This interesting surname is of Germanic origin, and is a diminutive of the male given name "Joseph". The personal name derives from the Hebrew "Yosef", which translates as "may He (God) add (another son)". This name was given to Joseph, son of Jacob and Rachel, who occupies the last fifteen chapters of the Book of Genesis; he was Jacob's twelfth son. In the New Testament Joseph is the carpenter husband of Mary, about whom we read in the early chapters of St. Matthew and St. Luke. There was also Joseph of Arimathea, who buried the body of Jesus. Once or twice Joseph occurs in England before 1066, and afterwards it was used fairly frequently. The popularity of the name is borne out by the number of surnames it generated, which range from Jesse, Jessett and Jossell, to Jesel, Jessel and Jessle. Recordings of the surname from German Church Registers include: the christening of Conrad, son of Conrad and Magdalena Jesle, on March 26th 1586, at Ettenheim, Freiburg, Baden; the marriage of Jacob Jesel and Catharina Tochter on June 21st 1612, at Unterowisheim, Karlsruhe, Baden; and the marriage of Godfrid Jessel and Dorti Hagens at Magenow Schwerin, Mecklenburg-Schwerin, on November 24th 1690. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Bartle Jaesslin, which was dated May 15th 1581, marriage to Anna Keonig, at Grossgartach, Neckarkreis, Wuertt, Germany, during the reign of Rudolph 11, "Habsburg Emperor", 1576 - 1612. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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