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James Family History

Recorded in over sixty spelling forms as shown below, and found throughout Christian nations, this very interesting medieval surname is of both Biblical and 12th century Crusader origins. These are confused, and like the personal name and subsequent surname Jacob, it has its origins in the Hebrew given name "Yaakov". This was Latinized in the Roman Period of history, first as Jacobus, and then in the period known as "The Dark Ages" upto the 11th century a.d., as Jacomus. The actual meaning of the name is also a matter for some dispute. Traditionally the name is interpreted as coming from the word "akev", meaning a heel, but has also been interpreted as "he who supplanted"...

SURNAME

Although a separate name in its own right, James is derived from a personal of the same origin as Jacob. In The Bible (1611) the form James is used in the New Testament (lacobus) as the name of two of Christ’s apostles (James the brother of John and James the brother of Andrew), whereas in the Old Testament (lacob) the brother of Esau is called Jacob.

The ‘King James Version’ is another name given to the Authorised Version of the Bible which was ordered by King James I. The resonant style of this classic translation remains one of the finest examples of our language.

Although the form James comes from Latin Jacobus through Late Latin Jac(o)mus, James was not a particularly common personal name in medieval England, in spite of the popularity of the cult of Saint James the Greater, whose shrine at Compostela in Spain was a major centre of pilgrimage.

James also gave rise to Jameson, Jamieson, Jempson, Jemmett and possibly through its French form, Jacques, to Jeakes, Jacklin, and the widely-spread Jackson.

An early bearer, Walter James was first recorded in 1187 Pipe Rolls in Gloustershire, during the reign of King Henry II (1154 – 1189).

It became more frequent in 1881, when James was one of the top occurrences in the Bristol, Gloucestershire. In the same year, the most common James occupation in the UK was Farmer, along with Coal Miner and Agricultural Labourer. A less common occupation for the James family was Labourer. In 1891, the frequency in England and Wales was recorded at 67,500 with fewer occurences of 834 in Scotland.

The name is geographically common around the world, including South Africa’s Jameson Park. Similarly, the UK has a Jameston and several Jamestowns. Canada and US also have Jamestowns with a total of 18 locations that are name related.

SOURCES:

1881, 1891 Census

1881 Census in Bristol

Dictionary of American Family Homes, P Hanks OUP 2003

Homes of Family Names in Great Britain, H.B. Guppy, London 1890

The Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain and Ireland, P.Hanks, Coats, McClure OUP 2016

1860 Lower, Mark A Patronymica Britannica: a dictionary of the family names of the United Kingdom, London: J.R Smith. Public Domain

1857 Arthur, William An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names. New York: Sheldon, Blakeman. Public Domain

J.M.P

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Anthony Barrett

(Part 1 of 3) The James name has a long history in British Isles, but now DNA and some recorded history says their origin is from the Emerald Island. The James story [dominated by DNA tribal marker R1b-L513, Subgroup B2] can trace their origins to the Finn Valley in Donegal, Ireland from 50 BCE. Perhaps the journey begins with the Clanna Dedad; Deda, son of Sen or Deda Mac Sin. The James surname origin is from Clan Domnaill [DNA Tribe R1b-L513, Subgroup B1] and relations who remain in Ireland take the modern surname (O’)Donnelly, McDonald and Donohue in Ireland.

Anthony Barrett

(Part 2 of 3) According to research, the Domnaill name is also found in Brittany, France. It is a very old name which appears in the 5th century Roman inscriptions as Dumnovellaunos in Brittany meaning “Deep Valour” equivalent to Irish Domhnaill. But how could this be? Recent discoveries from DNA testing are unlocking the migration patterns of Celtic tribes as late as 800 CE to 1200 CE. The James story begins in pre-history Ireland then moves to Wales where the family can be traced back to their Welsh tribe Cydifor Fawr. An ancestor and many of his kin will then move to Brittany, France during the Dark Ages.

Anthony Barrett

(Part 3 of 3) Discover their newly found untold story and how forgotten texts bring their story back to life. From the ebook, “The Tribe Within” learn how DNA unfolds this amazing tale and if you look in the right places, how history narrates this evidence. There is another written account of their story, but it is camouflaged in smoke and myth – it will become the tales of King Arthur. Come follow in the footsteps of Deda Mac Sin and visit https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/401207

Anthony Barrett

(Part 3 of 3) Discover their newly found untold story and how forgotten texts bring their story back to life. From the ebook, “The Tribe Within” learn how DNA unfolds this amazing tale and if you look in the right places, how history narrates this evidence. There is another written account of their story, but it is camouflaged in smoke and myth – it will become the tales of King Arthur. Come follow in the footsteps of Deda Mac Sin and visit https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/401207

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