The Origins of the Name "Jones"
The name "Jones" is a patronymic, or a name meaning "son of John (God has favored or gift of God)." Jones, of Welsh origin is the most common surname in Wales and is common in south central England. derived from the Middle English spelling "Jon". Seventeenth century versions of this name used were Joanes, Johnes, Johns; JOHNSON is a more common English version of this surname. Read this "parchment" document for far more details on the Jones name's history.
(source: ancestry.com; Dictionary of American Family Names, Oxford University Press)
The Jones Crest
The Ancient Jones Coat of Arms is blue with a silver lion, red blood dripping from a wound in its chest. The Jones Family motto was: heb dduw, he ddim, which means "WIthout God, without anything."(source: House of Names and ancestry.com)
Jones, Jones and More Jones
So, that being said- finding an ancestor named Jones is kind of like finding a needle in a haystack. I think the only harder name would be Smith. Several Jones' came to the American colonies in the seventeenth century wave of immigration- some to Connecticut, some to Long Island, some to New Jersey. We see a Benjamin Jones in Springfield Township of Burlington County in 1702, and his son Benjamin Jones also, both listed in the Burlington Meeting Minutes. How to know if they are "directly" related, or just cousins. It's probably a good bet that they are related, but the difficulty comes in the fact that a man named Benjamin would undoubtedly have a son named Benjamin, and his sons would also name one of their sons Benjamin, so by the time you came to even the second generation you could have 6-7 Benjamin Jones' to sort out. Oi. Even a name like Hezekiah- there were sons of sons. A Hezekiah lived in Burlington County after Benjamin left for Pennsylvania who could have been a brother or cousin. Someday I will work on tracing existing relatives who remained in New Jersey.
Estella Jones Kimble, Ashbel Wilson Jones' sister, and Sheldon's aunt lived until 1936 and was the source of Sheldon's family information. She was born in 1851 after Benjamin Jones' death, but she would have known Nancy Jones and Caroline Merrill. She said at one time that the Jones' and Richard Brown had originally come from Scotland.
Why no more Benjamin Jones'?
It seems that the child of Benjamin and Nancy that was named Benjamin died in childhood, and another Benjamin (Franklin) Jones, son of James Newbold and Caroline Jones also died in childhood. Henry Clay Jones named his third son Benjamin- he was killed by Indians at age 22. It would seem the name was jinxed!
Our Jones line dwindles
Sadly, our Jones line has dwindled to only a few Jones males, from its peak in the mid-19th century. At present,there's only Harlan Jones and his son Harlan Jones, Jr., and hopefully others still to be determined. Larry Jones, also a son of Harlan Yost Jones, is still living but leaves no descendants. Sheldon Jones III had two daughters so leaves no Jones name-line.