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Origins of the James surname

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What does the name James mean?

The James surname is common around the world, deriving from the popular first name. The surname James is English in origin and believed to be patronymic, describing someone who is the son or descendant of James.

Alternative variations of the name James

James, Jame, Jaimes, Jemes, Games

I’ve managed to trace back to the mid-1500s! I can’t believe it! Utterly engrossing and I have uncovered some quite moving and heartbreaking stories attached to various ancestors. You don’t need any qualifications to start - just time patience, and some information.

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Where do most Jameses live?

In 1921, most Jameses lived in South West.

Census records trace your ancestors through each generation, so you can follow where your relatives lived through each decade.

Interesting facts about Jameses

How common is your surname?

41st most common surname in the UK

We have 637,000 records for the James surname. The oldest one dates back to 1100.

Who were Jameses most likely to marry?




Our Marriage record sets tell us which families married Jameses.

What are the most common James first names?

  • John
  • William
  • Mary
  • Elizabeth

Our birth record sets tell us the names of James family members

Common jobs for Jameses

Men and women often performed different types of jobs, so these are displayed by gender to maintain their historical accuracy.

Common Female occupations for Jameses in 1921


Domestic Servant


General Servant Domestic




General Servant


Common Male occupations for Jameses in 1921
Coal Miner




Agricultural Labourer




General Labourer


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Census records provide incredible detail on names, ages, marital statuses, occupations and more.

We found over 480,000 family trees with the James surname

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