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James (M)>

James (male)

Synonym(s):Hamish (M) Jacob (M)
Variants:Giaco (M) Giacobbe (M) Giacomo (M) Iacobus (M) Iacomus (M) Iago (M) Jacobus (M) Jacomus (M) Jacques (M) Jago (M) Jaime (M) Jaume (M) Séamas (M) Séamus (M) Seumas (M) Seumus (M) Shamus (M) Shemus (M) Xaime (M)
Diminutive(s):Ja (M) Jam (M) Jas (M)
Pet Name(s):Hamish (M) Jack (M) Jamesie (M) Jamie (M) Jas (M) Jem (M) Jemmie (M) Jim (M) Jimac (M) Jimmie (M) Jimmy (M) Peem (M)
Can be spelt:Iames (M)
Feminine form:Gemma (F) Jacobina (F) Jacqueline (F) Jaime (F) Jamelia (F) Jamell (F) Jamesina (F) Jametta (F) Jamie (F) Jemima (F)
Source(s): English Parish Register
The Oxford Names Companion, OUP
"Scottish Forenames" - Donald Whyte, FGH, FSG
Private communications [AB, CS, GCB, IS, LA]

There are several feminine forms of JamesEnglish and Scottish. Developed, as is Jacob, from Latin Iacobus/Iacomus; NT Gospels.

The meaning of Jacob and henceof James is taken to be "heel grabber". (See Jacob for an explanation.)

James and Jacob can be interchangeable in official documents and hence are synonyms. In old documents in Latin, Iacobus/Jacobus or Iacomus/Jacomus was used, with appropriate case endings, for James or Jacob.

A correspondent [CS] has sent a note of a Will registered 1855 in Fochabers, Bellie parish, Banffshire, Scotland for "... Johannas Y---, Merchant ..." who was registered as James on his death certificate and as witness to a birth in 1830 [IS]. Another correspondent [AB] has noted that the family were members of the Roman Catholic church. We have no other reference to a Johannas used in Latin for James. Note that Johannes is the normal Latin for John.

While James is one of the four most frequent names, Jacob occurs very rarely in the 1841 Census of Aberdeenshire. Jacobina, the Scottish feminine form, is slightly more frequent.

  • A correspondent [LA] has pointed out that many [?most] earlier manuscripts used a common script for capitals "I" & "J". Thus James may have been written and then transcribed as Iames. Many on-line services have transcribed original documents faithfully so this version might be the one to look for in the indexes to earlier records.

With reference to the feminine forms of James, some of which are listed above, we have noted that there is a tendency in Scotland to give girls their father's name as well as a recognisable female name.  For example, GCB has noted "James Frances Spalding, youngest daughter of James Spalding" on a gravestone in Aberdeen.  We have not recorded this as a separate name.