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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2014

Origins Available: German, Welsh

Where did the Welsh Jonas family come from? What is the Welsh Jonas family crest and coat of arms? When did the Jonas family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Jonas family history?

While the ancestors of the bearers of Jonas came from ancient Welsh-Celtic origins, the name itself has its roots in Christianity. This surname comes from the personal name John, which is derived from the Latin Johannes, meaning "Yahweh is gracious." This name has always been common in Britain, rivaling William in popularity by the beginning of the 14th century. The feminine form Joan, or Johanna in Latin, was also popular, and the surname Jonas may be derived from either the male or female name.

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Compared to other ancient cultures found in the British Isles, the number of Welsh surnames are relatively few, but there are an inordinately large number of spelling variations. These spelling variations began almost as soon as surname usage became common. People could not specify how to spell their own names leaving the specific recording up to the individual scribe or priest. Those recorders would then spell the names as they heard them, causing many different variations. Later, many Welsh names were recorded in English. This transliteration process was extremely imprecise since the Brythonic Celtic language of the Welsh used many sounds the English language was not accustomed to. Finally, some variations occurred by the individual's design: a branch loyalty within a family, a religious adherence, or even patriotic affiliations were indicated by spelling variations of one's name. The Jonas name over the years has been spelled Jones, Jonas, Jone, Joness and others.

First found in Denbighshire (Welsh: Sir Ddinbych), a historic county, created in 1536 at the Act of Union with England, and located in Northeast Wales, where their ancient family seat was at Llanerchrugog. The name Jones, currently one of the most prolific in the world, descends from three main sources: from Gwaithvoed, Lord Cardigan, Chief of one of the 15 noble tribes of North Wales in 921; from Bleddyn Ap Cynfyn, King of Powys; and from Dyffryn Clwyd, a Chieftain of Denbighland. All three lines merged in Denbighshire about the 11th century and it is not known which of the three can be considered the main branch of the family.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Jonas research. Another 115 words(8 lines of text) covering the years 1578, 1658, 1638, 1712, 1610, 1673, 1656, 1660, 1618, 1674, 1650, 1656, 1605, 1681, 1645, 1637, 1649, 1628 and 1697 are included under the topic Early Jonas History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 275 words(20 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Jonas Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Jonas family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 273 words(20 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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The Welsh began to emigrate to North America in the late 1800s and early 1900s in search of land, work, and freedom. Those that arrived helped shape the industry, commerce, and the cultural heritage of both Canada and the United States. The records regarding immigration and passenger show a number of people bearing the name Jonas:

Jonas Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • Engel Jonas, who settled in Philadelphia in 1748
  • Johannes Jonas, who arrived in Philadelphia in 1749
  • Engel Jonas, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1749
  • Johannes Jonas, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1749
  • Simon Jonas, who landed in North Carolina in 1767


Jonas Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • John Jonas, who arrived in Galveston, Tex in 1846
  • August Jonas, who landed in Texas in 1850-1906
  • Martin Lenn Jonas, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1851
  • Johann Jonas, aged 23, who arrived in New York City in 1857
  • Sebastian Jonas, aged 15, arrived in America in 1866


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  • Ann Jonas (b. 1932), American writer and illustrator of children's picture books
  • Benjamin Franklin Jonas (1834-1911), Democratic U.S. Senator from Louisiana
  • Charles Andrew Jonas (1876-1955), U.S. Representative from North Carolina
  • Paul Kevin Jonas II (b. 1987), American musician and actor who with his brothers Joseph Adam and Nicholas Jerry form the Jonas Brothers, an American Grammy nominated boy band
  • Dusty Jonas (b. 1986), American high jumper bronze medalist
  • Hans Jonas (1903-1993), German-born, American philosopher
  • August Frederick Jonas (1858-1934), surgeon in Nebraska
  • Franz Jonas (1899-1974), President of the Republic of Austria from 1965-74
  • Manfred Jonas, author and Professor of History at Union College in New York, New York
  • Clemens Jonas (b. 1980), Austrian figure skating champion

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The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Heb dduw, heb ddim
Motto Translation: Without God, without anything.

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  1. Evans, Gwynfor. Wales: A History: 2000 Years of Welsh History. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1996. Print. (ISBN 0-76070-120-2).
  2. Thirsk, Joan ed. Et. Al. The Agrarian History of England and Wales. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 7 Volumes. Print.
  3. Bradsley C.W. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print.
  4. Crispin, M. Jackson and Leonce Mary. Falaise Roll Recording Prominent Companions of William Duke of Normandy at the Conquest of England. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  5. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  6. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  7. Fairbairn,. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  8. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds. . Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-005-8).
  9. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  10. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
  11. ...

The Jonas Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Jonas Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 1 February 2014 at 08:53.

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