Show ContentsJess History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Jess name is an important part of the history of the ancient Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. Jess is derived from the baptismal name for the son of Judd, which was a pet form for the Old English personal name Jordan.

Early Origins of the Jess family

The surname Jess was first found in Yorkshire where the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 included Willelraus Gesson as holding lands there at that time. [1]

"Jesson was the name of a minister of Prestwold in the reign of Elizabeth. Two centuries ago Sir William Jesson resided at Burleigh Park, Loughborough." [2]

Early History of the Jess family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Jess research. Another 115 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1628, 1661, 1790, 1580, 1651, 1640, 1640, 1648, 1603, 1663 and are included under the topic Early Jess History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Jess Spelling Variations

Before the last few hundred years, the English language had no fast system of spelling rules. For that reason, spelling variations are commonly found in early Anglo-Saxon surnames. Over the years, many variations of the name Jess were recorded, including Jesson, Jessen, Gesson and others.

Early Notables of the Jess family (pre 1700)

Another 49 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Jess Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Jess Ranking

In the United States, the name Jess is the 16,880th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [3]

Ireland Migration of the Jess family to Ireland

Some of the Jess family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 58 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Jess migration to the United States +

To escape oppression and starvation at that time, many English families left for the "open frontiers" of the New World with all its perceived opportunities. In droves people migrated to the many British colonies, those in North America in particular, paying high rates for passages in cramped, unsafe ships. Although many of the settlers did not make the long passage alive, those who did see the shores of North America perceived great opportunities before them. Many of the families that came from England went on to make essential contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Research into various historical records revealed some of first members of the Jess family emigrate to North America:

Jess Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Mary Jess, who landed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1712 [4]
Jess Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Joha Jess, aged 17, who landed in New York, NY in 1874 [4]

Canada Jess migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Jess Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Joseph Jess, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1760

Australia Jess migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Jess Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Joseph Jess, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Rajah" in 1849 [5]
  • Samuel Jess, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Rajah" in 1849 [5]

Contemporary Notables of the name Jess (post 1700) +

  • Tyehimba Jess (b. 1965), American poet, his book Olio received the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry
  • Frank B. Jess, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from New Jersey, 1912 [6]
  • Matt Jess (b. 1984), English rugby union player, born in Coventry
  • Walter Jess (b. 1942), Canadian politician who served in the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan from 1991 to 1999
  • John David Jess CBE (1922-2003), Australian politician, Member of the Australian Parliament for La Trobe (1960-1972)
  • Jim Jess (b. 1955), retired Australian rules football player who played for the Richmond Football Club from 1976 to 1988
  • Eoin Jess (b. 1970), Scottish football coach and former player
  • Lieutenant-General Sir Carl Herman Jess (1884-1948), Australian Chairman of Manpower Committee, Department of Defence from 1939 to 1944 [7]
  • Goodwin Jess Knight (1896-1970), American Republican politician, Superior Court Judge in California, 1935-46; Lieutenant Governor of California, 1947-53; Governor of California, 1953-59 [8]
  • Myron Jess Marlow (b. 1930), retired Los Angeles television newsman

  1. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  2. Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  3. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  4. Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  5. State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) RAJAH 1849. Retrieved from
  6. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, December 9) . Retrieved from
  7. Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2011, August 30) Carl Jess. Retrieved from
  8. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2017, April 12) Goodwin Knight. Retrieved from on Facebook