Origin, Meaning and Family History of the James Name
Origins of Name:
The surname of James has many disputes behind the origin of this name. James has over sixty spellings, has religious connotations, and was believed to be introduced by the Crusaders following the Crusades for the Holy Land. It is believed that the surname of James is a derivative of the Hebrew personal given name of “Yaakov,” which can be translated to mean “the heel,” or “the holder of the heel,” or the “supplanter.” These meanings are up for debate, however, because the actual meaning of this surname, and this personal given name are translated differently in diverse cultures. It is believed that the name comes from the word of “akev,” which is said to mean “a heel,” but it is also translated as “he who supplanted.” Both of the meanings of this personal given name, and the surname of James are what sparked the Biblical story of Esau and Jacob. Jacob was written as a man who was born grasping his brother’s heel, and Jacob also manipulated Esau to part with his birthright. This Hebrew given name was known in The Dark Ages as Jacobus, and later as Jacomus.
More common variations are: Jameson, Jeames, Joames, Jaimes, Jammes, Jamson, Jamieson, Jeakes, Jamesi, Jempson, Jaumes, Jamess
The first recorded spelling of the surname of James was found in the country of England. One person who was named as Walter James, who was named in the Pipe Rolls of the County of Gloucestershire in the year of 1187. This document was ordered, decreed, and written under the reign of one King Henry II of England, who was also known throughout the ages as “The Court-manteau” and “Henry FitzEmpress” and “Henry Plantagnet.” King Henry II of England ruled from the year of 1154 to the year of 1189. Other mentions of the surname of James throughout the country of England include one Christiana Jemes who was declared in the Hundred Rolls of the County of Cambridge in the year of 1279. Those who carry the surname of James can be found throughout the country of England in large concentrations. The areas that specifically have a larger population of those who carry the surname of James can be found within the areas in and around the city of London, and into the counties of Lancashire and Yorkshire.
There is a very large population of those who carry the surname of James within the country of Wales. The areas of the country of Wales that have the largest population of those who bear the surname of James are within the western coastal counties of this country, but most notably in the county of Glamorgan.
There are a few counties within the country of Scotland where there is a noticeable population of people who are known by the surname of James. The most notable population of people who bear the surname of James within the country of Scotland are within the county of Lanarkshire.
Australia and Canada:
It is important to note that there are large populations of people who carry the surname of James within the countries of Canada and Australia. This is due to the heavy British influence in these countries.
United States of America:
The areas of the United States of America that have large concentrations of those people who carry the surname of James are within the states of Virginia, Texas, New York, Illinois, Ohio, California, and in the state of Missouri.
Here is the population distribution of the last name James: Nigeria 281,675; United States 266,483; Tanzania 116,673; England 79,286; Uganda 41,636; Australia 33,164; South Africa 30,994; India 30,714; Canada 21,035; Sudan 20,103
Sonny James (1928-2016) who had the stage name of James Hug Loden, and who was a country singer and songwriter from America, most notably for the 1957 hit “Young Love” and who was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame
Overton James (1925-2015) who was an educator from America, and served as the Governor of Chickasaw Nation from the year 1963 to the year 1987
Miles James (1829-1871) who was a soldier in the Army during the American Civil War, and who was a recipient of the Medal of Honor for his service at the Battle of Chaffin’s Farm
Jesse Woodson James (1847-1882) who was an outlaw and folk hero from America
Edmund Janes James (1855-1925) who was an educator and political scientist, and who was the founder and 1st President of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
Arthur Horace James (1883-1973) who was a politician from America, and who served as the Governor of Pennsylvania from the year 1939 to the year 1943
Harry Haag James (1916-1983) who was a jazz bandleader from America, and who was a musician, and trumpeter
James Family Gift Ideas
Browse James family gift ideas and products below. If there are multiple coats of arms for this surname, you will see them at the top of this page and can click on the various coat of arms designs to apply them to the gift ideas below.
Clothing & Accessories
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Fun & Games
James Family Crest Corn Hole Game$224.00Purchase »
James Family Crest Ping Pong Table$167.59Purchase »
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Blazons & Genealogy Notes
1) (Langley Hall, co. Berks, bart.). Motto—J’aime a jamais. (Denford, co. Berks, and Newport, Isle of Wight. Visit. Hants. 1634). Gu. a dolphin embowed or. Crests—1st: An ostrich ppr. beaked and legged or; 2nd: Out of a ducal coronet or, two laurel branches in saltire vert, environed with a snake ppr.
2) (Dublin, bart., Lord Mayor of Dublin, 1822). Motto—Pro Deo, Patria, et Rege. Quarterly, vert and gu. a cross ar. charged with a ship in full sail ppr. betw. four anchors erect az. in the 1st and 4th quarters a dolphin naiant of the third betw. three crosses crosslet or; in the 2nd and 3rd a lion pass. guard. of the last betw. three trefoils slipped of the third Crest—Out of a ducal coronet or, a swan ppr. beaked gu. holding in the beak a dart gold, feathered ar. point towards the breast, motto over, A jamais.
3) (Presteign, co. Radnor). Az. a lion ramp. betw. two castles triple-towered in chief and a scaling-ladder in base ar. a bordure or, charged with four roses gu. and as many spear heads alternately sa. Crest—A lion ramp. ar. collared and holding betw. the forepaws a rose gu, the dexter hindpaw resting on an escutcheon ar. charged with a spear head, as in the arms.
4) (Washington and Hetton Le Hole, co. Durham; William James, Bishop of Durham, 1606-17). These arms, which are, perhaps, borrowed from Fitzjames, of co. Dorset (viz., az. a dolphin embowed ar. betw. three cinquefoils or), are carved in wood over a mantelpiece in a house in the North Bailey, Durham, the property of Thomas Hopper, Esq., which is said to have been the residence of Francis James, Esq., the Bishop’s younger son. Quarterly, 1st and 4th, sa. a dolphin embowed ar.; 2nd and 3rd, erm. on a chief gu. three crosses crosslet or. Crest—A bull's head couped sa. armed or.
5) (Slangeler, co. Carmarthen) Gu. a dolphin naiant embowed or.
6) (Wyke House, Gillingham, co. Dorset). (co. Worcester). Az. a dolphin embowed ar.
7) (co. Dorset). Az. a fesse betw. three dolphins or.
8) (co. Kent). Sa. a dolphin in fesse ar. finned or. Crest—A buffalo courant sa. attired or.
9) (Barrow Court, co. Somerset; confirmed by Camden, Clarenceux). Sa. a dolphin naiant betw. three crosses crosslet or. Crest—A dolphin naiant ppr.
10) (Michbarrow, co. Somerset). Sa. a dolphin embowed betw. three crosses botonnee or. Crest—A demi bull or, wreathed round the middle with a chaplet of laurel vert.
11) (Pantaison, co. Pembroke). Same Arms. Crest—A demi bull ramp. sa. langued gu. armed and hoofed or.
12) (co. Stafford). Sa. a dolphin embowed within an orle ar.
13) (Barrock, co. Cumberland, Burnville Lodge, near Tavistock, and Finch House, near Liverpool). Motto—Vincit amor patriae. Az. a dolphin embowed ppr. Crest—A buffalo pass. ppr.
14) (Catherine, co. Brecon). Gu. from behind bushes rert a stag courant ar. on a chief ar. three castles of the field, one and two.
15) (Shwynbred, co. Brecon). Sa. a chev. betw. three gauntlets clenched or.
16) (co. Cambridge). Per pale or (another, ar.) and az. on a chev. betw. three lions pass. guard. as many escallops all counterchanged. Crest—A dove ar. standing upon two palm branches in saltire vert.
17) (co Cornwall). Motto—Nosce teipsum. (cos. Worcester and Gloucester). Ar. a lion ramp. az. betw. three escallops gu. Crest—Two lions’ gambs erased sa. supporting an escallop ar. charged with a crescent az.
18) (Upminster, co. Essex, and co. Kent; granted by Camden, Clarenceux, 18 Nov. 1611). (co. Worcester). Ar. a chev. betw. three fer-de-molines fesseways sa. Crest—A garb ar. banded vert.
19) (co. Gloucester). Az. on a chev. or, betw. three lions pass. guard. of the second as many purses sa.
20) (Haughton Hall, Hanover, Jamaica). Motto—Malgré le tort. Az. on a chev. betw. three lions pass. guard. erm. as many escallops gu. quartering Haughton, Halton, Fisher, Fowler, Drayner, and Parson. Crest—A demi lion ramp. erm. holding an escallop gu.
21) (Park Farm Place, Eltham, co. Kent, bart., extinct 1792). Motto—Victor. Az. on a chev. betw. three lions pass. guard. or, ducally crowned of the last, three grenades sa. fired ppr. Crest—In a naval coronet or, a tower with two portholes in front gold, fire issuing from the portholes and top ppr. on the tower a flagstaff of the last, thereon a flag flotant to the sinister gu. in a position of striking, being half down the staff.
22) (Wellsborough, co. Kent, and Riegate, co. Sussex). Quarterly, 1st, and 4th, ar. two bars crenellée gu.; 2nd, ar. three fer-de-molines barways sa.; 3rd, barry wavy of six ar. and az. on a chief or, three swallows volant sa. Crest—Out of a ducal coronet or, a demi swan with wings expanded ar. beaked gu.
23) (Creshall, co. Essex, bart., extinct 1741; descended from Roger James, third son of Jacob Van Haestrecht, who removed from the neighbourhood of Utrecht, and settled in England, temp. Henry VIII.). Ar. two bars embattled gu.
24) (Grevis-James, Ightham Court, co. Kent; William James, Esq., third son of Roger James, son of Jacob Van Haestrecht, purchased the manor of Ightham Court, temp. Elizabeth; Demetrius Grevis, Esq., eldest son of Charles Grevis, Esq., formerly of Moseley Hall, co. Worcester, by Elizabeth, his wife, dau. of Colonel Demeterius James, third son of William James, Esq., of Ightham Court, assumed the additional surname and arms of James, by royal licence, 1817). Motto—Fide et constantiâ. Quarterly, 1st and 4th, ar. two bars embattled gu., for James; 2nd and 3rd, ar. on a fesse az. betw. three pellets, each charged with a lion's head erased of the first, a griffin pass. betw. two escallops or, for Grevis. Crests—1st, James : Out of a ducal coronet or, a demi swan, wings expanded ar. beaked gu.; 2nd, Grevis: A squirrel holding betw. the paws an escallop shell or.
25) (granted to Right Hon. Sir William Milbourne James, Knt., Lord Justice of Appeal). Motto—GWNA A DDYLED DOED A DDEL. Or, a chev. vair betw. three lions’ heads erased gu. Crest—A cock gu. gorged with a collar gemel or, the dexter claw resting on a portcullis gold.
26) (Stoke, co. Surrey). Per chev. gu. and ar. three unicorns’ head couped and counterchanged.
27) (co. Surrey). Quarterly, ar. and az. a cross sarcelly counterchanged.
28) (Otterbum Tower, and Rodchester, co. Northumberland). Motto—Deo semper confide. Sa. on a chev. ar. betw. three dolphins embowed erminois as many cross crosslets gu. Crest—A buffalo pass. gu. armed ppr. the dexler forefoot resting on an escutcheon ar. charged with a pheon sa.
29) (co. Worcester). Sa. on a bend or, betw. two bezants three martlets of the field.
30) (Astley, co. Worcester; Hugh James, Groom of the Privy Council to Henry VII. Visit. Worcester, 1634. Pedigree retristcred 1683. Higgins James, Esq., of Astley, was High Sheriff of the county 13 William III., d. 1709). (N.B. These are the arms recorded at the two visitations referred in above, but on the tablet to Higgins James, at Astley, these arms are given, viz.: Per chev. gu. and ar. three unicorns' heads couped counterchanged, impaling Pytts). (Forfield Court, co. Worcester. Henry James, Esq., of Forfield, left four daus. co-heiresses, Elizabeth m. Humphrey Perrott, Esq., of Bell Hall; Dorothy, m. Henry Greswold, Esq., of Yardley; Anne, m. Thomas Rudyard, Esq., of Rudyard, d. 1626; Martha, m. John Perrott, Esq., Worcester). (Rowley, co. Stafford; descended from Walter James, brother of Henry James, Esq., of Forfield). Az. on a chev. betw. three lions pass. reguard. or, as many escallops sa. Crest—Out of a mural coronet az. a demi lion reguard. or, collared also az. holding betw. the paws an escallop sa.
31) (Pool Court, co. Worcester). Az. on a chev. or, betw. three lions pass. ar. as many escallops sa.
32) (cos. Worcester and Gloucester). (Roseinvale). Ar. a lion ramp. az. betw. three escallops gu.
33) (cos. Salop and Stafford). (Lord Mayor of London, 1479). Az. on a chev. betw. three lions pass. guard. or, as many escallops sa. Crest—A demi lion ramp. or, holding betw. the paws an escallop sa.
34) Az. on a chev. betw. three leopards' heads or, as many escallops sa.
35) (the Close, Exeter). Gu. a water bouget within an orle of eight annulets ar. on a chief of the second a fesse per fesse indented vert and sa. betw. two barrulets, the upper of the last, and the lower of the third. Crest—On a mount vert a bull erm. armed, hoofed, tufted, and collared or, the dexter forefoot supporting a water bouget, and charged on the body with two annulets, as in the arms.
36) (Reg. Ulster’s Office). Ar. a bend gu. a border sa.
37) (Reg. Ulster's Office). Az. on a bend betw. three lions pass. or, as many escallops of the first.