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User comments for Jocelyn
According to the Dictionary of First Names, when Jocelyn entered English the spelling was changed because Joscelin was taken as a double diminuative (with the Old French suffixes '-el' and '-in') of Josce (Joyce).
Could it be associated with the Gaelic descriptive surname Joyce/Seoige (from the Welsh word, "sais", meaning Saxon or English), with the diminutive -lin on the end?
-- Anonymous User
Jocelyn is the medieval English name that means joy!
-- Anonymous User
A derivation from *Gautselin is inaccurate—the name was formed in the late Frankish period from Gois-/Gaus-, the Latinized and West Frankish derivative of Gaut in onomastic use (compare Cos- from Gaut- in Lombard names) and the Romance diminutive suffixes -el and -inus. It is then a Frankish/OF diminitive based on names such as Goisfridus (Geoffrey), Goisbertus, Goismerus etc., rather than an ancient Germanic name based directly on Gaut. Further Gauselin and the Gauselm (Germanic Gaut-helm) and their derivatives are frequently confused in the recorded texts, Goiselmus for Goiselinus and vice versa. [noted -ed]
My family comes from a French Huguenot background - people who settled mostly in Maine and New England in the early 1700's or before. There were a long line of Josselyns, including at least four Henry Josselyns, and a Henry Josselyn Taylor, my grandmother's maternal grandfather.
Normally, in our family, and in that region and time, girl children were given family surnames as middle names. But my grandmother decided to make "Jocelyn" a first name, because she thought it was pretty, and in honor of her grandfather. My grandmother had never heard it used as a first name before, except in Chaucer, and she and her husband changed to that spelling because they thought "Jocelyn" sounded more like a girl than "Josselyn," and that having a unique name made the daughter "modern." (Jocelyn's sister, my mother, is Phebe - also an alternate spelling).
My aunt Jocelyn was born in 1916 in New Bedford, Mass. Sometime after that, a woman who worked for my grandmother named a daughter Jocelyn as well, as she also thought it was pretty, and supposedly a friend of that woman's also took the name. My grandmother believed all the rest of the modern Jocelyns - at least in the Northeast - stemmed from my aunt!
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