This is a famous Anglo-Scottish patronymic surname of medieval origins. Recorded in the spellings of Jonson, Johnson, Joinson, Joynson and the incredibly popular Jones, although this is always treated as a separate surname, all derive from John. John is itself from the Hebrew name "Yochanan", meaning "God has favoured me (with a son)". This baptismal name with significant religious interest, has always enjoyed enormous popularity in Europe throughout the Christian Era, and was particularly associated with the famous Crusades to the Holy Land in the 12th century.In early British records John was usually Latinized as "Johannes", and in the Old French spellings of Johan, Jehan and Jean. By the beginning of the 14th Century, John rivalled William in popularity as a first name, which is rather surprising considering that King John of England (1199- 1216) may well rank as the nation's most unpopular monarch. Be that as it may John remains even in the 20th century an enduringly popular first name, along with its female versions of Joan and Jean. Amongst the very earliest of all surname recordings are those of Wautier Jonessone, in the charters known as the "Calendar of Documents", which relate to the government of Scotland in 1296, whilst William Johnson and Robert Johanson were recorded in the 1379 Poll Tax rolls of Yorkshire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Jonessone, which was dated 1287, in the register known as the "Descriptive Catalogue of Ancient Deeds", for the county of Surrey, during the reign of King Edward 1st, 1272 - 1307.
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