Jones Surname Meaning, History & Origin

Select Jones Meaning
The surname Jones is a patronymic (son of) name from Jon
or John.  John had become the most popular first name in England
by the
beginning of the 14th century; and
Jones was the most common
surname in Wales by the 18th century.

Jones Resources on

Select Jones Ancestry

Wales.  The name has been particularly common in Wales
– although the name Jones originated in England and the letter “J”
does not even exist in the Welsh language (John is Ieuan
instead).  John
became popular through the John in the Welsh Authorized version of the

was the only county in Wales to have the Jones name to appear (and then
once) before the Act of Union in 1536.
The names Jevan and Jonys then began to appear and then the first Jones
elsewhere in Wales.
But it was only in the 1600’s that Jones as a
surname started to spread.

old Welsh families who claimed long and noble
lineages adopted the Jones name:

  • the
    Jones of Llanerchrugog in Wrexham in north Wales (from Lord Bleddynap
    and, before that, from Rhodri Mawr)
  • the
    Jones of Cadwgan in Denbighshire (from Cynwrigap Rhiwallon, Lord of
    Maelor Gymraeg)
  • the
    Jones of Albemarlis in Carmarthen (from Lord Dynevor of Carmarthen)
  • and
    Jones of Dol-yn-Edeirnon in Glamorgan (from JeslynapGwrgant, Lord of

Edward Jones of Cadwgan was a
conspirator caught up in an
anti-Elizabeth plot who was executed for treason in 1586

Colonel Philip Jones prospered as a Parliamentarian under
and acquired the Fonmon castle estate in Glamorgan in 1658.  It
with his family until the late 19th century.  Edward Jones started
a legal
practice in Llandovery, Carmarthenshire in the 1770’s which continued
with his
descendants until the 1960’s.

The Welsh Joneses were outnumbering the English
Joneses by approximately two to one by the beginning of the 19th
Jones today is the most common surname in Wales.  Roughly
one in ten people in Wales are called
Jones.  It is to be found in both south and north Wales.

were Welsh Jones that had extended into
England.  Henry Jones of Middleton in
Lancashire was descended from an old Monmouth line.
His son Thomas Jones was appointed Archbishop
of Dublin in 1605.  Later Jones were made
Viscount Ranelagh.  The family, now
extinct, left the Ranelagh name to many places in London.

A Jones family in Shrewsbury prospered from the
Welsh cloth trade, first through William Jones in the early 1600’s and
through his son Thomas who was Shrewsbury’s first mayor in 1638.
descendant was Sir Thomas Jones, Chief Justice in the 1680’s.

The Jones name
first appeared in Shropshire
in 1551.  Sir
Francis Jones, originally from Shropshire, was a London merchant and
several years its Master of the Haberdashers.
He bought the Welford Park estate in Berkshire in 1618 and two
later became Lord Mayor of London:

  • his
    grandson Richard Jones had the present house at Welford Park built in
    the 1650’s, but died there without issue.  
  • Captain
    Lewis Jones who departed England for Roxbury, Massachusetts
    in 1640 may have been related to these Jones (although tradition has it
    that he was born in
    Wales).  Later Jones of his line were
    Loyalists who settled in Canada

There were other Welsh Jones in London during Elizabethan
times, notably the
bookseller Richard Jones and the architect Inigo Jones.  It was
Jones, a Welsh Parliamentarian under Cromwell, who signed the death
warrant for
Charles I in London in 1649.

America.  Early
Jones in America were
of English
origin.  David Jones from Kent was in Charles City, Virginia by
1625 and Robert
Jones from Berkshire had arrived in Hingham, Massachusetts by 1636.  The Thomas Jones from Cardiganshire who
in Henrico county, Virginia in the 1650’s may have been the first Jones

The Rev. Morgan Jones told the following story which may or may not be
true.  In 1666, he said, he was in an
area now known as South Carolina when he was captured by Indians.  They were about to put him to death when he
muttered a few words in Welsh.  Amazingly
they said they understood him and released him.

One noteworthy Welsh
expedition to America in 1818 was led by John Jones, an innkeeper from
Cardiganshire.  Following him were 36
Welshmen and women to new pastures in SE Ohio.
Many more came in their footsteps in the next thirty years so
that the Jackson
and Gallia counties where they settled got known as Little

Canada.  Elisha Jones was a prominent
landowner in Weston,
Massachusetts in the years prior to the Revolutionary War.
But like other Loyalists he had to decamp to Canada at the
of the war.  He settled with his family in
comfortable circumstances in
Augusta township, Ontario.  His son Ephraim and grandson Jonas
were prominent in the early political life of Ontario.

Argentina.  The Rev. Michael Jones, a
minister from Bala in north Wales, was one of the pioneers to establish
a Welsh
colony in Patagonia.  Although he visited
Patagonia in 1882, he did not settle there.
Two of his sons did, however, one to Patagonia and the other
to Buenos Aires.


Jones Miscellany

The First Jones in Wales.  The Act of Union between England and Wales had occurred in 1536 and the English Jones appellation had appeared
in eight counties of Wales by the year 1550.

County Date Name
Glamorgan 1515 John Jones
Monmouth 1538 Hugh Jones
Caernarvon 1538 Humphrey Jones
Montgomery 1542 Lewis Jones
Flint 1544 Edward Jones
Brecon 1547 Roger Jones
Radnor 1547 William Jones
Merioneth 1547 William Jones

Glamorgan had the first
Jones.  John Jones was identified as the
son and executor of Jankyn ap John in 1515.

The source for this material comes from The Jones Genealogist by Jerry E. Jones. 

The First Jones in Shropshire.  The first Jones in
Shropshire was recorded in 1551 as“Roger Jonesof Edmonton, a baker.”  The Welsh context here was strong.  Roger Jones appeared in relation to former
land of “John ap Roger, deceased father of complainant.”  Roger’s Welsh appellation was probably Roger
ap John ap Roger.

Edward Jones the Conspirator.  Edward’s father had been the Keeper of the Wardrobe to
Queen Elizabeth and had served as High Sheriff of Denbighshire in the
1570’s.  He died at his home at
Plas Cadwgan in 1581, having set his young son up in influential London
circles.  It was mixing in this kind of
company that was eventually to lead to Edward’s downfall.

Edward Jones was
recommended to the high-powered courtier the Earl of Leicester.  He subsequently became close friends with one
of Leicester’s proteges and a fellow Denbighshire man, Thomas Salusbury
Lleweni.  It was Salusbury who led Jones
into the murky world of Catholic conspiracies.
The so-called Babington plot (to put Mary, Queen of Scots on the
English throne) was uncovered and the net of conspirators extended to
Jones in
his Denbighshire home.  He was captured,
brought to London, tried, and executed for treason in 1586.

The family home at
Plas Cadwgan was forfeit.  However, the
house itself remained intact, albeit with different owners, until it
eventually demolished in the late 1960’s.

Reader Feedback – Selina Annie Jones, Immigrant to New Jersey.  Selina Annie Jones was born in 1864, possibly in Wales.  Her father was Thomas Jones according to the marriage certificate.  She married Patrick Tobin (born in 1865) in Widnes, Lancashire.  They immigrated in 1889 to Paterson in Passaic county, New Jersey.

Appreciate any help.  Lorrey Talley (

Jones in the 1881 Census.  There were 340,000 Jones
recorded in the 1881 census. The four leading counties for Jones then were:

  • 11%
    in Glamorgan in south Wales
  • 9%
    in Caernarvonshire in north Wales
  • 11%
    in Lancashire
  • and 7% in London.

The name was widely spread by that time.

Elisha Jones’s Ancestry.  Henry David Thoreau wrote the following in his Journal in 1856:

mother’s mother was Mary Jones, the only daughter of Colonel
Elisha Jones of Weston.

had been born
in 1710, the son of Captain Josiah Jones, born in 1670 in Weston.
Captain Josiah
Jones was the son of Josiah Jones of Watertown Farms, born there in
1643.  Josiah Jones was the son of Lewis Jones who appears to have moved
from Roxbury to Watertown about 1650 and died there in

Jones seems to have remained unhonored until one of his descendants,
the late General Edward Jones of Binghamton who commanded the
Sixth Regiment when it was mobbed in the streets of Baltimore in 1861,
the inscription “Lewis Jones,
1645″ to be chiselled in large letters at the top of the great boulder
which he placed on his family lot in Mount Auburn.” 

Michael Jones and the Patagonia Vision.  Michael Jones, a Congregational minister from Bala in north Wales, was the prime mover
behind the Welsh colonization of Patagonia.

While many
Welsh communities in the U.S. prospered, notably in Pennsylvania.  Jones realized that the cultural identity of
these emigrants would be diluted over time. The answer he proposed was
entirely Welsh settlement (Wladfa) free of external control. After
numerous locations, including Palestine, a tract of one hundred square
miles in
the Chubut region of Patagonia was chosen and the agreement of the
government secured.

say he
had combed the earth for a stretch of open country that was
uncontaminated by
Englishness.  He chose Patagonia for its
absolute remoteness and its foul climate.
His colonists weren’t intended to get rich there.

The first 153 Welsh
colonists, including Jones’ son Llwyd, arrived from Liverpool aboard
the Mimosa in June 1865.  Lwyd
settled in Patagonia but was shot by
bandits there in 1909.  Michael
Jones himself visited Patagonia only once, in 1882.  While it is
fair to say that
his vision for a New Wales was not completely fulfilled, this
remarkable region
continues to bear unmistakable traces of Welshness.


Jones Names

  • Inigo Jones, born in London of Welsh parentage in 1573, is considered the first significant British architect of the modern era.
  • Edward Jones was an 18th century Welsh harpist and bard.
  • Davy Jones was a nickname for
    the devil of the sea; from which comes the expression “Davy Jones locker.”
  • John Paul Jones, born
    in Scotland, was an American naval hero of the Revolutionary War.
  • Edward Jones, a statistician, was in 1882 the co-founder of the Dow-Jones index.
  • Bobby Jones was the great
    American amateur golfer of the 1920’s.
  • Quincy Jones is the American
    jazz music impresario.
  • Catherine Zeta Jones is the
    Welsh-born actress married to Michael Douglas.

Select Jones Numbers Today

  • 578,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in Lancashire)
  • 491,000 in America (most numerous in Texas)
  • 171,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia)

Jones is the #2 ranked surname in the UK and the #5 ranked in America.


Select Jones and Like Surnames  

Hereditary surnames in Wales were a post-16th century development.   Prior to that time the prototype for the Welsh name was the patronymic, such as “Madog ap Jevan ap Jerwerth” (Madoc, son of Evan, son of Yorwerth).  The system worked well in what was still mainly an oral culture.

However, English rule decreed English-style surnames and the English patronymic “-s” for “son of” began first in the English border counties and then in Wales. Welsh “P” surnames came from the “ap” roots, such as Price from “ap Rhys.”

These are some of the present-day Welsh surnames that you can check out.



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