Geneanet > Resources > Family Names > JOSEPH

Origin and popularity of the name JOSEPH


Joseph : English French German Jewish West Indian (mainly Haiti) and African (mainly Tanzania and Nigeria): from the personal name Joseph Hebrew Yosef ‘may He (God) add (another son)’. In medieval Europe this name was borne frequently but not exclusively by Jews; the usual medieval English vernacular form is represented by Jessup. In the Book of Genesis Joseph is the favorite son of Jacob who is sold into slavery by his brothers but rises to become a leading minister of the Pharoah in Egypt (Genesis 37–50). In the New Testament Joseph is the husband of the Virgin Mary which accounts for the popularity of the personal name among Christians. In North America the English form of the surname has absorbed cognates from other languages e.g. Polish Józef Slovenian Jožef Assyrian/Chaldean Yosep Yousep Yosip and Yousip forms that are predominantly Arabic such as Yusuf Yousef and Yousif or Ethiopian such as Yosef and also patronymics such as Polish Jozefowicz and Armenian Hovsepian. Joseph is one of the most frequent surnames in Haiti (along with Jean and Pierre) and elsewhere in the West Indies (e.g. in Trinidad and Tobago Saint Lucia Antigua and Barbuda and Dominica). The name Joseph is also found among Christians in southern India and Indonesia but since South Indians and Indonesians traditionally do not have hereditary surnames the southern Indian and Indonesian name was in most cases registered as such only after immigration of its bearers to the US. Compare Josef.


Source : DAFN2 : Dictionary of American Family Names 2nd edition, ©2022 by Patrick Hanks and Oxford University Press
FANBI : The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain, ©2021, University of the West of England
FANBI : The Oxford Dictionary if Family Names in Britain and Ireland, ©2016, University of the West of England

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Last name frequency

Geographic distribution of the 177,267 individuals with the name JOSEPH on Geneanet.


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    Variants of name JOSEPH