Sunday, March 26, 2017

Heraldry Used In Tree Climbing (5)

Symbols and the tincture (base color) of the shield are the foundation to the "coat of arms".  Last post (4) described these topics for the arms that carried the surname JONES.  The next step was to see if the recorded families [for Jones] could be identified and located by counties.  The following tables show the results of this study by the symbols they presented in the last post. (4)


The surname Jones is listed by family groups from which the arms were identified in Burke.  The following figure continues the findings among the various symbols.

To show the geographic distribution among the counties represented, the following map was drawn.  Ireland, Wales, and central England gave the locations.

This was the distribution of the Jones families who were identified in Burke before 1870.  What a deal!

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Heraldry Used In Tree Climbing (4)

My interest in understanding the use and implication of this field called Heraldry, lead to several more steps to analyze the Jones surname coat of arms.  The following two figures show the results of other steps taken to this process.  They are given just to show that additional information can be obtained.  Please recognize that I understand very few folks would be this interested in the steps and procedures shown, but they  are given to demonstrate the findings of my own tree climbing.

The next figure continues the analysis all done some years ago.

This analysis help me form some ideas as to where to look for the roots to many who came to carry the surname Jones.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Heraldry Used In Tree Climbing (3)

Symbols played an important part in all this heraldry stuff.  Upon each shield was placed a symbol which often was a self selected image of the person who carried the shield.   For the JONES surname, exploring these symbols to see if there were any common use was an early process.  The following figure shows the results of my study that contained 123 coat of arms for the JONES surname.  All would have been in use before 1850.  Each primary charge (symbol) was analyzed and organized as shown.  The "lion" represented the most common symbol among this group at 45%. 

One can follow the results shown in this figure which found a single lion in a standing position (called lion rampant) to be the most common symbol.  Other symbols as found are depicted with a cross/pheons (pheon = the barbed head of a dart or arrow) at 13%.  A variety of other symbols including swords/arrows, birds, boar's heads, Nag's head, Stags, Wolves, and of course the Bull.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Heraldry Used In Tree Climbing (2)

The next step in this "Heraldry" adventure was to use Burke and look up the surname JONES.  In this addition on pages 547 - 549 there are listed the "Armorial Bearings" for my surname.  One hundred and eight listings are given...can you believe it!  They read like..."Sa. a fesse embattled erm. betw. three boars' heads couped or."...and..."Ar. three bull's heads cabossed sa."...and..."Chequy or and sa. on a fess gu. three leopards' faces jessant-de-lis of the first".  Say what?  A new language it is.

Trying to sort through this organization of terms, abbreviations, flow of thought, and arrangement of words took a good amount of effort.  This effort lead to a number of discoveries, and opened a new area for my tree climbing experiences.  [Burke contains a "Glossary" describing the various markings, symbols, and abbreviations used.]  Needless to say, there were many other sources that added to a beginning understanding of this topic.

Some of the most helpful references on my book case are:

The Story of Heraldry, by L.G. Pine, first published 1952 with the last edition being revised 1963.

Simple Heraldry Cheerfully Illustrated, by Iain Moncreiffe & Don Pottinger, first published 1953 and reprinted 1956.

The Elements of Heraldry, by William H. Whitmore, first published 1958. [The title page states "An Explanation of The Principles of  The Science and A Glossary of The Technical Terms Employed and With an Essay Upon The Use of Coat-Armor in The United States.]

American & British Genealogy & Heraldry, compiled by P. William Filby, first published 1975.

Heralds And Ancestors, by Sir Anthony Wagner, 1978. [A Colonnade Book published by British Museum Publications Limited.]

A Complete Guide To Heraldry, by A.C. Fox-Davies, 1978.

A Guide to Heraldry, by Ottfried Neudecker, 1979.

Heraldry Illustrated, by W.H. Abbott, 1897.

Concise Encyclopedia of Heraldry, by Guy Cadogan Rothery, first published 1915 and reprinted 1985.

Wow...enough you say.  Other books on my shelf provide additional information. 

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Heraldry Used In Tree Climbing (1)

Brick walls come in all shapes, sizes, and thickness.  Over the years, with a surname like JONES, you can imagine the number of obstacles that presented themselves along the way.   The purpose of this blog has been to communicate the different approaches I have used that might be helpful in your own tree climbing experiences.  The next several posts will begin a series on one method that has been the most fun, helpful, and yet most difficult.  It is the method using the topic called "Heraldry".

There were several stages in this process that need to be told. It really begins when after some 20 years of tree climbing, I was able to connect my family tree from Kentucky, which began in 1811, back to its roots in Virginia.   "Pewmansend Creek" [in present Caroline County] was the geographic landmark that helped make the connections.   It was the use of  "Heraldry" that took this Virginia location across the great pond to Wales. 

Of course, this did not happen all at once.  From my earliest days of tree climbing [starting at age 9], an interest in all things pertaining to knights, castles, swords, shields, coat of arms, and such things had a special attraction.   However, it was not until a book by Sir Bernard Burke was found during one of my many trips to "rare book stores" that got me going in earnest.   The title page is shown:

In this text it states: "Heraldry may be defined  'the art of blazoning, assigning, and marshalling coat armour' or more particularly 'the art of arranging and explaining in proper terms all that relates or appertains to the bearing of Arms, Creast, Badges, Quarterings, and other hereditary marks of honour".

Whew, quite a mouth full.  Anyway, this text was to serve as a reference and resource for this stage of the process.  It has served me well.   Let's keep going.  The next group of posts will describe this adventure.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Have Genes - Well Traveled

It is hard to conceptualize that our ancestors live within us.  At least on the genetic level it is the fact that we carry [hopefully alive] parts of our past generations in our genes.  Now a "gene" is the functional unit of heredity which occupies a specific place (called locus) on a chromosome.  This gene is capable of reproducing itself exactly at each cell division, and directs the formation of a protein. [ an enzyme, a catalyst, or other types of helper proteins ]  A "chromosome" (normally 46 in us humans) lives in the nucleus of our cells.  It is the bearer of our genes, but also surrounds itself with specialized filaments [called chromatin], and a helper gizmo that assists during cell division called the centromere.  Concepts, terms, definitions and the like surrounding all this genetic stuff   can certainly clog the brain, and may often form their own brick walls just trying to put things together.  Anyway, to help the genealogist in their own tree climbing experience there are a few themes that might provide some insight.

First, "genetics" and "genealogy" are not the same.  In spite of what is claimed from all those who want to sell DNA products in order to provide you with answers to all your family tree questions, this is not the case.  By definition, "genetics" is the branch of science concerned with the means and consequences of transmission and generation of the components of biological inheritance.  In my Stedman's Medical Dictionary, between "behavioral genetics" and "transplantation genetics" there are 21 definitions of various branches.  By definition, "genealogy" is an account of the descent of a person, family, or group from an ancestor.  [There is now listed a "genetic genealogist" which I am sure would charge you to figure all your DNA stuff that has been analyzed.]

Secondly, if you have not already, you may discover that your DNA may help get under, around, or over that brick wall.  The problem for many genealogist is knowing which DNA type would give you the most help.  The following picture tries to present the three types of DNA being sold on the market.

The first place to start is to define the question you are trying get hold. [From a genealogist point of view.]  Does the question needing to be ask go out the paternal (fathers) branches, the maternal (mothers) branches, or the ancestors on either side of the family tree?  Making this decision will often help you decide which DNA test to order.  Y-DNA is a direct male line back through the ages...mtDNA (mitochondrial DNA) is down the maternal branches including those of your father...and autosomal DNA is basically a "travel log" of your ancestors geographic origins. [called ethic groups]  We all have genes...well traveled indeed.

Thursday, July 21, 2016


Brick walls come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, and thickness.  Recently, the use of DNA analysis has produced all kinds of new brick walls.  Looking to your genetic past will often help give new directions for the family search, or solve some types of questions that have come to the forefront.

My own DNA analysis took some time to get to the lab, because I was worried that it might show that all my 50 some years of genealogy would be incorrect.  At any rate, the following table shows that there are a number of different genetic pathways that involves the surname JONES.

The figure begins with the year 2011.  It then shows the percent of each haplogroup that was found in those with the surname JONES and chose to have their Y-DNA analyzed.  Seventy-five percent of those were found to be in the R1b1 haplogroup. [n=275]  This was followed by a number of different haplogroups.  Eleven percent were those of Scandinavia decent, followed in decreasing order by E, G, J, R1a, and Q.

The most recent analysis [2016, n=257] suggest that a number of folks from several haplogroups are new to the JONES surname family tree.  Haplogroups B, N, and O were not present in the 2011 group.  There has been some changes in the percent of the various haplogroups which suggest that there are many other genetic groups that have connections to the JONES surname.  There has been a 14% decrease in R1b1 with an increase in I, G, J, and R1a haplogroups. 

All this to say that the origin of your Y-chromosome may show something amazing. Likewise, not all with the surname JONES have their roots in the same genetic family tree.