If you’re just getting started with Jones genealogy and family history research, then welcome, you are in the right place.
One of the largest challenges that you’ll face when doing Jones genealogy is that you’re going to see long lists of people that share the Jones last name.
In fact, in the 2000 US census, the surname Jones was the fifth most common surname recorded. The Jones surname also ranks near the top in England and is number one in Wales.
As mentioned, the impact of this on your research is that you’ll bump into lengthy lists of names whenever you search a publication index or conduct an online search for individuals with the Jones last name.
Obviously it would be easier to search for an individual or family with a less common surname. But, we’re here to tell you that it is possible to make that search for your Jones ancestors just as easy as it is for anyone with a less common family name.
One of the keys to making your Jones genealogy research as easy as possible is that you’ll need to learn how to narrow your search for Jones family members. As obvious as this may seem, this one step alone will save you countless hours of sifting through endless listings or indexes of non-related Joneses.
How this is accomplished? Well, it’s quite simple and is really just a matter of applying a simple method to your search. What you basically want to do is to learn how to use only certain information that uniquely identifies your Jones ancestor or family.
Sounds a bit obvious, right? Well as obvious as it may sound, most beginning genealogists do not know how this is accomplished.
First of all, make sure that you’re starting out with as much information as possible about your Jones family members. You’ll want to try to start out with an individual’s name, a birth location and a birth date or parent’s name. Review our article titled Genealogy and Family History Overview if you need additional suggestions.
What we’ll do next is to show you an example of how this technique is applied through the use of an advanced census search form on Ancestry.com. If you’d like to test this out on your own, you can get to this search form by clicking here.
We’re basically setting up a sequence of four steps to show you how to narrow those listings of Joneses as follows:
|Step #||Search Item||Search Value||Number of Census
|1||Last Name||Jones||5,495,452||Exact Match|
|2||First Name||Evan||26,089||Exact Match|
|3||Birth Country||United States||1,912||Exact Match|
|4||Father’s First Name||John||67||Exact Match|
As you can see, we have gone from a listing of almost 5.5 million Jones census records in Step #1, down to a listing of only 67 Jones census records in using four different types of search information, a “Last Name”, a “First Name”, a “Birth Country”, and a “Father’s First Name” (or date of birth). That’s it!
Certainly 67 records to sift through is much more manageable than almost 5.5 million records. In addition, the first names “Evan” and “John” are extremely common first names when it comes to the Jones surname, so you can see how much more of an impact this approach is having.
You may be asking what to do if you do not have all of the above information at hand to start out with? Well, the point here is to learn how to use as much as you do know about an individual in order to reduce the list of non-realted Jones. For example, if you don’t have a parent’s first name, try to use a birth date instead.
It may seem like we’ve gotten in a bit deep in terms of “getting started” with Jones Genealogy, but applying this one technique from the start will save you countless hours of work.
So, in summary, when starting out with your Jones family research, learn how to create a more exact search if you plan on searching through large databases that contain the Jones surname. You’ll save countless hours of time and frustration if you learn how to apply and refine this technique.