The Jones Surname – Country of Origin

For the past few days we’ve been engaged in a rather interesting discussion about the country of origin for the surname “Jones”. Our website talks about how the Jones surname is likely to have originated in England (see Jones Last Name Origins), but not all agree with this idea.

Uncovering the origin of the Jones surname is actually quite an interesting exploration because it involves so many elements including language translations, political environments, cultural norms, and many more challenges that have had an impact on how all names are created and passed down through generations.

Popularity of the Jones Surname
Many of us already know that the Jones surname is THE most popular surname in Wales, the second most popular name in England, and the fifth most popular name in the U.S.. BUT do we really know what country the surname of “Jones” originated from?

Jones Surname Origins
We can rule out the U.S. as the place of origin because the first documented Jones living in America (Virginia) was in the year 1587. This leaves us with England or Wales as the the originating country for the surname Jones. Our research leans toward England as being the source of origination, the reason for this is as follows:

  • There is no letter “J” in the Welsh language. There are similar sounding letters in the Welsh language in terms the English pronunciation of “J”, but the letter “J” does not exist in Welsh.
  • The first documented recording of anyone with a Jones surname is listed in the Hundred Rolls of Buckinghamshire (England) in 1279.
  • The Welsh began using last names only after England required their use. Up until then, most Welsh used the Patronymic naming convention to refer to their offspring, for example “Evan son of John”, etc.. The conversion to a fixed last name first began in Wales in the 15th century.

There’s much more behind our research than the above, but this at least gives us a starting point for discussion.

Your Feedback is Needed
We’d love to hear what you’ve found about the origins of the Jones surname. If you’ve done any research into the origins of the Jones surname, or have any interesting stories that might indicate what country the Jones surname originates from, please let us know via a comment below. Naturally, if you have any documented proof of anyone with the last name of Jones that lived prior to the year 1279, we’d love to hear about it!