This article looks in detail at ten rare last names beginning with J.
Each of these rare surnames only had one hundred bearers in the U.S. in 2010.
I used historic census data to take a look at how unique they had been in the early 19th and late 20th centuries.
Have their numbers increased over the decades or were they more numerous in the past? Read on…
Here’s an interesting fact. Every single person named Jollimore in the United States in 1900 was resident in Massachusetts.
That’s all eighteen of them. About half were born in Canada. They or their forebears had likely emigrated from England.
About eighteen of the one hundred people named Joblin in 2010 declared as Hispanic. The majority declared as white.
When I looked at the 1930 census, I found fifty-three people with the name. So, the numbers have nearly doubled in nearly a hundred years.
The name is of English origin.
People named Jagnarine in the 2010 census were spread across several heritages. This was the breakdown of how they reported their ethnicity:
- Asian or Pacific Islander: 44%
- Black: 33%
- American Indian: 9%
- Mixed: 8%
- White: 6%
I’m fascinated by this name because I can’t find it in any American census up to the 1950s.
When I widened my search beyond the census, I found a number of marriage and death certificates. Several belonged to Jagnarines who were born in Guyana.
Jackling is a variant of Jacklin which is a little more common with 750 people in the 2010 census.
When the name has English origins, it comes from an old French pet name for Jacques (the “lin” at the end being the pet part).
When the name has Germanic origins, it is a variant of the name Jacob.
Jentry is a spelling variant of the name Gentry.
Interestingly, the name Jentry has been in decline in America. It had 342 bearers in the 1932 census but had fallen to one hundred in 2010.
The name is of English origin. Early bearers were likely minor aristocrats or people of noble birth.
The number of people with Jestus as a surname hasn’t changed much since 1900. There were 96 bearers back then compared to one hundred in 2010.
Interestingly, the heritage of the bearers seems to have changed. About ten percent in 1900 were Native Americans.
However, that percentage dropped to zero or negligible in 2010.
The origins of the name are likely English. It may be a variant of the name Justice, which was bestowed on lawmakers.
When I went back through the census archives, I couldn’t find a Javernick in 1900.
I had to jump to 1920 to find the first appearance of seven Javernicks in Fremont, Colorado. This was one family with the parents apparently born in Austria.
I say “apparently” because ten years later they were recorded as being born in Yugoslavia.
Jeckell is a name with Breton origins. The meaning comes from the Old Breton words for a generous lord.
Early bearers in Brittany (France) may have been members of nobility.
The name Jar was spread across several ethnicities in the 2010 census:
- White: 44%
- Asian or Pacific Islander: 33%
- Hispanic: 14%
When the name is of Asian heritage, it can be of Chinese origins.
But I’ve also gone back to the 1900 census where I found several people named Jar who were born in Honolulu. These are Pacific Islanders.
The European and Hispanic origins are unclear. However, I can see several countries of birth represented in that old census:
No, I’m not referring to the guitarist and singer. And his surname is Mayer anyway.
There were nine people named Johnmeyer in the 1910 census. They were all living in Boonville, Missouri, and were part of the same family.
The father immigrated from Germany and married a local woman.
What Is The Most Unique Name Starting With J?
None of these names is absolutely unique as there is more than one person that holds them.
But some are more unique than others.
This is somewhat subjective, but here is my judgment of the most unique last name starting with J.
I’m going to rule out names like Jackling that have more common variants.
Joblin initially struck me as quite unique but then I saw that the numbers had doubled over fifty years.
In my opinion, Jagnarine is the most unique last name starting with J.
The reason is that I couldn’t find a single census record for a Jagnarine before 1950.
What About The Opposite Of Rare?
Did you know that the second most common name in America starts with J?
It may not be the one you think (if you were thinking “Jones” then you’re wrong).
You can find the numbers and ranks in our big list of surnames that begin with J.