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Last Updated: Saturday, 4 November 2006, 08:44 GMT
Joneses break same surname record
Grace Jones
Former Bond girl Grace Jones headlined the show
Ex-Bond girl Grace Jones has helped prove there is no keeping up with the Joneses at a record-breaking event in Cardiff.

The 1980s pop singer and style icon was among 1,224 people who created a new record for the largest gathering of people with the same surname.

She also entertained her namesakes at the Wales Millennium Centre.

The previous same-surname record was set in Sweden two years ago by a gathering of 583 people called Norberg.

Jones is the most common surname in Wales and is generally considered to be derived from the term "son of John".

It has been...an unforgettable international celebration of the Jones clan
Iona Jones, S4C's chief executive

It is also a common name in the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Those who took part in the show included opera singers Dame Gwyneth Jones and Gwyn Hughes Jones and West End star John Owen-Jones.

Grace Jones performed two songs, with a costume change in between them, finishing with her club hit Pull Up To The Bumper.

A host of other Joneses including the fictional Jones family from Welsh soap Pobol y Cwm also took part.

Special messages from Sir Tom Jones, whose real name is Thomas Woodward, and fellow singers Bryn Terfel Jones and Aled Jones were read out.

Blue Peter presenter Gethin Jones and former S4C presenter Gwenllian Jones who travelled from Sydney in Australia co-hosted the evening.

Edward Jones from Tywyn and Lisa Jones from Llanddewi-Brefi, Ceredigion, joining the Jones record attempt
Joneses arrived in Cardiff from all over Wales and further afield

Joneses from across Wales and as far away as Australia descended on the capital city to make up the audience.

One American tour company even organised a special trip to Wales so that Joneses living there could play a part in the show.

The evening was regulated by a strict door policy, with all those attending asked to provide identification and present it to independent witnesses.

Hyphenated or maiden names did not count, and all Joneses had to prove their identity to scrutineers from the Guinness Book of Records.

Iona Jones, chief executive of S4C which will screen the Jones Jones Jones show on 26 November, said afterwards: "It has been a wonderful record-breaking evening of entertainment and an unforgettable international celebration of the Jones clan."

One of the 583 Norbergs from Sweden in Cardiff
The attempt was watched closely by the current record holders

Steve Jones, professor of genetics at University College London, said Jones derived from John, and was popular because of the Welsh habit of naming themselves after their father.

He said: "In the 18th Century lots of people were called John and so anybody whose father was called John would become Jones and they'd be no more related than say the son of John Major to the son of John Travolta."

Jones is the most common last name in Wales, accounting for 13.5% of the population.

The name has become so prevalent in the English-speaking world that the phrase "keeping up with the Joneses," which refers to someone trying to maintain the same social status as their neighbours or contemporaries, is widely understood.




SEE ALSO
Grace Jones joins record attempt
20 Oct 06 |  South East Wales
Jones slap tops TV chat show poll
22 Jan 06 |  Entertainment

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