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Joneses Or Norbergs? Easy Success

By ERIC SHACKLE, in Sydney, Australia
 

More than 1200 people, all named Jones, (but not all related) crowded the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff on November 3. Next day, a capacity crowd of Rugby football fans in the Millennium Stadium cheered the Welsh team led by Stephen Jones (captain), with Duncan and Adam Jones, Mark Jones and Alun Wyn Jones as they ran on to the field to play against Australia.

At the Centre, Joneses from all over the world congregated in a successful bid for a world record gathering of people with the same name, previously held by 583 Norbergs in Sweden (are there more Icebergs than Norbergs?). They were entertained by famous singers named Jones.

An observer from the Guinness Book of World Records carefully counted the Joneses, and certified that there were 1224 of them, so they had knocked out the northern Norbergs.

Interviewed by Jane Hutcheon, on the ABC's national radio program Saturday AM, organiser Graham Jones said that the world-famous Welsh singer Tom Jones, whose recorded voice could he heard over the Cardiff public address system, was originally named Tom Woodward, so he was not sure if he was a genuine Jones.

GRAHAM JONES: If he hasn't changed it to Jones legally, then he wouldn't be eligible, and we might have to turn him away.

JANE HUTCHEON: While just one per cent of the British population is surnamed Jones, in North Wales it's one in 11. But as Professor Steve Jones, a genetics expert from the University College of London explains, they are not all part of the same family.

STEVE JONES: The name Jones comes from the Welsh habit of calling yourself after your father, and in the 18th century there were a lot of people called John, so anybody whose father was called John would become Jones. They'd be no more related than say the son of John Major is to the son of John Travolta.

What next? Will the Smiths of the world challenge the Joneses for the title? (Smiths outnumber the Joneses in most English-speaking countries). Or will some of the 108 million people named Li or the 100+ million Changs (the world's two most common surnames) get together in China in a show of strength?

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Story first posted December 2006

Copyright © 2006

Eric Shackle

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