This name derives from the medieval name, Jonah, ultimately from the Hebrew male given name Yona meaning "dove". The Biblical story of Jonah being swallowed by a giant fish on his way to Tarshish, captured the popular imagination in medieval Europe and gave rise to widespread use of Jonah and Jonas as personal names. One, Jonas de Powis is recorded in the 1156 "Pipe Rolls of London". The surname with variant spellings Jonis and Jonah is well recorded in London Church Registers from the late 16th Century.On September 26th 1565 Ruthe Jonis, an infant, was christened in St. Margaret's, Westminster. Anthony Jonah and Elizabeth Bird were married in St. James, Dukes Place on August 10th, 1684, and on June 5th 1850 Benjamin Julius Jonas married an Isabella Solomons in the Great Synagogue, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Balthasar Jonas married Joan Boltone, which was dated July 3rd 1559 in St. Stephen, Coleman Street, London, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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