Last name: James

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". Both of these meanings are influenced by the biblical story of Esau and his younger twin brother Jacob. Jacob is said to have been born holding on to Esau's heel, and took advantage of Esau's hunger to persuade him to part with his birthright "for a mess of pottage". For a name with such indistinct origins, it has proved to be a great success story, with spellings ranging from James, Jayume, and Jamie, to Giacomo, Comi, Comiam, Cominetto, Motto, and even Gimson! The first recordings are to be found in England, because England was the first country to adopt both surnames and to properly register them. Examples from early charters include Christiana Jemes of Cambridge, in the Hundred Rolls of the year 1279, whilst one of the first settlers to the new colony of Virginia in the Americas, was Lewis James, who left London, on August 21st 1635. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Walter James. This was dated 1187, in the Pipe Rolls of the county of Gloucestershire, during the reign of King Henry 11nd, 1154 - 1189.

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Annetta (James) Hand

My grandfather was Jesse E James, born 1887 in Pennsylvania. His wife name Nellie. Trying to build a James family tree. Have a bit of info up to Great Grandfather X3. Russel, Jack, Margaret, Betty, Roy, Janet, Evelyn, Alice were Jesse's children. My father was Russel H. James. Don't know country of origin of Gr, Gr, Gr Grandfather "Patrick". W

Julie-Anne Moore
My g g grandfathers name wa Robert James, he was born in Riverstown Co Sligo around 1850, I believe he was a policeman. His wifes name was Annie Marie Needlesworth (not Irish at all I should imagine) she was born about 1855, dont know where she was from

Russell Smith
Hi Julie-Anne,

I think your Robert James is related to me. Would you please contact me at:

regards, Russell Smith

C. James
My surname is James, My father was Curtis, My grandfather was John James (passed on around 1933 from black lung) who married a Clara ? James and they resided in Smokerun PA. Children were Curtis, Cerida, Eliza, Melvin, Henry and Cal. I am looking to find any living family left as well as find out more about my roots. Please get in touch if you are related or know any history. Thank You. PS...I was told that my Grandfather was from Wales.

Deborah James
My sir name is James, My grandfather was William James -b. 1860's, married Ada Florence Cornish (?) B. 1880's, d. 1976 lived Bishopston Gower S wales. Three children: Bernard b. 1899 ( approx) d. 1980's Jessica Florence b. 1901 ( approx) d. 1988 Geoffrey William Courtney 1915 -2005 William James was very involved in the Education system and the creation of Polytecnics Swansea . Geoffrey William Courtney James- RAF in WWll. Lancaster Bombers. He married my mother Betty Frances Benham, 1921 -1987 Any further information please leave a message.

My name is William James. My grandfather was William Phelan though, who was born in Kildare, Ireland.

My family is James... I have been trying to trace my grandfather William James I was able to get a copy of his baptismal record, but cannot find his birth record on line. He was baptised in Dublin, Ireland He was born 3rd november 1895, and his wife's first name was Jane If anyone has further information please leave a reply message Thanks :)

j.james Read more: I have always wanted to have my DNA done. My last name is James and my dad as well but there were 2 generations before him that the name was passed done matriarchaly Threw my grand mother who's last name was James and her mothers as well. But When I see pictures of Jessi and Frank James. I am a exact looking match to frank James. And people have seen it and thought it was me in one of them old fashion wanted poster pics you can get at the fair or a amusement park. and I've seen a guy on the James web site that is related to Jessi James that is the spitting image of my dad.

Susan Rosine
If your surname is JAMES, you should join the James DNA project!