This long-established and interesting surname is of Old French origin, and derives from either of two Old French personal names, each having a complex derivation. The first, "Goscelin, Gosselin" or "Joscelin", was popularised in England after the Norman Conquest of 1066, and appears as "Gozelinus" and "Goscelinus" in the Domesday Book of 1086, with "Joscelinus" and "Joslenus" occurring in 12th Century documents relating to the eastern English counties of Norfolk and Lincolnshire. The name is ultimately believed to derive from the Old German "Gautselin, Gauzelin, Goz(e)lin", a diminutive (-lin), from a short form of the various compound names having as their first element the tribal name "Gaut" (akin to "Geatas", the Scandinavian peoples to which Beowulf belonged). The second name is a diminutive of the Old French "Josse"; hence, "Josselin", introduced into England by the Normans in this form, but ultimately coming from the Breton personal name "Iodoc, Judoc", a diminutive of "iudh", lord. Early recordings of the surname include: Walter Joslein (Yorkshire, 1195); Ralph Jocelin (Norfolk, 1198); and Ralph Joscelin (Northamptonshire, 1208). On September 4th 1586, Marie, daughter of Ralph Joselin, was christened at Roxwell, Essex. The Coat of Arms most associated with the name is described thus, "Chequy gules and azure, on a fesse of the first, an annulet gold. Crest: A boar's head and neck sable, muzzled gold". The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Goselin, which was dated 1185, in the "Knights Templars Records of Lincolnshire", during the reign of King Henry 1, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. 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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