The last time I looked, Jones was at #4 with Smith significantly in the lead. In the United States, it trails closely behind Johnson and Williams. You see lots of football players with Williams on the back of their uniforms. I'm sure they excel in other areas as well, just more anonymously. Myself, I haven't met that many Williamses. Still, if you believe statistics, there are more of them than Joneses.

In the Army there were lots of Joneses, though most of them, in my experience, were black. I worked with one who had enough personality for two. He introducing himself as Jones, though we all had embroidered names on our uniforms, mostly so he could turn toward me to say, "And this here is my brother Jones." It was fun to watch how people did not respond to that. He'd stroll into the office, pat me on the back and ask, "How's mom?"

My family had no choice about being Joneses, but they did have choices about first and second names. They chose rather ordinary names, I think. They named their children after Prime Ministers, movie stars and sometimes themselves. My own name was the single most common name in Wales when I was born. Thankfully, here it was a rarity. I was sometimes embarrassed to give Jones as my last name, as though I might be on the lamb or something, but the moment I said Evan Jones I was exonerated. It had a certain something about it that seemed honest. When people, many of them Joneses, yelled at their kids in the market, they never once yelled at me.

I had tea with the poet Basil Bunting in his temporary home when he was a visiting honorary professor at U.C. Santa Barbara. I was there hoping to photograph him and hoping as well to squeeze out some gossip about Ezra Pound and Luis Zukovski. What I got instead were stories about Russian aviators in England during the First World War with rainbow dyed beards. When he put my first and last names together he laughed and laughed and broke into a story about the British Census Taker in Wales. He worked his way down a series of row houses and the man of the house, door after door, was Evan Jones. He began to think these Welshmen were having a laugh at his expense. Finally, he demanded, "Is everyone in this town named Evan Jones?" "Oh, no," came the reply in a lovely Welsh lilt, "William Williams lives just across the way."