Join
Log in  | New? Register

31,797 JOHN members around the world

Family spelling variants includes Johns, Johnson, Jones, Jackson, Johnston

Stay informed about JOHN Family online & offline events!

Keep me informed as to JOHN Family online & offline events

My JOHN family came from?

See our recent family gatherings

JOHN Family History

John is a patronymic surname, and so refers back to an ancestor who had the personal name John. In this sense therefore it originally meant 'son of John'. In most cases, the surname eventually developed into Jones, Johns or Johnson, but many other families retained 'John' specifically as a surname, in particular in some parts of Wales. It is far less frequently seen as a surname in England where the Jones, Johnson, Jackson, and Johnston versions prevailed.

'John' as a name comes from the Hebrew Yohanan meaning 'graced by God'. Its popularity as a given name over the centuries in Britain probably stems from its Biblical associations.

In Wales, fixed surnames only gradually began to be adopted from the 16th century onwards. Some of the earliest forms of this surname would therefore be written as 'ap John', meaning son of John. Very early examples include Edward ap John who was archdeacon of Carmarthen in 1509, and Robert ap Edward John who lived in Bangor, Caernarvonshire in 1599. However, the majority of families who started to use John as a hereditary surname did so during the 18th century and the earliest years of the 19th century, when the original ancestor whose personal name was John would have lived.

As a fixed, hereditary surname in Wales, during the 19th century it was most often seen in parts of Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire and Glamorganshire, and only very rarely seen elsewhere in the country at that time.

Notable people

  • Gwendolen Mary (Gwen) John (1876–1939), a Welsh artist who was born in Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire renowned for her portrait painting. She was the sister of the celebrated painter, Augstus John.
  • Augustus Edwin John, OM RA (1878–1961), a Welsh painter and draughtsman, who was regarded as one of the most important artists of his time. Born in Tenby, Pembrokeshire, he was the brother of the celebrated artist, Gwen John.
  • Barry John (b. 1945), famous Welsh rugby union player. Born in Cefneithin, Carmarthenshire, in the 1970s he was a member of the Wales national rugby team during its much vaunted 'golden age'.
  • Olivia Newton-John (b. 1948), British-Australian singer and actress, famous for her role in the film Grease and her singing career. She was born in Cambridge, England, but her father was from Cardiff, Wales.

 

SOURCES:

A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames (1896) by Charles Wareing Endell Bardsley

Forebears, https://forebears.io/

Who have we missed?

Tell us about any famous JOHN (or surname variant) you think we should add here. We will get our genealogists to check them out and add them to the list. Thanks!

MEET

Join the conversation with the JOHN tribe

  • Find your JOHN ancestor
  • Tell us about your JOHN Family
  • Tell us about your JOHN ancestors
  • Ask a question about the JOHN history
  • Leave a message for JOHN family members

You are not register

Join Log in

Invite more JOHN family members!

Write an email address and click 'Invite' to share this page with more members of the JOHN tribe.

Log in or Register to invite others
Family Coat of Arms Generator

Why not see what your family crest could look like based on your own family characteristics?

Create Crest
LEARN

Discover where the JOHN Family members live around the world

Explore where tribe members live today!

SHOP

Show off the JOHN Family Crest…

Wear your crest with pride...plenty of products to choose from