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The purpose of this paper is to summarize my information concerning John L. James, his apparent brother Henry James, and their possible connections.

It should be borne in mind that a handwritten "James" is easily confused with "Jones." James and Jones are common surnames. Both are patronymics, James originally being applied to someone who was the son of a father named James and Jones referring to someone whose father was named John. James is particularly common among the Scotch and Scotch-Irish. Jones is particularly common among the Welsh. Based on 1990 census data, James is the 71st most common surname in the United States, borne by 0.105% of the population. Jones is the 4th most common surname, used by 0.621% of the population. In short, James is a difficult name to work with genealogically, due to the probability of unrelated James families being present in a given area by coincidence, and the near impossibility of tracing migration routes by reference to places where the surname occurs. To the extent scribes unclearly or inaccurately recorded the name as Jones, forcing the researcher to also consider Jones families, the problem is compounded.

I.     Early James families of White County, Tennessee

II.     John L. James

III.     Henry James

IV.     William A. James, a hypothesis

V.     Other Buchanan County, Missouri James families

VI.     Potentially relevant North Carolina James families

Questions to be followed up (as of May 2003):

1. Could the 1830 census reference to Hampton James and Janice Taylorís report that the parents of Thomas D. Hampton (m. Elizabeth James 1857) were Andrew Hampton and Laticia Sharp (in other words, as in "Sharp R. Whitley") suggest that the Hampton, James and Whitley families may have had connections prior to their arrival in White County?

2. Check for records of the Usery family in White County. Connections exist between this family and both John L. James and Sharp Whitley. Could it be the birth family of Sharp's first wife?

3. Since Cynthia James bought property in 1872, there could be a conveyance by her heirs sometime after her death, i.e. after 1891.

4. Check for John Jones in KS in 1870 census.

5. Check for records in Van Buren County, based on the statement that the Whitleys lived in the mountain town of Spencer there, and the statement that the James family had a summer place in the mountains.

6. Anson County, North Carolina James families.

7. Check for William Jones in White County 1840.

8. Why did Cynthia James buy the house in Halleck in 1872 in her own name, given that John James did not die until 1875, according to his tombstone? Is this related to the familyís apparent absence from the 1870 census? Could John James have been living elsewhere?


[1] See www.census.gov/genealogy/www/namesearch.html


Bill Utermohlen, 1916 Windsor Road, Alexandria, VA 22307;