Recorded in England in a wide range of spellings including: Jest, Jeste, Joce, Jose, Joist, Jost, Joust and even Joost, this is a surname of Germanic, Dutch, Breton and Norman French origins. It was originally a cognate of the name 'Joyce', itself a derivative of the Ancient Breton personal name 'Iodoc', meaning 'lord', and as such introduced into England either by the Anglo-Saxons of the pre 8th century or by the Normans after the 1066 Invasion, or later still by the Dutch or Huguenots of the late 17th century. The names as Iodoc and Josce are recorded in the collected register known as the 'Social and Economic Documents of London' circa 1140. Josse was also the name of a saint who had a hermitage at the modern town of St. Josse-sur-Mer in Brittany, and there is no doubt that he had great influence on the later popularity of the surname. Early examples of the surname recording include: Isaac Joscei in the Pipe Rolls of Middlesex for 1208, and Nicholas Joce of Hamshire in 1273. Interestingly the modern German form of Jost and the Dutch Joost are both recorded in London in the early 18th century. Examples taken from the surving registers of the diocese of Greater London include: Thomas Jeste who married Elizabeth Darbey at St Giles Cripplegate, on June 7th 1631, Mary Jost, the daughter of Hans Jost, christened at St. Botolph without Aldgate on April 14th, 1714, and Elizabeth Emma Joist, christened at St. George the Martyr, Southwark, on April 20th 1823. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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