This surname JETTE was from the vernacular form of the Hebrew male given name of YEHUDA, JUDAH (of unknown meaning) the name of Jacob's eldest son. This was not a popular name among Christians in medieval Europe because of the associations it had with Judas Iscariot, the disciple who betrayed Christ for thirty pieces of silver. Among Jews, however the Hebrew given name and its reflexes in various Jewish languages (such as Yude) have been popular for generations. When traditional Jews were forced to take family names by the local bureaucracy, it was an obligation imposed from outside traditional society, and people often took the names playfully and let their imaginations run wild by choosing names which corresponded to nothing real in their world. No one alive today can remember the times when Jews took or were given family names (for most Ashkenazim this was the end of the 18th century or the beginning of the 19th) although many remember names being changed after emigration to other countries, such as the United States and Israel in recent years. The name also appeared in England at an early date and Judde Clubbe was recorded in 1260, County Chester. John Jett was recorded in 1279, County Oxford, and Alicia Jude of Yorkshire was listed in the Yorkshire Poll tax of 1379. Following the crusades in Europe in the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries, a need was felt for a family name to replace the one given at birth, or in addition to it. This was recognized by those of noble birth, and particularly by those who went on the Crusades, as it added prestige and practical advantage to their status.
St. Jude was one of the twelve apostles, probably the Judas who was one of the 'brethren' of the Lord (Matthew XIII) perhaps a brother of St. James 'the Just'. According to tradition he was martyred in Persia. His feast day is the 28th October. The Epistle of Jude in the New Testament was placed among the 'Antilegomena' or disputed books, by the primitive church. Many critics hold that it is directed against the Gnostics of the 2nd century.
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