This is the most famous name and surname of the Christian World. Deriving from the Hebrew Yochan, it was recorded from the 12th century a.d. onwards in every European country. It is also recorded in over fourteen hundred spellings!. These range from the base forms such as Jon or John (England & Wales), Evan (Wales), Ian (Scotland), Shane (Ireland), Ivan (Russia) Jean, Jeanne (France), Giovanni, Zanni and Zoane (Italian) Polish Janus, the Czeck Jan, Jann, Jannex, Jannic, Janak and Jansky, and diminutives such as Jankin, Jenkin, Jeannet, Nannini, Zanicchi, and patronymics Johnson, Joynson, Jenson, Jocie, Ivanshintsev, and Ivashechkin.However spelt, all have derived from the biblical Hebrew "Yochan", which translates as " He who Jehovah has favoured (with a son)". The name became particularly popular when returning Crusaders from the Holy Land often called their children by biblical names in commemoration of the fathers pilgrimage. These then in turn developed into surnames. The earliest recordings of surnames are to be found in Britain and amongst these is Thomas John in the "Hundred Rolls" of the county of Buckinghamshire for the year 1279, whilst in Germany Walterus Johannis appears in the 1323 charters of the town of Vaihingen, whilst the charters of the city of Friedberg in 1344 record Baumeister Johannssen. The first recorded spelling of the surname in any spelling is believed to be that of Pertus Johannis. This was dated 1230 a.d.. This is in the charters known as the "Close Rolls" of the county of Suffolk", during the reign of King Henry 111 of England,1216 to 1272.
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