Recorded in many spellings including Jocelyn, Joscelyn, Joscelyne, Josselyn, Joslin, Joslen, Josling, Josland and Joseland, this is a surname of French origins. Particulary popular in the British Isles, it was recorded as a personal name even before the Norman French Invasion of 1066 nevertheless it was after that date that it began to achieve popularity. It derives from the German name Goscelin which is also responsible for the English surname of Gosling. The name is a diminutive and may mean 'Little Gotha', from the ancient tribe of that name which was prominent in ancient legends. or from the pre 5th century personal name Gauzelin, which is also a diminutive form of Gaut, a Scandinavian people. to which Beowulf belonged. Early examples of recordings include Walter Joscelin of Yorkshire in 1198, John Gostelen of Norfolk in 1462, Sarah Joscelyn at St James Clerkenwell in the city of London in 1672, and Sarah Josland at St Giles Cripplegate, also city of London, in 1682. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Goselin. This was dated 1185, in the register of the Knight Templars for the county of Lincolnshire, during the reign of King Henry 11nd of England, 1154 - 1189. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the 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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