This famous surname, widespread throughout the British Isles, and the most popular surname in Wales, one in ten Welsh people being so-called, is nethertheless of English medieval origins. It derives either from the male given name John, or its female equivalent Joan, both Norman French introductions after the 1066 Invasion. Both names are written as Jon(e) in medieval documents, and a clear distinction between them on the grounds of gender was not made until the 15th Century. However, because western society has almost invariably had a male as family head throughout history, bearers of the surname Jones are more likely to derive it from a patronymic form of John, than a matronymic form of Joan. The personal name John, ultimately from the Hebrew "Yochanan" meaning "Jehovah has favoured (me with a son)", has always enjoyed enormous popularity in Europe, and particularly so after the famous Crusades of the 12th century. The name, which is found in some four hundred spellings, is in honour of St. John the Baptist, the precursor of Christ. The surname as "Jones", first appears on record in England in the latter part of the 13th Century, and also features as one of the most numerous settler names in Ireland, having been introduced in the wake of the Anglo- Norman Invasion of 1170. It is now found in every Irish county, especially in the larger towns, and has also been Gaelicized as "MacSeoin". The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Matilda Jones, which was dated 1273, in the "Hundred Rolls of Huntingdonshire", during the reign of King Edward 1st, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", reigned 1272 - 1307.
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