Jonas Family History
Jonas Name Meaning
English, German, French, Jewish (Ashkenazic), Lithuanian, Czech and Slovak (Jonáš), and Hungarian (Jónás): from a medieval personal name, which comes from the Hebrew male personal name Yona, meaning ‘dove’. In the book of the Bible which bears his name, Jonah was appointed by God to preach repentance to the city of Nineveh, but tried to flee instead to Tarshish. On the voyage to Tarshish, a great storm blew up, and Jonah was thrown overboard by his shipmates to appease God’s wrath, swallowed by a great fish, and delivered by it on the shores of Nineveh. This story exercised a powerful hold on the popular imagination in medieval Europe, and the personal name was a relatively common choice. The Hebrew name and its reflexes in other languages (for example Yiddish Yoyne) have been popular Jewish personal names for generations. There are also saints, martyrs, and bishops called Jonas venerated in the Orthodox Church. Ionas is found as a Greek family name. Jewish (Ashkenazic): respelling of Yonis, with Yiddish possessive -s.
Source: Dictionary of American Family Names ©2013, Oxford University Press