Jones (surname)

United States Census Bureau Smith (surname) England
Pronunciation/ˈnz/ Plural Joneses. Jones's (his) sounds just like all the Joneses' (theirs) except Joan's (nee Williams).
Language(s)Middle Welsh
Meaning"Ioan's son"
Region of originWales and England
Other names
Variant form(s)MacSeoin, Johnson, Johnston, Johnstone, Johns

Jones is a surname of Welsh origin, meaning "son of Ioan," or other similar names that ultimately evolved from the Hebrew name יְהוֹחָנָן (Yəhôḥānān), Johan for short. When Welsh culture adopted the name, it evolved to variations of traditionally Welsh names: Ieuan, Iowan, Ioan, Iwan, or even Siôn (note how the letter 'J' was originally being pronounced as 'i', akin to how J is pronounced in the latin alphabet).

It is most popular in Wales, spreading outward from the mainland into England.[1][2][3]


Distribution of Jones surname in Great Britain

The surname Jones first appears on record as a surname in England in 1273 with the name "Matilda Jones".[3] Others put the first known record of the surname Jones as 1279, in Huntingdonshire, England.[4] Around the time of the Laws in Wales Acts in the early to mid 16th century, the traditional Welsh system of patronymics was increasingly replaced by surnames, since English was the official state language and all official documents needed to be in English; this led to the Anglicisation of Welsh names, meaning that English Christian names (such as John) became increasingly common to distinctively Welsh Christian names such as Meredudd (Meredith) and Llewelyn. Thus "Mab Ioan" or "ap Sion" (and many other variations) meaning "son of John" became the surname Jones in a large number of cases, making it a very frequently used surname.[5]

20th and 21st centuries

Jones remains the most widespread surname in Wales, borne by 5.75% of the population.[6] The frequency in England is lower, at 0.75%, but still the second most popular surname, after Smith.[6] The 2000 United States census provides a frequency of 0.50%, providing an overall rank of fifth most frequent with 57.7% White, 37.7% Black, 1.4% Hispanic, 0.9% Native American.[7] Jones was the fourth most common surname in the 1990 U.S. Census, behind only Smith, Johnson and Williams.[8]

See also


  1. ^ "Distribution of the surname Johnes in the UK". UK Surname Map.
  2. ^ Percy Hide Reaney; Richard Middlewood Wilson (1991). A Dictionary of English Surnames. Taylor & Francis Group. pp. 1784–. ISBN 978-0-415-05737-0. Retrieved 19 December 2012.
  3. ^ a b "Surname Database: Jones Last Name Origin". Retrieved 19 December 2012.
  4. ^ Reaney, Percy Hilde (1995), Wilson, Richard Middlewood (ed.), A Dictionary of English Surnames (3rd ed.), Oxford University Press, p. 256, ISBN 0-19-863146-4
  5. ^ Pendle, George. "How 'Jones' Became One of World's Most Common Last Names". Retrieved 30 November 2015.
  6. ^ a b McElduff, Fiona; Pablo Mateos; Angie Wade; Mario Cortina Borja (2008). "What's in a name? The frequency and geographic distributions of UK surnames". Significance. 5 (4): 189–192. doi:10.1111/j.1740-9713.2008.00332.x.
  7. ^ Word, David L.; et al. (2000). "Demographic Aspects of Surnames from Census 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-02-16. Retrieved 12 July 2014.
  8. ^ "Frequently Occurring Surnames from Census 1990". United States Census. Retrieved 31 December 2015.