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JAKOB 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 surname based on a male ancestor's personal name, in this case of biblical origin.

Jakob is a spelling variant of Jacob, which is derived from the biblical Hebrew male personal name Yaacov/Jacob. Jacob, the third patriarch, was the younger twin son of Isaac and Rebekah. 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. One of the earliest is recorded with Ibrahim Ibn Jakub, a Spanish Jew who travelled through Germany up to the Baltic Sea in the year 965. 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.

Another important group of names derived from Jacob grew from the variant Yankel/Jankel. In the 20th century Jakob is recorded as a Jewish family name during World War II with David Jakob who perished in the German death camp at Theresienstadt in June 1944; and with the Jakob family, who lived in the town of Zhadova (Jadova) near Chernowitz, northern Bukovina (now Ukraine), prior to World War II (1939-1945), and whose entire Jewish community was deported to the death camps in July 1941.
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Written by researchers of ANU Museum of the Jewish People
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