This interesting and unusual name is a variant of "Joyce" and may find its origins in two different cultures. The most likely derivation for Josiah is however Breton, stemming from the famous 7th Century Prince, Judocus, who became a hermit and was later canonised. His cult had a large following and the name spread throughout Europe, evolving from the Flemish variant "Joss" to the Latin rendering "Jocea" which in turn gave rise to the Christian name Joyce. Josiah is also a favourite Hebrew name meaning "May the Lord heal", being more frequently used in this context as a christian rather than a surname. In 1738 one Samuel Josiah was christened on May 14th at St. Dunstan, Stepney, London and in 1743, Manuel Josiah and Ann Wilson were married at St. Katherines by the Tower, London on the 20th of December. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Jocea, which was dated 1199, The Pipe Rolls, Rutland, during the reign of King Richard I, "Richard the Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. 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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