This surname of GEPP was from a Norman personal name that appears in Middle English as GEFFREY and in Old French as JEFUFROI. Some authorities regard this as no more that a palatalized from of Godfrey, but early forms such as Galfridus and Gaufridus point to a first element from the Germanic GALA meaning to sing or from GAWI, a region or territory. It is possible that several distinct names have fallen together in the same form. The name has numerous variants which include Jeffe, Jebbs, Jebson, Jeppeson, Jepeson, Gepson and Jephson. Many factors contributed to the establishment of a surname system. For generations after the Norman Conquest of 1066 a very few dynasts and magnates passed on hereditary surnames, but most of the population, with a wide choice of first-names out of Celtic, Old English, Norman and Latin, avoided ambiguity without the need for a second name. As society became more stabilized, there was property to leave in wills, the towns and villages grew and the labels that had served to distinguish a handful of folk in a friendly village were not adequate for a teeming slum where perhaps most of the householders were engaged in the same monotonous trade, so not even their occupations could distinguish them, and some first names were gaining a tiresome popularity, especially Thomas after 1170. The hereditary principle in surnames gained currency first in the South, and the poorer folk were slower to apply it. By the 14th century however, most of the population had acquired a second name. Robert GEBBESSON was recorded in 1442 in Sheffield and Sarath JEBSON was buried at St. Mary, Aldermary, London in the year 1642. Edward Thompson married Elizabeth JEBSON at St. Michael, Cornhill, London in the year 1719. In the Middle Ages heraldry came into use as a practical matter. It originated in the devices used to distinguish the armoured warriors in tournament and war, and was also placed on seals as marks of identity. As far as records show, true heraldry began in the middle of the 12th century, and appeared almost simultaneously in several countries of Western Europe. The eagle depicted in the crest is emblematical of fortitude and magnanimity of mind. The Romans used the figure of an eagle for their ensign, and their example has been often followed. It is the device of Russia, Austria, Germany and the United States of America.
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