Monday, December 21, 2015


The final county in England and Wales for the surname JONES.  Cornwall it is.  Sort of appropriate since the location titled "Lands End" is here!

Thomas Jones is the name. [bundle 421/no. 27 for the years 1515-1518]  His wife "Margery" is also listed making this a family affair.  An "Alice Bossytherowe, widow" along with Richard Thomas and Robert Thomas bring the case.  The case involves the "detention of deeds relating to a messuage & land in Paul, Penzance, Newlyn, Trevenath".  It sounds like a number of different locations.  Any folks out there know these places?  Here is an example of a case using the JONES surname before the Act of Union 1536.  It is interesting that the ancient Cornish language has the same root as the Welsh...a little of that Celtic blood goes way back.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015


Bounded on the north by the Bristol channel, and on the south by the English channel one hundred and thirty miles of sea coast line this county.  A maritime county it is with Plymouth being a historic center of colonial settlement.  The geographer Ptolemy named it Damnonium, and it has been named by the Cornish, Welsh, Anglo-Saxons, and others various names relating to it surface characteristics.

The first Jones is identified as "Joan Jones" being very early in the legal records [Bundle 7/ No. 158].  This would place the case fairly early in 1485, and be one of the few females to be involved in the legal actions of the day.  A George Jones of Plymouth appears after 1558 [Bundle 260/ No. 30] and would suggest "sea faring" activity.  Any Jones families out there connected.

Friday, November 6, 2015


Another John Jones it is.  The name appears in case bundle 99/ no. 68 for the years 1558 - 1579.  The case involves a "Robert Bastarde" with the reason given "Blandford Forum".  A number of cases involving a John Jones of Lyme Regis follows for the years 1558 - 1603.  I suspect that this is the same fellow, but it may be another.   A Rowland Jones and a William Jones also appear around the same time period [1558 - 1603] and may be related.  The Dorset sheep and their wool were a major activity during this time.  Those from Wales would know all about the wool and sheep business.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015


Being a maritime county, the Bristol Channel [to the northwest] played a major role in this counties activities.  From the earliest days of Tudor reign, the JONES surname appears.  John Jones it is of course, related to a tenement in Yeovil. [Bundle 9/ no. 57]  The case was brought by a Thomas Lane, and a bundle number of 9 would indicate that it was very early in the 1485 - 1547 records.  A fair number of JONES surname cases are involved in this counties records prior to 1547.  A very active group indeed.  I suspect that it dealt with the trade and merchant activity around the port of Bristol.

Monday, September 14, 2015


According to A Topographical Dictionary of England, by Samuel Lewis [Vol.II, p.483], Wiltshire derives its name from Wilton, which for a long period before the Norman invasion was the principle town.  It appears to have been a location of much warfare following the Norman rise to power.  Interestingly, the legal warfare of the JONES surname seems to occupy a number of cases.  [30 cases in my research]

John Jones, of Kyvele, was the first to break through the records [Bundle 1444/No. 80] for the years 1556 - 1558.  The case involves "...action on a bond for an award concerning land".   A John Pryor is the plaintiff.  The name "John Jones" continues through the next set of records 1558 - 1603.  Keevil, Norton, Nettleton, and  New Sarum, seem to be the location of many cases.  The JONES surname continues through 1707 when my searching stopped.  Any folks still around these areas?  Wiltshire seemed a busy place for the JONES surname.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Hampshire (Southampton)

John Jones was a busy fellow during his days as a merchant of Southampton.  He is also listed in Middlesex which would make sense as a merchant starting around 1558.  His cases are found in [bundle 26/ no. 119], [bundle 86/ no. 29], and [bundle 187/ no. 56].  The cases are indexed: John Jones of Southampton, merchant.  Interestingly, the Isle of Wight just off the coast, did not seem to have anyone with the surname JONES involved in their legal records during this period of study. [Roughly 1300 - 1700.]   I would suspect that the merchants of London used the ports of Hampshire on many occasions. 

Monday, July 20, 2015


According to "A Topographical Dictionary of England" [by Samuel Lewis], Berkshire was anciently called Barocscire, or Berocsire from the Saxon Barroc.  This is a name for a thick wood which occupied an extended tract between Lambourn and Wantage. [ Vol. I, p. 145]  Others believe the name is derived from the word Berroc, which is a bare oak in some part of Windsor Forest.  It was thought that the ancient Britons assembled under these trees for some of their social activity.   At any rate, a Thomas Jones appears to be the first to appear in the legal records of Berkshire.

Thomas Jones 1553 - 1558 [bundle 23/ no. 117] may have seen some of these oaks during his days.  The index does not list the location or reasons for this case, but it appears to be one of the earliest for this set of dates.  A second case is listed for a Thomas Jones 1558 - 1579 at Kennington, but it may not be the same individual. [bundle 99/ no. 9]  A Richard Lyon is named in this case.  Are there any folks related out there?

Saturday, June 13, 2015


The name John Jones is the first to be found in the legal records of Oxford.

The case is fairly early [Bundle 7/ No.13] which begins 1458.  No reasons were listed for the case.  Remember, this is for the county of Oxford, and for the University.  The first JONES to attend Oxford University is a "Richard Joonys" 1505.  I suspect that poor old John is close to 50 years before.

For additional comments see posts [The Jones Surname] 28 Sept. 2011, 9 Oct. 2011, and 6 Feb. 2015.

Saturday, May 9, 2015


The county of Kent lies on the southeastern side of the Island.  It borders the Ocean on one side and the city of London on the other.

The first JONES is Griffith found in bundle 1363/no. 59, for 1553 - 1555.   The plaintiff is a William Lathebery who is after our Griffith for "suppession of account for corn, and false action in the King's and Queen's Bench for a loan".   May the truth be told. 

Saturday, April 25, 2015


A husband and wife duo is the first to be listed in the legal records of Suffolk.  It is recorded as Simon Jones/Joan, wife alais Spencer. [bundle 147/ no. 33 for years 1558 - 1603]

There were only two cases recorded between the years 1558 - 1654.  Not a lot of JONES in hot water here.  Husband and wife named in this suit, which is not common in the index to this collection of records.  No "reason" or "location" was indicated.  I would guess that the maiden name of  Joan Jones was Spencer, for this was a common way for the records to indicate the wife's family name. [Not sure of course.]  Say hello to Simon and Joan from Suffolk county.

Sunday, April 12, 2015


Thomas Jones is the first to find his name among the legal records of Norfolk. [bundle 100/no. 30]  The dates of the records are 1558 - 1579.  The plaintiff is listed as "mayor, King's Lynn".  The reason is the chapel of St. James King's Lynn.  Not sure of what all this means, but it would appear to do with some type of religious reasons.  There were certainly a lot of  religious conflicts underway during this period of time.  Does anyone know additional information?

Thursday, March 26, 2015


Britannia Prima the Romans named this part of  Albion.  It is the site where the Anglo-Saxons are reported to have landed in 477 AD.  At any rate, the first Jones to be recorded is "Frances Jones",
1558 - 1603. [bundle 148/no. 24]

No additional information was recorded in the index used to analyze the Jones surname.

I thought it might be helpful to review the source of this documentation for the readers.  Each post gives the identity of the record as it is listed in "Lists and Indexes" of the Chancery Proceedings, Public Record Office.  One cover sheet is shown below.

The index contains various amounts of information listed in categories: 1) "No." [where the numbers shown with each post- "bundle/no." is derived, 2) "Plaintiff" [the name or names are usually given], 3) "Defendant" [name or names usually given], 4) "Place of Subject" [not always listed or included], and 5) "County" [location of suit recorded].  The records are grouped by the dates of the ruling monarch.  The example shown above is A.D. 1558 - 1579. [The start of Elizabeth I reign.]   Some of my research notes are shown that states there were approximately 6 bundles contained in the 20 years which would be roughly 3.3 years per bundle.  The bundle number refers to the actually group of records.  As you can see then, the record of Frances Jones is stored in bundle 148 and is the 24th record in this bundle.  It is for the years 1558 - 1603.  The numbers in the right upper corner are the library numbers where the indexes are kept. [University of Alabama]  Whew...enough already.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015


William Jones 1553 - 1556 is the first of this surname. [bundle 1363/ no. 63 - 66]  The plaintiff is listed as "Christopher Byttenson" and "Emma his mother".

The case gives the reason for the suit as "refusal of rent of the manors of Long Ditton as reduced by agreement".  It would seem that old William had not paid his rent.  The manors of "Long Ditton" are listed.  Does anyone know if this area still exist? 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015


The spelling of the surname JONES had a variety of expression during the transition period following the Act of Union, 1536 - 1541.  Johns, Joanes, Jons, Jhons, are a few examples.

Here, Edward Johans appears in the legal records [bundle 103/ no.6].  It is a case involving a William Highman.  The "manor of Ashdon (Asshenden) St. Lawrence" is given as the location.  The dates were between 1558 - 1579.   The first name "Edward" was very common during this time, and the Welsh spelled it a variety of ways.  The counties near, and surrounding London were occupied by a number of JONES.

Friday, February 6, 2015


The Romans were the first to found a town at Cambridge.  Later, forest and land were cleared for market towns and villages.  A city of colleges were founded among these lands.  It was William Jones [bundle 104/ no. 65] who finds himself among the legal records 1558 - 1603.

The Jones surname has an interesting origin among the counties of England and Wales.  The following figure shows these distribution of the Jones surname arriving to Cambridge and Oxford for the years 1500 - 1600.

This study would suggest that certain areas [counties] were the primary source to each college system.  Cambridge in the "pink", and Oxford in the "blue".  "White" was the county that had folks with the Jones surname attend both colleges.  "Yellow" did not seem to have any folks with the Jones surname attend either during this period of time.  My own Jones family attended Oxford in the 1500s, and their origins fell within the "blue" distribution. [Counties of Denbigh and Flint.]  What a deal!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

First Names First

A previous post of August 30th, 2011 presented these tables to the reader.  I thought it might be of interest to give them again in light of the surname JONES.  The first volume of  Cavaliers and Pioneers, Abstracts of Virginia Land Patents and Grants 1623 - 1666, by Nugent, was the source for the data presented.  Using the index of this volume, I abstracted the first names that were recorded for the surnames JONES, SMITH, WILLIAMS, JOHNSON, and BROWN.  They were then organized by the most frequent first name used by each surname. [Those that occurred 10 or more times.]

 There were 1486 first names that occurred 10 or more times among all of the surnames.  The most common name was of course JOHN (n = 344/ 23% = 344/1486)  Interestingly, it was not first among those with the surname JONES ( n = 48/ 11% = 48/437)  It was first among those with the surname SMITH ( n = 67/ 28% = 67/236), the surname WILLIAMS (n = 94/ 28% = 94/336), the surname JOHNSON (n = 87/ 29% = 87/299), and the surname BROWN (n = 48/ 27% = 48/178)  Of those having the first name JOHN (n = 344), it was most common among the surname WILLIAMS ( n = 94/ 27% = 94/344 ).  This was followed by the surnames JOHNSON (n = 87/ 25% = 87/344), then the surname SMITH (n = 67/ 19% = 67/344), the the surname BROWN and JONES having equal numbers at 48. ( n = 48/344/14% = 48/344).

The first name William was the most common among the surname JONES! (n = 78/18% = 78/437 )  This was followed by Richard (n = 51/12% = 51/437), then Thomas (n = 50/11% = 50/437) and then JOHN (n = 48/11% = 48/437).  The remaining first names are given in descending order for the surname JONES.  You can see that only the first name James (SMITH), Robert (WILLIAMS/BROWN), and Mary (JOHNSON) fell out of the top four first names.  How the first names listed are distributed among the surnames can be examined.

The following table gives the remaining first names as used among the surnames.

This list would suggest that there were first names used among those with the surname JONES
 that were not used among the others!  For example, none of the names listed were used with the surname SMITH, JOHNSON, and BROWN.   Several were shared with the surname WILLIAMS showing "Morgan" being the most frequent.  The two "Welsh" surnames [JONES/WILLIAMS] with three "English" surnames [SMITH/JOHNSON/BROWN] can be compared.  Hum...a distinction can be made...first names first!

 Figures are taken from my research on the JONES surname first published in my newsletter The Jones Genealogist, Vol. XI, no. 1, May/June, 1999, pp. 6-7.  Copyright included.