Recorded in over one hundred different spellings including Jaime, Jaquot, Jammet, Iacomelli, Como, Cumo, Jacob, Jacoby, Mazo, Masso, Musso, Comel, Comelli, Mizzi, Mazolla, Mizzi, Muzzalli, Mussilli, Mussollini, this is a highly complex medieval surname. It can be British, French, Italian, Jewish, and however spelt all derive from the name Jacobus, better known in English as James. Most of the spellings are patronymics or diminutives, to give son of (Jacobus/Jacabo) James, or grandson of James, or descendant of James. or as a diminutive 'Little James'. In biblical terms the original James were apostles of Jesus Christ, although in the 17th century it was a names much associated with pretenders to the throne of England. The name also became famous through the patronymic Mussolini, with Benito Mussolini being dictator of Italy in the early 20th century. The origination is the ancient Hebrew 'Akew' meaning 'heel' - Jacob being born, it is said, holding his brother's Esau's heel!! The earliest surviving recordings as a surname are probably those in England in the year 1272, when William Jacob appears in the Hundred Rolls of the county of Cambridge, and William fils Jackoby appears in the similar Hundred rolls of the county of Kent also in 1272.
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