Jacobs Name Study

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This is a One Name Study to collect together in one place everything about the surname Jacobs. The goal of this study is to link as many Jacob family lines & variants as possible to the Global Family Reunion. The hope is that other researchers like you will join our study to help make it a valuable reference point for people studying lines that cross or intersect. Please contact the project leader, add categories to your profiles, add your questions to the bulletin board, add details of your name research, etc.


This medieval surname is a patronymic of the given name Jacob, from the Latin Jacobus, itself coming from the Hebrew personal name Yakoov, which is traditionally interpreted as deriving from the Hebrew "akev" meaning "heel" or "following-after".

In the Bible, this is the name of the younger twin brother of Esau who took advantage of the latter's hunger and impetuousness to persuade him to part with his birthright "for a mess of potage". Jacob was said to have been born holding on to Esau's heel.

However, it was not originally a Jewish surname. Like most Hebrew and biblical names, it enjoyed a great burst of popularity in the 12th century. This was during the time of the great Crusades to free the Holy Land from the Sarcens. All were unsuccessful, but the returning soldiers and pilgrims made it a fashion to call their children by names associated with the early days of the Christian church. The surnames James and Jack share the same origins and development.

The surname Jacobs has been traced back to the mid 13th Century England poll tax records when surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. The earliest examples of surname recordings are usually to be found in England, the first country to adopt both hereditary surnames, and to register them.

"There was a tendency, at any rate among Germany-speaking Jews, to adapt these from Biblical names in one or other of their variant forms. Thus among the 5000 names of patrons connected with Anglo-Jewish charitable institutions in 1878, Jacobs found [that] ... 1 in every 78 people had the last name Jacob or Jacobs."


The surname Jacobs can be traced back to the mid 13th Century. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. The earliest examples of surname recordings are usually to be found in England, the first country to adopt both hereditary surnames, and to register them. In England, these were part of poll tax records.

The biblical personal name Jacob has numerous equivalents, all Latin; Jacobo, Jacopo and Giacobbe in Italian; Jacoub in Judeo-Provencal; Yaaqov in Spanish; Jacques in French; Iancu in Romanian; Jakob in German; Jack in English; Jakab in Hungarian; Yaakov in Russian. There are over two hundred variations of the spelling of this name which include but are not necessarily limited to; Jacobsen, Jacobson, Jacobs, Jacobse, Jacob, Jacober, Jacobi, Jacobie, Jacoby, Jacobsohn, Jacobssohn, Jakobs, Jakober, Jakobsohn, Jacobsson, Jakobsson, Jakobssohn, Jakobsen, Jakobi, Jakobson, Jakobie and many more.

In Central and Eastern Europe, abbreviations and diminutives of Jacob originated entire groups of new names based on its two constituent syllables, such as, on the one hand, Yekel, Jekelin, and Jaecklin, and, on the other hand, Copin, Koppelin and Koppelman. Cob, the second part of Jacob, also appeared in the forms Kopf (literally German for "head") and Kauf (German for "buy"). This developed into Kaufmann (German for "merchant"), which may be a combination of Jacob and the biblical Manasse or Menachem.

According to the Jewish Encyclopedia, other variants include Benjacob, Jackson, Jacob, Jacobs, Jacobson, Jacobus, Jacoby, Jacof, Jainof, Kaplan, Kaplin, Kaplowitch, Kaufman, Kaufmann, Kopinski, Koppel, Koppellmann, Koppelvitch, Leppok, Marchant, Merchat, Scobeleff, Yokelson.

Other variant include: Jakobovitz, Jacobowitz, Jacubs, Jakobs, Jacobse, Jacobi, Iacobo, Kubera, Kabos, Giacopino, Jankel, Yakobovitz, and Jessen


One of the earliest is recorded with Ibrahim Ibn Jakub, a Spanish Jew who traveled through Germany up to the Baltic Sea in the year 965. [1]

In the year 1124, Bishop Cosmas reports that J. Jacobus, who had converted to Christianity, turned a synagogue into a church, and then, became Jewish again and disowned the church. [2]

The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Agnes Jacobes which was dated 1244, in the register of the abbey of Ramsey, Huntingdon ("Cartularium Monasterii de Rameseia"), during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272.

William Jacob was recorded in the Hundred Rolls of Cambridgeshire in 1273.

In 1361 Hans Jacob is recorded in the charters of Wernsbach, Germany.

Henry Jacobs who married Sarah Harris on May 12th, 1684 in the Church of St. Katherine-by-the-Tower, London.

Francis Jacobs who married Frances Lefever on February 9th, 1696 in the Church of St. Dunstan's, Stepney.

Kenny Jacobs, aged 50 yrs., a famine emigrant, sailed from London aboard the "Prince-Albert" bound for New York on March 13th, 1846.

GERMAN/ALSACE SWITZERLAND JACOBSItalic text The surname Jacob was first found in Silesia, where the name was an integral part of a feudal society which would shape modern European history. Many prominent branches of the family would strive to make this name renowned as they contributed to the social, economic and political affairs of the region. In the Middle Ages, the name referred back to the Apostel Jacobus, whose grave in Spain was a popular goal for pilgrimage. These pilgrims from Germany became known as "Jacobsbrueder" (Jacobs-brothers).

PENNSYLVANIA JACOBSItalic text original spelling of the surname Jacob was most likely Jokob. Jakob is a German form of Jacob. It is believed that the family originated from Büsing (Bizing), Moselle, Lorraine or Bas Rhin, Alsace, France. Philip Jacob b. 1696 was the earliest Jakób ( Jacob -Jacobs) to settle in Pennsylvania in 1738 In Pennsylvania Jacobs is also a Scotch/Irish name.

== REFERENCES FOR THE JACOBS SURNAME == Italic text Name Origin Research "Jacobs" www.surnamedb.com 1980 - 2014 Name Origin Research "Jacobowitz" www.surnamedb.com 1980 - 2014 Read more: http://www.surnamedb.com/Surname/Jacobovitz#ixzz39RtmjZcI

1975 Hannover Address and Business Directory (Jacob, Jacobi, Jacobus, etc) http://genealogyindexer.org/frame/d2223/526

The Jewish Encyclopedia http://sammlungen.ub.uni-frankfurt.de/freimann/content/pageview/310928

The Jewish Dictionary [3]



AJ Jacobs

  • Family Line 3: Hans Jacobus Jacobus-163 was born in Zempelburg, Flatow, Prussia, Germany and was living in Berlin, Germany when he had to flee due to the Holocaust. He arrived in California and migrated to Bogota, Colombia. His father, Adolf Jacobus Jacobus-191 sold all his property to fund his son's voyage across the sea. Adolf and his wife Helene Salomon are said to have been killed in Auschwitz. However, to-date, their records have not been found. Adolf's father was Aron Jacobus.
  • Family Line 4: ((Jacobs 7589]]
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While researching my Custer grandparents I came across a baptism record at Ancestry-


Father: Paulus Custers Mother: Treincken Jaccobs Name: Arnoldus Custers Gender: Male Baptism Date: 19. Aug 1680 (19 Aug 1680) Baptism Place: Katholisch, Brueggen-Born, Rheinland, Prussia

posted by Nancy Yeager
I don't know how to add my Jacob/Jacobs family line and link.

John Jacob, Sr. & Anne Cheney (8th Great-grandfather.

I am not familiar with all the elements of WikiTree. June Jacobs Jordan

posted by June Jacobs
I added new information the Jacobs name study <3 Hope my changes are Okay ;)
My Jewish grandfather was named Hans Jacobus. His father was Adolf, and his father was Aron. Adolf married Helene Salomon. They lived in Zempelburg and Berlin, Germany. I am interested in seeing how Jacob, Jacobs, and Jacobus are related. If you have any information or want to collaborate on this region on the last name, please let me know ;)
Thank you Doug! Let me know what I can do to help. Your friendly Jacobs, A.J.
posted by AJ Jacobs Junior