After I described my search for information to take me past great-grandfather Richard William Gines, I got very interesting comments and came to several conclusions on my own.
Randy Seaver asked if “Gines” is pronounced with a hard G or J sound. Interesting question! I n my family, it was always pronounced with a hard G. There are some sources, however, that say historically, the name may be derived from Jines, Joines, or even Jones.
Then later, my cousin Karen Burney suggested that perhaps it was misspelled “Gimes” in some places. And in fact, I found several people that I know to be “Gines” listed in other places as “Gimes.” Later, Karen mentioned that she had recently met a fellow named “Guynes.” When I checked this out, it was clear that this spelling covers a lot of Gineses!
One interesting phenomenon is that in Louisiana, there are numerous white people named “Guynes” and virtually none named “Gines.” On the other hand, Louisiana is home to many, many blacks named “Gines,” and just a handful named “Guynes.” These numbers are similar in Mississippi, although there are many more black people named “Guynes” in Mississippi than there are in Louisiana.
Given those anecdotal observations, I decided to run these names through the World Names Profiler. Here’s what comes out:
Top Countries – Frequency per Million
So I guess “Guynes” really is an American name, even though it may be a misspelling of Gines!
Snyder, Scurry County, Texas
Jackson, Hinds County, Mississippi
Crystal Springs, Copiah County, Mississippi
Corinth, Alcorn County, Mississippi
Shreveport, Caddo Parish, Lousiana
The Top Cities report was interesting. The one surprise was Snyder, Texas. Apart from that, I had observed that there are large concentrations of Guynes-named folks in the other places listed. I hadn’t exactly come across Corinth, Mississippi, but it is adjacent to several other counties where people named Guynes have been enumerated historically. My Gines family is from Shreveport.
Only one U.S. state appeared on the list of Top Regions–that was Utah. All of the other Top Regions were areas in Spain.
Here’s the Gines surname distribution map for North America.
These results are not inconsistent with some research I did several years ago where I wrote:
“In America today, there are at least five Gines family groups. The Midwestern Gines families are largely descendants of German and English immigrants in Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana. Their genealogy has been well-documented by Ron Gines. (Ron and his mother, Wanda L. Gines, have published a two-volume book called Our Brink Heritage ( Gynzer Publishing, Library of Congress Catalog Card No. 98-71249, ISBN 1-57502-784-4), available at most libraries.)
The LDS Gines families are centered in Utah and Idaho. They were among the founders of the LDS cmmunity in Woodland, Utah. These families comprise the largest Gines family group in America today. They trace their origins to the German-English Midwestern Gines family group.
The African-American Gines families can be found in the Midwest, the South, and Texas.
The Latino or Hispanic Gines families are of two sub-groups: one is centered in the Southwest and is mainly of Mexican descent; the other is found in the urban areas of the Eastern United States, being primarily of recent Puerto Rican ancestry.
There is an Asian-Pacific Islander Gines family group consisting of Filipino-descended individuals. They are concentrated on the west coast and in Hawaii. Like the Latino Gines families, the Filipino Gines families trace their roots to Spain.”
That’s from an old website of mine called “Our Lifetimes,” which unfortunately hasn’t been updated in several years. You can find it at http://www.geocities.com/ourlifetimes/lifetimes-gines1.html
The North American Map shows the surname Gines moderately distributed across theAtlantic seaboard, in the South, in Lousiana and Texas, throughout the Midwest and on the West Coast and Hawaii. Heavy concentrations are found in Utah, Nevada, and Idaho, all states with high LDS populations.
A surprise here was that South Carolina was shown as having a low distribution of the name. In fact there are many thousands of folks, mainly black, named Gines in South Carolina. (Of course, remember that the distribution map is based on frequency per million; the fact that there are large absolute numbers is of less significance).
The one other surprise was that the UK did not rank higher. As I have studied this surname, I find large numbers of folks named Gines in the UK or having moved to America from the UK. They come primarily from Warwickshire, England, the county which includes Loxley (Robin Hood’s birthplace in legend), Stratford-upon-Avon (where Shakespeare lived) and, more importantly today, Birmingham.
The French Connection: As I was growing up, my mother told me that her grandfather, Richard William Gines, was of French descent. But as I got into genealogy, I saw no evidence of French ancestry on his part. She said the surname Gines was French. On the other hand, his wife, Sylvia, bears a French surname, LeJay. I began to assume that my mother had gotten her grandparents mixed up over this French issue or that I had misunderstood her all these years. But the World Names Profiler suggests that she may be correct.
What exactly do these data tell us? Wait until tomorrow for an explanation!
February 9, 2009 Monday at 10:52 pm