This Danish and Norwegian surname of JENSEN was originally derived from the Hebrew given name YOCJANAN (Jehovah has favoured me with a son), and the name was adopted into the Latin (via Greek) as JOHANNES. This name has enjoyed enormous popularity in Europe, being given in honour of St. John the Baptist, precursor of Christ and of St. John the Evangelist, author of the fourth gospel, as well as others of the nearly one thousand saints of the name. There are numerous variant spellings of the surname, and it is known to every country in the world in different forms which include JENTZEN, JENSENN and JENST. There have been many notables of the name including twenty-one popes and two anti-popes XVI (997-8) and XXIII the former included in the papal numbering, which erroneously contained a fictitious John XV who was thought to have ruled for a few weeks immediately prior to the true John (985-96). John (surnamed Lackland) 1167-1216 was the king of England from 1199 youngest son of Henry II born in Oxford. He attempted to seize the crown during Richard I's captivity in Austria, but was pardoned and nominated his successor by his brother on his deathbed. He was crowned at Westminster on 27th May 1199. He alienated barons by bad administration and heavy taxation and was forced to sign the Magna Carta at Runnymeade on 15th June 1215. Johannes JENSEN (1907-73) the German physicist, born in Hamburg was professor at Hamburg (1936-41) and at Hanover (1941-49). In 1949 he became professor of theoretical physics at Heidelberg. He was awarded the Nobel prize for physics in 1963 for research on nuclear shell structure. Another notable member of the name was Georg JENSEN (1866-1935) the Danish silversmith. Having worked as a sculptor, he founded his silversmithy in Copenhagen in 1904 and revived the high artistic traditions of Danish silver. The practice of adopting surnames spread to Denmark and Norway from Germany, during the late Middle Ages, but until the 19th century, they were neither fixed nor universal. The Danish state has in recent years been encouraging the adoption of a wider range of surnames.
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