This very unusual and interesting surname has an ancient history. It is a patronymic or diminutive form of the Roman (Latin) personal name "Julius", the name of several saints, to say nothing of one Julius Caesar. The name is not in any way Hebrew or Ashkenazic, the "modern" spelling form being a typical example of dialectal Anglicization, allied to sheer bad spelling. There are many variant forms, including Jewiss, Jewess, Jewis, Jewise and Jewes, and the epicentre of the name in England was originally Devon and Cornwall, although in the 20th Century the name is widely scattered. Early recordings include: Joane Jewes, who married Myles Jackson, on June 20th 1645 at the Church of St. Dunstan's, Stepney, London; and Elizabeth Jewis, who married Thomas Collard at All Hallows Church, London Wall on May 4th 1676. On December 9th 1784, in the reign of George 111 (1760 - 1820), Ann Jewiss married Joseph Mulcaster at St. Leonard's Church, Shoreditch, and this may be the first recording in this spelling form. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Jone Jewes, which was dated May 21st 1611, marriage to Richard Burly, at Newton Ferrers, Devon, during the reign of King James 1 of England and V1 of Scotland, 1603 - 1625. 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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