Origin and History of the Surname Jones

On the maternal side of our family tree, my generation's uncle DeRand Jones traced our ancestral family back as far as Lewis Jones, a farmer who came from Virgina to Kirkwood Township, Belmont County, Ohio, in 1816.

In 1817 Lewis married Rebecca McPherson, daughter of Rev. John Wesley McPherson and Ann Smallwood Acton Mcpherson, and it's from them that we descend. Their stories are (or will be) included elsewhere on this blog.

When researching the Jones family crest I found many versions. Because the name spread widely throughout the British Isles, variations of the crest can found in English, Scottish, Welsh and Irish versions. The ones presented here are examples of what I found.


The motto in the crest is in Welsh, and is a shortened version of, "Heb Dduw, heb ddim. Duw yn ddigon.", which in English means, "Without God, [we are] without anything. God is enough."



Following is information on the origin and history of the surname Jones.

"This famous surname, widespread throughout the British Isles, and the most popular surname in Wales, one in ten Welsh people being so-called, is nethertheless of English medieval origins. It derives either from the male given name John, or its female equivalent Joan, both Norman French introductions after the 1066 Invasion [of England].

Both names are written as Jon(e) in medieval documents, and a clear distinction between them on the grounds of gender was not made until the 15th Century. However, because western society has almost invariably had a male as family head throughout history, bearers of the surname Jones are more likely to derive it from a patronymic form of John, than a matronymic form of Joan. The personal name John, ultimately from the Hebrew 'Yochanan' meaning 'Jehovah has favoured (me with a son)', has always enjoyed enormous popularity in Europe, and particularly so after the famous Crusades of the 12th century.

The name, which is found in some four hundred spellings, is in honour of St. John the Baptist, the precursor of Christ. The surname as 'Jones', first appears on record in England in the latter part of the 13th Century, and also features as one of the most numerous settler names in Ireland, having been introduced in the wake of the Anglo - Norman Invasion of 1170.

It is now found in every Irish county, especially in the larger towns, and has also been Gaelicized as 'MacSeoin'. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Matilda Jones, which was dated 1273, in the 'Hundred Rolls of Huntingdonshire', during the reign of King Edward 1st, known as 'The Hammer of the Scots', reigned 1272 - 1307."

Last revised 8/28/2010

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