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James Family History

James Name Meaning

English and Welsh: from the Middle English personal name James. Introduced to England by the Normans this is an Old French form of Late Latin Iacomus a variant of Latin Iacobus Greek Iakōbos the New Testament rendering of Hebrew Ya‘aqob (see Jacob ). The medieval Latin (Vulgate) Bible distinguished between Old Testament Iacob (which was uninflected) and New Testament Iacobus (with inflections). The latter developed into James in medieval French. The distinction was carried over into the King James Bible of 1611 and Jacob and James remain as separate names in English usage. Most European languages however make no such distinction so that forms such as French Jacques stand for both the Old and the New Testament names. This surname is also very common among African Americans. Compare Jack .

Source: Dictionary of American Family Names ©2013, Oxford University Press


Similar surnames: Ames, Janes, Jakes, Jaques, Sales, Amos, Jaimes, Sames, Eales, Hamel

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Hint: Try searching for a relative alive in 1940.

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Where is the James family from?

You can see how James families moved over time by selecting different census years. The James family name was found in the USA, the UK, Canada, and Scotland between 1840 and 1920. The most James families were found in United Kingdom in 1891. In 1840 there were 267 James families living in Ohio. This was about 12% of all the recorded James's in USA. Ohio had the highest population of James families in 1840.
Use census records and voter lists to see where families with the James surname lived. Within census records, you can often find information like name of household members, ages, birthplaces, residences, and occupations.

What did your James ancestors do for a living?

In 1940, Laborer and Maid were the top reported jobs for men and women in the USA named James. 19% of James men worked as a Laborer and 9% of James women worked as a Maid. Some less common occupations for Americans named James were Truck Driver and Housekeeper. .

View Census Data for James | Data not to scale

*We display top occupations by gender to maintain their historical accuracy during times when men and women often performed different jobs.

Top Male Occupations In 1940

  • Laborer
    19%
  • Farmer
    16%
  • Salesman
    4%
  • Truck Driver
    3%

Top Female Occupations In 1940

  • Maid
    9%
  • Cook
    7%
  • Housewife
    6%
  • Housekeeper
    5%
Black & white image of two construction labourers

What James family records will you find?

Census Records

There are 2 million census records available for the last name James. Like a window into their day-to-day life, James census records can tell you where and how your ancestors worked, their level of education, veteran status, and more.

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Passenger Lists

There are 354,000 immigration records available for the last name James. Passenger lists are your ticket to knowing when your ancestors arrived in the USA, and how they made the journey - from the ship name to ports of arrival and departure.

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Draft Cards

There are 300,000 military records available for the last name James. For the veterans among your James ancestors, military collections provide insights into where and when they served, and even physical descriptions.

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What is the average James lifespan?

Between 1940 and 2004, in the United States, James life expectancy was at its lowest point in 1941, and highest in 2002. The average life expectancy for James in 1940 was 40, and 72 in 2004.

View Social Security Death Index (SSDI) for James

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