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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.

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    Hi 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 Feb 17 '17 at 2:00
  • A Google search led me to 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 Feb 17 '17 at 8:53
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    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 gen-evolu.de – Bregalad Feb 17 '17 at 21:41
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    Düsseldorf 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 Feb 17 '17 at 21:44
  • @Bregalad I think you should use your comments within an answer. – PolyGeo Feb 17 '17 at 22:32
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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).

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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.

Some of the information contained in this post requires additional references. Please edit to add citations to reliable sources that support the assertions made here. Unsourced material may be disputed or deleted.

  • This doesn't actually answer the question. – sempaiscuba Jan 30 '18 at 15:13

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