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JOSEPH Origin of surname


Surnames derive from one of many different origins. Sometimes there may be more than one explanation for the same name. This family name is a patronymic, derived from a male ancestor's personal name, in this case of biblical origin. Joseph is a Latin, German and English form of the biblical Hebrew male personal name Yosef. the biblical name-etymology of Joseph is explained in Genesis 30.24 as meaning "may God add [another son to me]", who was the child of Jacob and Rachel. Several forms of the Hebrew personal name Joseph are documented in the Middle Ages in Europe, among them Josce in 1189, Joce and Joceus in 1204, Josses in 1247, Joselin in 1270, Josse and Josson in 1276, Joslin in the 13th century, Jocelot in 1306, Josoletus in 1344, and Josel in the 15th century.

Distinguished bearers of the Jewish family name Joseph include the 13th century French physician Solomon B. Joseph; the English-born Canadian merchant Henry Joseph (1775-1832); the Baghdad (Iraq)-born merchant and scholar Saul Abdallah Joseph (1849-1906), who was active in China and Hong Kong; and the German painter Mely Joseph (1886-1920).
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He was born in Kursenai and studied at Volozhin yeshiva. He became successively rabbi in Veliuona (1868), Jurbarkas (1870) and Zagare and his fame as a preacher (maggid), spread so that in 1883 the community of Kovno selected him as its preacher. In response to a call from a number of congregations in New York, he emigrated to the United States and in 1888 was chosen chief rabbi of the Russian Orthodox communities in New York. His prime concern was the taxed supervision of kashrut and this led to opposition from those sectors who opposed a kosher meat tax. An invalid from 1895, he founded a yeshiva in 1900 which after his death was called the Rabbi Yaakov Yosef Yeshiva. More than 50,000 attended his funeral.