Sometimes the origin of a surname is quite easy to trace, although as to why it developed in a certain way is not always easy to explain - this surname is certainly one of them! Recorded in the spellings of Isson, Ison, Isom, Izen, Jesson, Yesson, Ysson, and possibly other forms, this is one of the spellings of "the son of Joseph'. As to how spellings there are of Joseph is unclear, but it certainly runs into hundreds and as such is recorded in every European country. Its popularity is mainly as a result of 'Crusader' 12th century influence, when soldiers returning from the famous expeditions to free the Holy Land, named their children after early Christians, and also in commemoration of their fathers exploits. Surnames such as Joseph, Abraham, and Isaac for example, are Christian in origin in Europe, and not Jewish, although it can be reasonably argued that all the early Christians were Jewish. In this case the development has been from Joseph to the nicknames Joss and Jess, to which was added the patronymic 'son'. However dialects being thick, and spelling being poor created this wide range of spellings. Examples taken from English church registers include Thomas Izen, christened at St Botolphs without Aldgate, on June 25th 1581, Thomas Ysson, christened at St Mary Magdalene, Bermondsey, on April 25th 1591, and John Isson, christened at St Brides, Fleet Street, London, on January 15th 1601. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Josepsone, which was dated 1332, in the Subsidy Rolls of the county of Cumberland, during the reign of King Edward 111, known as 'The father of the Navy', 1327 - 1377.
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