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Variant names

Jumpe, Jompe, Jumps

Name origin

I believe the name Jump to have originated in Lancashire, England, possibly North Meols (modern day Southport). This is consistent with English census data, parish registers and older sources available online.

I have found no evidence of any connection with the village of Jump near Barnsley, Yorkshire.

The meaning/etymology of the apparently simple name Jump is complicated. According to the OED the modern meaning of the word 'jump' only arose around 1500 (the Old/Middle English equivalents in use would have been 'leap' and 'spring'). The existence of the name Jump/Jumpe by 1381 therefore predates the modern meaning. Earlier references to the word 'jumper' in the OED are late 14th century, thus:

1374 (first recorded written use) Chaucer, Troylus & Criseyde ii. 988 (1037) 'Ne Iompre iumpere ek no discordaunt þing y-fere' - 'do not mix discordant things together'.

1385. Thomas Usk's Testament of Love (published in William Thynne's 1532 Works of Geofrey Chaucer Prol. f. cccxxv) 'Howe shulde than a frenche man borne, suche termes conne iumpere in his mater, but as the iay chatereth englyssh.' - 'know how to jumble such terms together'.

Whether these usages have any bearing on the surname is difficult to know.

Historical occurrences of the name

The earliest reference I have seen is to 'Adam Jump and his wife 2 shillings' in the 1381 Poll Tax records for Northmeles (ref Exchequer Lay Subsidies, PRO, 179/130/24 CP/744 given in 'North Meols and Southport A History', Peter Aughton, 1988).

From parish registers I have the burial of Ellen Jump 26 Jul 1539 St Michael and All Angels, Croston, Lancashire (only about 10 miles from North Meols).

A Thos. Jumpe of Birkdale (2 miles from North Meols) is recorded as a witness at 'Baldermyerhokes meadow' in 1554, age 50 (also from Peter Aughton's book).

My favourite so far is William Jompe, a Liverpool Ferryman for a number of years from 1577 (when he was paid 20 shillings for the year). He was living in Water Street 21 Aug 1581 (tax records) and was prosecuted in 1578, 1581 and 1583 for not maintaining his house (ruyne and decaye). He was fined for affray in 1597 (with a Thomas Jompe). He was appointed 'scavenger' in 1599 (clearing the streets of butchers' waste etc). He suffered various other fines over the years for overcharging ferry passengers, and neglecting his duties (eg as the scavenger). A colourful character I think. (Source Liverpool Town Books. Society of Genealogists Library, LA/L42).

After that there are frequent entries in English parish registers, with 95% being in Lancashire.

Name frequency

Jump is a fairly rare surname. There were 514 occurrences in the 1881 UK census (a rate of 19/million) and 678 in the 1998 UK electoral register (18/million). ONS suggests 771 living Jumps in UK in 2002 (829 corrected by 0.93 as suggested on the website).

Distribution of the name

The surname profiler website ( suggests that there are good numbers of Jumps in the USA (especially Kentucky) and New Zealand (especially Northland) but none (ie a negligible number) in Ireland, Canada or Australia.