Thomas Mangos' Jost Research

Thomas Mangos, an unrelated Jost researcher, created a website at one time, with information about his research on the Josts in Germany. His work and frequent moves made it difficult for him to maintain his site, and it is now gone. At one time we discussed the possibility of my putting his info on my site for him, but at the time I didn't know how to do it. Now I am giving it a try, purely to make his work available to others interested in Jost origins in Germany.

If you have questions for Tom, you can email me and I will forward your message to him!

His information follows:

This page deals with the spread of the surname Jost and similar spellings like
Joßt, Joszt, Joost, Josd Joster, Jostes, Josten, Joosten, Joste, Jostad, Josta, Jostler, Jostlen Jostain, Jostein, Jostin, Josti, Josting, Jostyn, Jostlin, Jostsen, Jostedalen, Jos, Joos, Jooss, Joosse, Joss, Josse, Josseler, Josslin, Josslyn, Josselin, Josselyn Jobst, Just, Justh, Joust, Justen.
The research was done mainly in Europe, but is not limited to this continent. The indicated surnames partly follow from each other, but partly they are of absolutely different origin. Often you cannot prove this today and, therefore, it seems efficient to handle all names at the same place. The focus of the research, however, is on the name JOST and those few spellings which are evidently related to it.


What's in a Name?
The surname JOST may be of patronymic origin, that is, it belongs to the category of surnames derived from the first name of the father of the initial bearer. It is believed that the name JOST indicates the shortened form of JODOC and comes from a Celtic root meaning "fighter". JOST/JOS became a Christian name with St.Jodocus/St.Josse, pilgrim Saint of the Picardie province of France in the 7th century (anniversary Dec. 13). Jodoc was the son of king Hoël III. from Brittany. He refused to become the successor of his father, choosing instead to spend his live as a monk in poverty and abstinency. The monastery he founded is one of the oldest locations of pilgrimage in Central Europe. Other names in Germany such as JOOS, JUST, JOBST are supposed to be of the same origin. Joseph or Johann are names of different origin. The English equivalent for JOST/JOSSE would be JOYCE or JOCELYN. It is said that JOSSELYN is a variation of JOCELYN, taken from an Old French name by circuitous route, by way of GOSCELIN, GOSSELLIN, JOSCELIN which was brought to England before the Conquest but was carried over to England by the Normans' widespread usage of the given name. Most versions have a Germanic origin taken from GAUZELIN. It was eventually adopted as a diminutive form of the Old French given name JOSSE. Variations are JOSCELYNE, JOSELIN, JOSLEN, JOSLING, JOSELAND. The pet form GOCELIN was a descendant of GOSS, also called "the JUST" or "JOUST"
Alternatively, the surname JOST may be from a place easily recognizable when surnames were adopted (late 1200's). When a man left his homeland and moved to another country, he was distinguished from his neighbors by the identity of his homeland, e.g. Norman from Normandy. Some men were from cities well-enough known that the city was the distinguishing reference as in Frankfurt. Towns were used in the same fashion, as were major rivers and geographic features. Names derived from a town should easily be traced back to the exact locale where the first bearer of the name kept his residence. The first JOST might have his origin in a town whose church was dedicated to St.Jost. Abroad they named him "von St.Jost".


Spelling and Pronunciation
by Thomas Jost Mangos
Although the spelling of names often changed in former centuries in Germany, it is not probable that there were changes between JOST on one hand and JOSS/JOSSE or JOYCE/JOSSELYN on the other, at least not a significant number. It is believed that the name JOST has its origin in the German speaking and JOSSE in the French speaking region of central Europe. Thus, it seems to be reasonable to divide the researched branches into three groups, the JOST group, the JOSSE group, and the JOYCE group.
What is true inside Germany and France is no longer valid for persons who left Germany or France to emigrate to a non-German or non-French speaking country. The new language with a different pronounciation often changed the spelling incisively with no reason other than adaptation. As the German "J" is pronounced differently in America it is reasonable that the authorities or the bearer of the name himself changed the spelling from "JOST" to "YOST". Examples show that changes from JOST to YOST occurred quite often in the USA.

History of the JOST name
If the name JOST would be of patronymic origin, that is, it belongs to the category of surnames derived from the first name of the initial bearer indicating the shortened Christian name of Jodokus, one would have to expect an almost even distribution of this very surname all over Germany, as can be seen with names such as Fritz (Friedrich), Marx (Markus), Berndt (Bernhard). If the surname JOST would be of a local origin indicating a town's name one has to assume, wherever JOST was added as an epithet (super added name), e.g. Johann von St.Jost, the name was passed onto his sons and families, which would have been distinguished from others most easily. These families first developed and spreat only in the close vicinity of this very nucleus. Emigrations into other towns or even other German States would then have resulted in some kind of star-shaped pattern of distribution with a distinct center. The number of JOST families in Germany originally might have been small corresponding to the small numbers of parishes and places of pilgrimage having JOST or JODOKUS as their Saint. Results so far indicate only two ancient St.Jost parishes in Germany, one in the village of St.Jost near Mayen (Eifel, Palatinate), the other in Marburg in Hesse. In Switzerland there are also a few St.Jost churches, one in Blatten near Luzern, St. Jost zu Baldegg, St.Jost in Duggingen near Basel, and St. Jost/Ibergeregg. There might also be churches in the Alsace and Lorraigne devoted to St.Jost and St.Josse (advice is greatly appreciated). I also found a church in Cesky Krumlov in the Czech Republic dedicated to St.Jost and one in Slovenia (Senjost). They might have been founded by German settlers in later centuries when the process of applying surnames was already finished. Medieval churches consecrated to St.Jodokus could be found in Konstanz and Immenstaad at Lake Constance (Bodensee) and in Bielefeld


I have commissioned a search for Josts currently living in Germany by using the 1998 telephone directory on CD. The results are displayed on the following pages. List 1 contains the cities in alphabetical order. List 2 displays the very same cities sorted by their ZIP codes. The number of telephones registered for persons with the surname JOST are displayed in both lists. The graph in list 1 derived from these data visually displays the distribution of JOSTs across Germany.
[Unfortunately I did not save the cities lists when the site was available, all I have is the chart showing the concentration of Josts in Germany. Let that be a lesson--always save information you feel is valuable--it may not be there later! -- Polli]


The following is from an email Thomas sent me when we first met:

My research on the Jost family in Southwest Germany was very successful. Today I know about 1500 people with the last name Jost, or their female descendants with different last names, to which I am related to. I have drawn a big family tree (60 feet in length, 2 feet in height) of my Jost relatives. Some of them are still living in Altschweier, but most of them left their home town and moved to other German or American cities, mostly in the 19. and 20. century. There are Josts in Freiburg, Baden-Baden, Frankfurt, Cologne, Berlin, or St. Louis MO, San Francisco CA, Vancouver Canada, etc. to which I am related to. Well, I did also research on other family sides, not just JOST, but Hoerth, Schaub, Rettig, Frank, Schift, Falk, Dresel, Vetter, etc, but not as successful as on the Jost side. But I was always most interested in the Jost family.

During my search on Josts I found a register from 1291 with refer to money tributes, wine tributes, cereal tributes and nut tributes of the parish of Kappel, a village today called Kappelwindeck (= chapel underneath the tower of the Windeck knights in the Black Forest). These documents are now in an archive in the city of Karlsruhe. As I told you Kappelwindeck is just 1 mile away from Altschweier (= village of someone named Alges) and about 1 mile away from the city of Buehl where I was born.

There was one entry. It said (in Latin) "Item cunradus dictus ios dat j amam albi vini super vincis suis in dem ban q. site sunt iuxta vincas primissarii in buhel et debet reemere cum xxx ß d." The translation is: Also gives Kunradus, named Jos, 1 barrel of white wine from his vines, which belongs to the best in the area of Buhel … (= Buehl, the city (25,000 inhabitants, my birth town, 1 mile away from Altschweier)

I had about 7 years of Latin lessons at School. So it was no problem for me to read these documents. My wife studied middle age German at the University and she stated that Jos means most probably Jost. So we think that Kunradus Jos means Konrad Jost, and could, therefore, be the oldest “Jost”, found in documents so far.

A couple of years ago I found a book, dealing with the explanation of the origins of surnames, that stated that Jost was once a first name. I personally know some people in Germany with the first name Jost. Jost probably has been used as a first name to honor St. Josse, a Benedict’s monk from northern France from the 7th century (old french Josse, Jodokus, or Jodok. The name’s origin was celtic (bretonic) and meant Warrior. There is still an abbey in St.-Josse-sur-mer in northern France.

In the Netherlands and in Belgium the first name Jost is still very common. My theory is that the first Jost came from the Netherlands to Baden and the Alsace when in the 7th and 8th century the eastern part of the Rhine valley (today the heart piece of Baden) had to be drained. At that time you could only find settlements at the foot of the Black Forest such as Baden-Baden, but the lower part of the Rhine valley and its banks were a hugh swamp. First monks settled in our area in the 7th century (abbeys Arnulfsau and Schwarzach, 10 miles west of Buehl, very close to the Rhine river). It was common at that time to ask people from the Netherlands to help with this draining work because they were very experienced in this kind of work. In old documents you still can find typical names of Dutch origin in our area. I do have some books on the first settlements in the State of Baden, but I couldn’t find the name Jost. So I don’t have any proof for this theory. You probably know that in the 13th and 14th century some first names became last names in Germany, probably Jost too. “Kunradus dictus Jos” (= Konrad, son of Jost) is probably the same thing you can find with other last names, such as Anderson (= son of Andrew), McNeill (= son of Neill), Navratilova (= daughter of Navratil).

My oldest ancestor, Franz Joseph Jost was born in Altschweier in 1713. His parents were Johann Jost and Eva (Ackenhail). There are a few other Josts in the baptism and marriage records of Buehl, Altschweier and Kappelwindeck from the mid 1600 to 1700. I couldn’t connect these Josts with Johann Jost and Eva Ackenhail. Most of the record statements are to short to figure out who is who (mother only mentioned with her first name, one and the same name spelled differently).

In the baptism records I found documents for Henry (1667), Johann Martin** (1669) and Catherine (1675), children of Martin (1) and Catherine (2) Jost. In the marriage records I could find the documents for 1695: Andreas Zimmer and Catherine (2) Jost (her first husband was probably Martin Jost (1) 1697: Martin Jost (**?) and Anna Maria Gantner 1700: Johann Jost* and Anna Maria Kestler 1700: Johann Michael Jost and Magdalena Fanz 1703: Johann Jost* and Eva Ackenhail

* These two Josts are probably one and the same person.

Well, a couple of wars took place in Baden at that time. French armies invaded Germany coming from Strassbourg in 1675, 1689, 1703, etc. and burned down most of the villages in middle BADEN. Most people fled into the woods (black forest), some died from hunger and sickness, some were killed, and some of them may have moved to southern Baden, Switzerland or the Alcace. The only Josts who remained in Altschweier after 1700 are descendants of Johann Jost and Eva Ackenhail and later their son Franz Joseph Jost, my ancestors. I could not find any records on the other Josts I just mentioned.

My Jost ancestors, starting with Johann Jost, were all catholics. Johann Jost or one of his ancestors may have changed their religion during or after the religious war between 1618 and 1648. It was very common at that time to change from Lutheran to Catholic and vice versa, sometimes 1 or 2 times a year, when your sovereign changed his believe. The state of Baden was devided between the 2 rival counts of Baden (brothers) at that time because the older brother remained catholic, the younger one changed to the Lutheran side. So even families could be devided. If you lived in the wrong part of Baden you had either to move to the other part of Baden or to another country. If you wanted to stay you had to change your religion. In Strassbourg and the Alcace and in Switzerland at that time the people were mostly Protestants. So it could be possible that some of the Josts may have moved to Switzerland or the Alsace. I found one marriage document that stated that Martin Jost from Altschweier may have changed his religion from Protestant to Catholic when he got married to Anna Maria Ganter in 1697. I don’t know how this Martin Jost is related to my oldest ancestor Johann Jost. He was probably one of his brother or a cousin. This is a part of the text from the fragmented marriage document (it was hart to read and I don’t know the exact translation): "1697. Martinus Jost: catholicus promisit proffessionem cathlco. fid... Anna Maria Gantnerin. Testes Uldaricus Ganter et Balthasar ..."

Translation: Martin Jost, after changing to the catholic site, got married to Anna Maria Ganter. Witnesses: Uldaricus Ganter and Balthasar …

I would appreciate it if you could add some information on Lorenz and Donat Jost who emigrated to America in 1849 to your WEB page.

When I visited St. Louis a couple of years ago I already figured out that not all of the Josts there are related to Lorenz and Donat Jost. I found a document stating all the Jost in St. Louis at that time. This showed clearly that most of the Josts in St. Louis are not from Altschweier, except the 2 from BADEN (*)

Jost, Adam, age 33, born in Hessen (Germany)
Jost, August, age 51, born in Hannover (Germany)
Jost, Conrad age 53, born in Hesse (Germany)
Jost, Henry, age 24, born in New York
Jost, Jacob, age 37, born in England
Jost, Jno D. age 43, born in Baden * (Germany)
Jost, Joseph, age 46, born in Missouri
Jost, Lorenz, age 39, born in Baden * (Germany)
Jost, Louis, age 34, born in France
Jost, Louis, age 39, born in France
Jost, Louis, age 55, born in Prussia (Germany)
Jost, Louisa, age 18, born in Missouri (this could be the daughter of John D. Jost)
Jost, Nicholas, age 42, born in Hesse-Darmstadt (Germany)
Jost, Sam, age 26, born in Bavaria (Germany)

Lorenz Jost was born on Aug. 11, 1830, Donat J. Jost (John D.) on Feb. 19, 1827. They left Germany in 1849 and settled in St. Louis, MO. Their youngest brother Martin (my great great grandfather) was born on Nov. 5, 1839. I couldn’t find any information on Donat Jost in St. Louis. He probably changed his name from Donat J. Jost to John D. Jost. A man named John D. Jost lived in 425 Emmet Street in 1875. He was a barber. Lorenz lived in 518 Emmet Street till 1884, right next to John D’s house. John D. moved to 707 Geyer Street where he opened a tobacco shop. Lorenz moved to 318 Geyer Street. He died there in 1894. Lorenz Jost was married to Theresia Erb (1857/58). They had 7 children: Franz (Francis, Frank), August, Johann (John), Bertha, Lina (Helen, Lena), Wilhelm J. (William J.) und Therese (Theresia, Theresa). All of them were married. Bertha was married to a farmer in Illinois, 50 miles away from St. Louis (?). Donat Jost had at least 2 children. William J. Jost wrote in one of his letters that he didn’t know very much about Donat Jost and his family. They were musicians and that they didn't stay in town. William mentioned Louisa, Donat’s daughter: Her husband and her children died from the very same disease within one year.


The following is from a later email:

This family lived in the small village “Altschweier” (in older church records this name is spelled differently: Alschwyer etc.) in the State of BADEN (Southwest Germany) near the black forest, just 20 miles east of Strassbourg (Alsace) and the French borderline and about 80 miles north of Switzerland. My oldest JOST directly related ancestor that I found in the records was born in 1703 in Altschweier. There are no older records because the church in this village and all records burned down in 1689 during a war. Well, there are a few older documents which stated that JOSTs lived in this village Altschweier in 1291 (Konrad Jost), 1574 (Jacob Jost) and 1622 (Hans (=John) Jost, Jacob Jost, Andreas (=Andrew) Jost).

There was a huge JOST family in Altschweier and Kappelwindeck (a village close to A.) in 1622, but they probably died during the religious war between the Catholics and Protestants between 1618 and 1648, as I thought (60% of the population in Germany died during this war). There are no further information about Jacob Jost in documents after 1622.

You mentioned FAY (Yost) Osborne on your WEB page. She told you that her first ancestor was Jacob JOUST, born in Germany before 1634. Some of his grandchildren moved to Switzerland … I would be very interested to get Fay’s address. Switzerland is not very far away from Altschweier and, by accident, there is a city in Switzerland with the name Alschwil, and I heard my grandmother talking that long long ago some of our JOST relatives moved from Germany to Switzerland. Josts in the Alcace may also be related to my family.

A second very interesting thing is that I found some letters in my grandma’s house (Klara Jost) a couple of years ago written by William J. Jost and Lina Birkenmeier (Jost) between 1890 and 1916 from St. Louis, MO. Their father Lorenz (=Lawrence) Jost emigrated from Altschweier (Germany) to America (St. Louis, MO) in 1849 together with his brother Donat J. Jost (or John D.) and his sisters Helena Jost and Carolina Jost. My great-great-grandfather Martin Jost is their youngest brother and was about 12 years old when his brothers and sisters emigrated to the US. Well, he stayed in Germany and founded our Jost family. When I visited St. Louis about 7 years ago I found some descendants of Lina Birkenmeier (Jost). At that time I couldn't find any Jost relatives from William Jost’s side, but I finally found some of them a couple of years later. Well, today there are much more Josts in St. Louis and I was really wondering where they came from (about 200 Josts in the St. Louis telephone directory). Lorenz Jost had 7 children: Franz (Frank or Francis), August, John, Bertha, William, Lina (Birkenmeier), Theresa. Donat J. Jost was also married and had at least 4 children, but not even William J. Jost knew very much about his uncle and his children when he sent his letters in 1916 to my great-grandfather Johann Jost.

I would be interested to find descendants of Lorenz Jost’s children Frank, August, John, Bertha and Theresa and, of course, Donat J. Jost’s children. Can you help me with that. I would also be glad to help Josts in America who are looking for there German relatives.


July 7, 2013
Polli Turner


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