A Genealogy and History website for the Ray-Jones Family

This site documents family and genealogical connections to the Ray-Jones Family, in both structured and anecdotal form.

The families of Baione, Burlamacchi, Callaway, Chaplin, Chapman, Coates, Cowell, Eade, Gould, Hall, Harding, Hill, Hulme, Hurst, Jones, Myers, Pearce, Phillips, Priestman, Rowe, Sharrock, Shepley, Skinner, Wagner, Welcher, Westwood, Willoughby and Wood, amongst others, may find something of interest on this website; please visit our full alphabetical surname index for the complete list.

Raymond Ray-Jones, Painter Etcher, in his studio near St Ives, Cornwall, in 1940

Effie Irene Ray-Jones with Ricky, her constant companion, in 1991

Tony Ray-Jones, striking a distinct pose. New York, 1965

Philip Ray-Jones, 2008

The photos immediately above are of my father, my mother, and my two brothers, Tony and Philip.

My mother’s parents were middle class professionals from London, and were comfortably off - owners of a prep school. My father an introvert, a draughtsman who became a highly skilled painter-etcher, came south from Lancashire cotton country when he was a teenager in 1907 to take up a scholarship place at the Royal College of Art in London, and then lived a life of poverty as an artist in Paris and London for several years. They met when my mother’s brother, fresh from Oxford University and destined to become a QC then a Law Lord, looked for an artist to create portraits of his parents in 1918. They married in 1926.

North and South, poor and wealthy, they brought together two very different parts of England that are still very different today. They had three sons, and all three of us were affected by this mixed heritage, the pursuit of social justice becoming important to us all in our private lives as architect, accountant and (well known) photographer.

My mother’s great grandfather, Allan Maclean Skinner QC, Recorder of Windsor, had made an extensive study of his family history, and her uncle Allan Nugent Chaplin extended it and published it privately in 1902 in 50 copies as ‘The Chaplin and Skinner Families’.

When I retired in 1995 my wife and I went to live in Prague and were there for six happy years. I had time on my hands, but with a plastic bag of letters from an uncle who served the East India Company in the 19thC, the family book, a PC and frequent visits to the UK including the Family History Centre in Islington, I decided to bring Allan Nugent’s book up to date. This website is the result, thanks to my son Mike for the website itself, and to many other family members worldwide who have supplied me with information.

I hope that it will be useful to those searching for information on their own families, as well as ours.
I would greatly appreciate any additional information you feel able to share so that the site can continue to be improved, and am aware that I have made very little use of the internet, since my research ended soon after we returned from Prague in 2001.

You will find some exotic names far back in the history, but many other inhabitants of this island will share them if they care to do their own research. My interest in this was simply as a detective looking for clues and the satisfaction of discovering where they led, but it is time-intensive work and I would probably not have started it without the encouragement given me by the family book and the earlier research by my great uncle and my great great grandfather.

Alan Ray-Jones
alan@ray-jones.org.uk