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About the "Fones (Fownes) Family Web Site":

This web site was put together in the hope that it would be helpful to others as well as myself doing research
    on the Fones (Fownes) and related families.  It wouldn't have been possible to gather the information shown
    here without the help of many wonderful people.  If you find the information here helpful and would like to help
support it along with the on going research please contact me.  Please check back occasionaly as information
here is updated over time,  Good Hunting! 

   E. Bruce Fones, Web Site Coordinator.


Some Family History

The Fones (Fownes) Surname

The name of Fones (Fownes), as some family historians are of the opinion is a variant on the Celtic personal
name of "Fionn", which means fair.

Celtic Languages

Celtic is a subfamily of the Indo-European family of languages, At one time during the Hellenistic
period, Celtic speech extended all the way from Britain and the Lberian Peninsula in the west
across Europe to Asia Minor in the east.  Today the Celtic languages that have survived into the
modern era are limited almost entirely to the British Isles and French Brittany.  The Celtic subfamily
is made up of three groups of languages:  the Continental, the Brythonic (also called Bitish), and
the Goidelic (also called Gaelic).

Continetal Celtic / Gaulish

Continental Celtic, which includes all Celtic Idioms on the Continent with the exception of Breton,
died out following the fall of the Western Roman Empire.  The principal example of this group is the
now extinct language Gaulish, for little remains of any other Continental Celtic tongues.  Gaulish was
once the language of Gaul proper (
now modern France). 

The earliest record of the Fones (Fownes) name is of a Sir William Fones, a Knight who came over with
with William the Conqueror in 1066.  The Normans were commonly believed to be of French origin but, more
accurately,  were of Viking origin.  The Vikings, under their Jarl, Thorfinn Rollo, invaded France in about 911
A.D..  After Rollo laid siege to Paris, The French King, Charles the Simple, finally conceced defeat, granting Northern
France to Rollo.  William the Conqueror (Duke William) was decended from the first Duke Rolio of Normandy.   Sir
William Fones, Knight settled in a place called Saxby, where his descendants lived for many centuries.  Other early
records are of a petrus (Peter) Fonne, of Nottinghamshire, about the year 1292, those of Peter Le Ffoon, whose name
appears in the Close Rolls of the time of King Edward III, circa 1331, and those of Willelmus (William) Fones, who was
living in Yorkshire in the year 1379.  From approx: the 1500's into the 1700's Fones (Fownes) families could be found in the
Devonshire, Worcestershire and London areas of England.  Some spellings of the name through early English history are:
Fon, Fons, Ffones, Fonne, Fonnes, Ffoon, Foon, Foones, Fowne, Fownes, Fones and others.  The last two are the most
frequently used in modern times.  Persons dong research on the Fones (Fownes) families might want to contact Jill
Sothcott as she has a large amount of information on these families.  She is always looking for new contacts with whom
to exchange data with.  Her Email is: 

Jill has provided some of her notes on the Fones (Fownes) family in England and I've added them to the web
    page.  They are in html format and can viewed by clicking on the following link:  Jill Sothcott's Notes

The Fones (Fownes) Families of America came from England in the 1600's and settled in New England and
Virginia during the same periods.  The name was spelled differently by clerks and census takers who spelled it
    as it sounded to them.  Examples are, Fauns, Fawns, Foanes, Foans, Fones, Fons and Fownes.  I have found
    direct connections were all these spellings were used, the most common are Fones and Fownes.  Today the two
    areas of the U.S.A. that have the largest concentration of Fones (Fownes) families are the Mid-Atlantic and West
    Coast States.  There were only approx: 374 Fones, 29 Fownes in the U.S.A. that had listed phone numbers (1997) 

The Fones (Fownes, Fawns) Families From The Tide Water Area of Virginia

    The Fones (Fownes) families that settled in the Tide Water area of VA., in the counties of Richmond and
    Westmoreland (part of the area known as the "Northern Neck") have been traced to the 1600's.  Many of
    them were farmers and carpenters.  They fought in all the major wars and most belonged to the Baptist Church
    from the late 1700's.  There are Fones (Fawns) in KY. whose ancestors left VA. after the Revolutionary War (See
KY.information below).  There are Fones in Texas who's family left VA. after the Civil War.  During the late
1800's many Fones resettled in Northern VA. near Washington, D.C. to locate employment.  These are only a few
of the many areas Fones families migrated to from the Tide Water area of Virginia.

Westmoreland County Museum and Library

The Westmoreland County Museum houses a nice collection of historical artifacts and maintains a research
   library (The Henry Hungerford Library) on the 2nd floor.  The library can be useful to those doing family
history research in the Northern Neck of VA. area.  The Museum is conveniently located across from the old
Court House in Montross, Virginia.  One staff person is normally available to assist you.

(Foneswood, VA. is only 5 miles approx: 10 min's from the museum.)

Bruce Fones (left) and James "Jamie" Fones (right) at Foneswood in Richmond County, VA. Sept. 1998

Jamie Fones passed away September 30, 2007 (a great loss to all doing research on the Fones family)

Tombstone photo's of Fones graves in The Northern Neck Area of VA.

Here you'll find pictures of Fones headstones I had time to photograph in 2007.   If by chance anyone else has photo's of others
please send them to me and I will add them.  Click on the link to view the photo's (Updated Mar. 08, 2011).Fones Tombsones

Westmoreland Pictures

I've added some pictures here I thought might be of interest to those who have ancestors from Westmoreland
   County, Virginia.  Click on the link to view them Westmoreland Pictures

Virginia Fones (Fownes) Data Available here on line:

   I've uploaded most of the data I have on Fones (Fownes) Families originating from Virginia so others can view it here. 
    You will need to first click on the "Fones data available here on line" link below.  You will see a list of surnames included
    in the data.  Click on FONES or FOWNES and a index of names will come up.  This is only a partial list, at the bottom
    you can click on back or next which will make the whole list available.    Chick on the name of interest and the data will
come up, click on any name that shows up in the tree and that persons information will come up..
Fones data available here on line. (updated Jan. 19, 2012

Kentucky Fones (Fawns) Information

The Fones (Fawns) Families of Kentucky are descendents of John Fones who moved from Virginia to Bath County
KY.  in approx; 1812 bringing his family with him.  Some of this family adopted the spelling of Fawns instead of
Fones in the 1800's and still use it today.  I have placed some of the information I have on this family here for your
viewing, you can see all of the data on individuals by looking them up in the VA. FONES (FOWNES) family data base above.
(The KY. data here is in Windows Notepad format so anyone using a windows based OS can view it.
Below is the link for most of the KY. data only (updated Mar. 20, 2011):
KY. Fones (Fawns) data


                                                                                                                Tennessee Fones Family Information

I started doing a study of the Fones families of Tennessee in approx: 2002.  I believe this family is descended from the Fones
families of Virginia but as of yet I can’t tie them together.  As you look at the data I now have and find you
have information that could be added or if there are corrections to be made please contact me.
E. Bruce Fones, ebfones@fones.org

The TN. data here is in Windows Notepad Format so anyone using a windows based OS can view it.
Below is the link for the TN. data only (updated Mar. 24, 2012)
TN. Fones Data


Fones (Fownes) Families From New England
(Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut)

While doing research on the Fones from Virginia I have had contact with many folks doing research on
their New England families.  Many of them shared information in the hope that I might come across
data that would be helpful.  I put this data into a file and only looked at it when asked for help concerning
New England Fones families.  I've hoped that a person with a zeal for genealogy would come along who
would take the led for this site collecting and sharing New England Fones information.  Possibly acquiring
enough data to put a data base on the web site like the one for VA. Fones.  Well such a person has come
along who is willing to take on the task.Rick Fones who has been doing research on his own New England
roots is willing to take it on.  This will provide a central place where we can maintain the New England data
we now have and obtain in the future.  It takes a lot of effort from many people to take data from different
family lines and put it together.  So if you have New England roots and are willing to share your data with
  others it would be helpful if you contact Rick.  Lets remember he has a life other then working on genealogy
so let's not expect miracles over night
Rick has recently provided enough information from his research to put up a data base of the New England
Fones family information he now has which is tied together.  Please take a look at this data to see if you have
any information that can be added or see errors that need to be corrected.  Even if you can't find a connection
with your own families history please share what you have with Rick so he can keep it the hope that he
might be able to tie it in later. You can contact Rick at:r_rfones@yahoo.com

To see the information presently in the data base first click on "N.E. Fones data available here on line"
    listed below.  You will see a list of surnames included in the data base.  Click on FONES and a index of names
    will come up.  This is only a partial list, at the bottom you can click on back or next which will make the whole
    list available.  Click on the name of interest and the data will come up, click on any name that shows up in the
    tree and that persons data will come up.
New England Fones data available here on line 



The Fownes Family In Canada
Notes by Anita Fownes

The first known Fownes to arrive in Canada is believed to be William Fownes (known as William Fownes the loyalist).
  There is varying opinions and evidence of when the family arrived in the colonies.. One belief is that William and his
   wife Isabella arrived from New York County with the overwhelming majority of the loyalists in 1772 to Nova Scotia.
      What is missing from this research is documented proof that William was either born in America or England or even as
some say, Holland.  The Provincial Archives of New Brunswick in the "Background on the Grant book Database"
      indicates that land grants issued between 1763 and 1803 were for land located in the area which makes up present day
         New Brunswick.  The arrival of great numbers of loyalists to Nova Scotia, created land demands that could not be met.
              In order to accommodate and administer the new settlers, the province of Nova Scotia was partitioned and New Brunswick
   was formed in 1784.  There are records at the St. Martin/Quaco Museum (Arrivals published by the New Brunswick
           Museum), indicate a William Fownes, Loyalist born 1750 who died 1846 was said to have come to Cumberland 1772 Brit.
       soldier, who removed to St. Martins 1801.  In Esther Clark Wright's book, "The Loyalists of New Brunswick" she sites
               a William Fownes (Fowns, blacksmith p432 St. John Co.) a parrtown grantee, a Loyalist and may have settled at St. Martins
                 as early as 1798.  Copies of land titles verify that William (1750-1846) petitioned for land at St. Martins in 1805 for three lots
      of land on the Bay of Fundy with his two sons, William (1783/1785?-May 16, 1824) and John (1787-May 13, 1858) and
                again later in 1826, William "a British subject has served in his majesty's service during the American rebellion is a native of
             Great Briton" applied for and was granted "a tract of vacant Crown land situate in the parish of aforesaid lying in the north
      rear of these lots to be in rear of Howard's grant (Quaco)", Situated in a grove of trees on these lands at Melvin Beach
              County (Little Beach) are the headstones of William, the Loyalist (1750-1846) and his wife Isabella (1768-1833).  These lands
        are now encircled by the Fundy Trail Parkway between St. Martins and Hopwell Cape which the New Brunswick gov't is
           developing.  William and Elizabeth McCoy spawned a family of six children, two daughters and four sons.  The oldest and
  youngest were daughters, Ann Louisa and Mary E., the sons William, John Abner and Thomas completed the family.

It is my hope that I will be able to add a data base here on line like the one for the VA. based Fones (Fownes) families
to help others with their family research.

If you have information on this family line please contact me.
E. Bruce Fones at:  ebfones@fones.org

Further Ongoing Research:

One of my goals is to locate records that will document the connection between the VA., New
England and English Fones (Fownes) families.  So far this information has eluded me.  I also want
to keep working with Fones (Fownes) families that originated from New England and Virginia to find 
their roots.  It has taken over 40 years to obtain the data I now have and I will share openly.

Persons doing research on the Fones (Fownes) family might also want to review the postings on
the "Fones Family Genealogy Forum" at: http://genforum.familytreemaker.com/fones/

Also the "Fones Surname Message Board" at:

Some Outstanding Free Genealogy sites On The Web

  Cyndi's List of Genealogy Sites
    USGenWeb Project
     L.D.S. Family Search
 Find a Grave

Please E-mail me

   If you have any information (even if only a little) on any branch of these families please contact me.  Sometimes
   what we regard as unimportant information is enough to help others who are looking for their roots.  Lets work
   together and share what knowledge we have to help others and our later generations be able to know their
   families history.

E. Bruce Fones