Origin of surname Jess in Poland/Germany?


It always puzzled me, where is my last name from?

I have no clue, since I have never seen encountered my last name anywhere else.

We come from Poland. Our family supposedly comes from around Düsseldorf.

But is this last name German?

Or did they move there from somewhere else?

The topic of my family's origins is a taboo at my house, so I don't know much, but here's what I know

  • One of my ancestors, Aleksander Jess, died during the Nazi times in Nazi Germany. I have seen the death certificate once. No, there's no way I can possibly post the picture. Why? As I have said, it's a huge taboo at my house. I'd have to ask somebody where is it.

  • Edward Teofil Jess, was born on 05.03.1889 (European way of writing down the date) in Kalisz, Poland. He was the son of Krzysztof Jess and Zofia from the house Neumann. He studied in Petersburg and in Warsaw, at the University of Technology. He fought in the WWI, the Polish-Soviet war (1919-1921) and the World War II. He had a wife and a daughter, Zofia.

He died in Katyn, in 1940:

"Find A Grave Index," database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QVVJ-M4S1 : 13 December 2015), Edward Teofil Jess, ; Burial, Smolensk, , Smolensk Oblast, Russian Federation, Katyn Forest Massacre Site (1940); citing record ID 22365517, Find a Grave, http://www.findagrave.com.

Aleksander Jess

Posted 2017-02-16T20:17:54.313

Reputation: 31

2Hi Aleksander, welcome to G&FH SE. While surname origin questions are not off-topic for this site, I would suggest that it will be difficult for anyone to give you a definitive answer (anything more than you could get from doing a Google search). People may share your surname but not share any ancestry with you. To trace the origin of your surname, the first step is to trace your ancestry back as far as possible. It would therefore be useful for you to state your sources - for example, why do you suppose your family comes from Düsseldorf? Feel free to [edit] your question to add info. – Harry Vervet – 2017-02-17T02:00:47.343

A Google search led me to https://www.houseofnames.com/jeschke-family-crest but if my surname was Jess, rather than assuming it applies to my family I would follow the advice of @HarryVervet and trace my Jess ancestors using the help possible at this site to see where that leads me.

– PolyGeo – 2017-02-17T08:53:26.937


As someone who also have a surname with mixed German/Polish (actually Silesian) origin, I can assure you you should definitely do more research. The history of the region of former eastern Germany/contemporary Poland is very complicated and also very passioning. "Jess" doesn't sound like a polish name at all but it might be likely your family is from someplace which today is in Poland. A good website to compare contemporary and pre-war surname distributions in Germany (before expulsions of millions of German from Poland and Czechoslovakia) is http://www.gen-evolu.de

– Bregalad – 2017-02-17T21:41:34.757

1Düsseldorf is part of the Ruhr region, and in the 19th century many polish people moved to the Ruhr (it was the same political country - Prussia) to work with better condition than what they had in German Poland - higher salaries. "Jess" sounds German and not polish, you cannot have 2 "s" in a row in the Polish language. Because the 2 people were and continues to be mixed, it's extremely common for Germans to carry Polish names and even more common for Poles to carry German names. Somtimes a name might have a Polish and a German variant (it's the case with my name BTW). – Bregalad – 2017-02-17T21:44:24.753

@Bregalad I think you should use your comments within an answer. – PolyGeo – 2017-02-17T22:32:23.007

So the topic of my family is a taboo. My father's part is either dead, or we don't talk to them. Tough luck. All I know is that we have a death certificate from Nazi times with the name "Aleksander Jess." Unfortunately there's no way I can access it. Also, I know about Edward Teofil Jess. He studied in Sankt Petersburg, he was an officer in the polish army, died in Katyń. – Aleksander Jess – 2017-02-17T22:34:57.863

@AleksanderJess Maybe the name in Polish could be Jeść, which means "to eat" (infinitive form). Just a random hypothesis. – Bregalad – 2017-02-18T22:41:23.407

@Bregalad haha odważna teoria – Aleksander Jess – 2017-02-18T22:42:24.590

@PolyGeo my only concern is... Is the data from houseofnames.com reliable? I also found out that the "Jess" family comes from Yorkshire. Also from that website. But again. How reliable is it? – Aleksander Jess – 2017-02-18T22:44:00.427

I cannot vouch for it. If my surname was Jess, rather than assuming it applies to my family I would follow the advice of @HarryVervet and trace my Jess ancestors using the help possible at this site to see where that leads me instead. – PolyGeo – 2017-02-18T22:49:56.227

I think you should use the [edit] button beneath your question to revise it with the information in your comment. We get quite a few questions related to WW2 so perhaps some record sources new to you can be uncovered.

– PolyGeo – 2017-02-18T22:57:23.177

Anyone interested in the WW2 history of Smolensk may be interested in this question from the GIS Stack Exchange: http://gis.stackexchange.com/questions/229079/georeference-russian-military-map-1941

– PolyGeo – 2017-02-20T03:20:08.093



In polish Wikipedia I found Edward Teofil Jess (site: Komenda Rejonu Uzupełnień Wieluń). It seems, that he was commander of District Command of Wieluń Recipes from march 1932 to march 1934. He was infantry major. Your name does not sound like coming from Poland (many cultures and names have been mixed up throughout history of my counry).

Olga Świder

Posted 2017-02-16T20:17:54.313

Reputation: 41


Jess has been a surname in England and Scotland traceable back to 1600's. I believe there are heraldic coats of arms for Jess in both England and Germany.


Posted 2017-02-16T20:17:54.313

Reputation: 1

This doesn't actually answer the question. – sempaiscuba – 2018-01-30T15:13:04.580