES is "Sir Roger Jones, knighted at Drogheds, 24 March 1606".  These Irish counties would be the first to begin the JONES surname.

This research is from my own documents [RN # 23, RN # 88].  There is much to be learned regarding the Irish Jones families.  Any Irish JONES families out there?  Please post...:-).

For an outline of this research see