The famous biblical names Joseph, Isaac, and Abraham for example, were first introduced into Britain by the returning Crusaders and Pilgrims of the 11th century a.d. onwards. These bacame in time Christian surnames, and they also developed a wide range of alternative short form or nickname, spellings.In this case the names Jess, Gesse, Jesse, Jessey, Gees, and Gass, all developed from the name Joseph. This name translates as "god may add to", although the precise meaning in the ancient times was probably quite different..Joseph became popular in England after the 10th century, "Josephus of London" being recorded in the famous 1086 Domesday Book, and "Joseph of Lincoln" in the Danelaw Rolls of the year 1147. William Joseph of Suffolk, being one of the very first surname recordings. Later examples which show the development of the short forms include Abraham Gasse, at St Brides chruch, Fleet Street, London, on March 13th 1588, Anne Gesse, at St Mary Whitechapel, on March 29th 1635, and John Jesse at St Giles, Camberwell, on May 28th 1834. The first recorded spelling of the family name is believed to be that of Henry Joseph, which was dated 1191, in the pipe rolls of the county of Hampshire. This was during the reign of King Richard 1st, known as 'The Lionheart', 1189 - 1199. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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