Wednesday, January 27, 2016

A Big...Big...Big Picture 2

Writing or speaking words become the threads that bind a cultural group together in this world of experiences.  Events of life like birth, death, and all the places in between, are packaged in words that get past down from one generation to the next.  The following table shows some of these words used among the language groups that played a role in the derivation of the surname JONES.  The words of life they are called.

The first column list these words in English, which is the language of my own tongue.  Next is Welsh which seems to be the cultural foundation for our surname JONES.  Latin [the language of the early Christian Church that wrote things down]...French [the language of those folks taking over the Island after 1066]...Greek [the language which clustered in the educated of the day such as priest, clerks, and the record keepers]...and finally Anglo-Saxon [the vernacular] which survived to bring us to the English.

Now what has this got to do with the surname JONES you may be asking.  Well, if you will, take each word in the first column and move its spelling across the other columns, you will see variations among the language groups.  Some spellings are close, but for the Welsh there are dramatic differences.  For example, the word for "Man" is "dyn" in the Welsh, but "homo" in Latin, "homme" in French, an "anthropose" in the Greek.  In the Anglo-Saxon it is "man".  Take some time and look through the words of life.

All this analysis shows how different the Welsh tongue is to our English tongue.  This difference is one main factor in the "phonetic" changes that took place during the course of the chronology of our surname JONES.  The language groups listed above all played a role in the formation and changes to our surname.  Welsh to English passing thorough a group of languages to become JONES.  What a "BIG" picture indeed it is.

Note: This table was put together after many years of trying to piece together why the various spellings of "John" appeared in the documents of the day.  Who would have known?

Saturday, January 23, 2016

A Big...Big...Big Picture 1

Having completed a long series of post on the first JONES to appear in the legal records of England and Wales, I thought it would be helpful to try and put together a "big picture" of this surname.  The next group of posts will present a summary chronology intended to piece together the many years of JONES surname tree climbing that brought me to believe its origin is more "phonetic" than "genetic".  Say what!? might be thinking.  Only time will tell [actually the next posts] if the trail to be presented is an accurate description of our surname.  Come follow along and make your own opinion.  Please feel free to correct or make any comments that will help complete our JONES surname story.  So here we go.

Let's begin with our Celtic roots and the languages that formed their distinctive cultural groups.  Language can be defined as the words, their pronunciation, and the methods of combining them used and understood by a considerable community.  What is generally accepted as the "language" roots of the various groups of folks that came to settle the geographic areas where the JONES surname has its highest frequencies is show as follows:

Six distinct cultural groups formed their unique way of communicating.  The Irish, Scottish, and Manx making one branch [Q-Celtic], and the Welsh, Cornish, and Breton forming a second.  It is in Wales that the JONES surname has its highest frequency than anywhere in the world.  What has this to do with the JONES surname I asked at one point in the distant past.  It took some years to sort through this question, but understanding the shared language roots for what has become the present cultures of Ireland, Scotland, the Isle of Manx, and Wales [Cornwall and Brittany not excluded] helped me form a linguistic origin in a bridge to the JONES surname.  A place to begin the first "big picture" it is.

The best reference for this research can be found in "The Celtic World", edited by Miranda J. Green, and published 1995 by Routledge, London.  [Language and society among the Insular Celts 400 - 1000 can be found in Part XI: Celtic Britain Post AD 400, beginning page 703.]