Skip to content
  • Start free trial

Origins of the James surname

A collage of historical images including two family portraits and a postcard of people boarding a ship

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.

SS
Stuart
TrustPilot review
1 of 3

Start your family tree

Trace your family back in time. Make new discoveries and see what other Findmypast family historians in our genealogy community have discovered about the Jameses.

Sign up to get started

Delve deeper into the James family's history

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?

Joneses

&

Williamses

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
Dressmaker

3,177

Domestic Servant

1,730

General Servant Domestic

1,578

Laundress

1,574

General Servant

1,440

Common Male occupations for Jameses in 1921
Coal Miner

3,994

Farmer

3,136

Agricultural Labourer

2,582

Carpenter

2,114

General Labourer

2,028

An image of a census transcript and a picture of a dairy farmer holding two milk jugs

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

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

Trace your family back in time and see what other Findmypast family historians in our genealogy community have discovered about the Jameses.

Search for a relative in our family trees

Share your discoveries

Find out more about your family in our records

or try an advanced search

Start your family history journey

Start free trial

Start free trial