The Surname Jeggo

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Contents: A Single Family Origin
A Variant of Jago?
A Variant of Jeg(g)on?
A Variant of Jagger?
A Variant of Jégo?
A Survey of Surname Distributions
A Huguenot Name?
Conclusions
References

A Single Family Origin

It seems highly probable that all Jeggoes currently existing originate from a single family in Gosfield, Essex, or a neighbouring parish.  Of the 66 Jeggoes listed in the national surname index to the 1881 census, all lived in, originated from, or had connections with Gosfield and its immediately surrounding area.  Of the 9 Jeggses listed therein, 4 are known to be children of Charles and Sarah Jeggo, another (Susannah) was born in the nearby village of Stisted, and therefore (from the 1851 census) the daughter of William and Elizabeth Jeggo, and a sixth (Ezra) was born in Gosfield and is almost certainly Ezra Jeggo b q3/1865 at Halstead (GRO ref: 4a 320).

In his recent book, David Hey (1) makes frequent use of his database of names in the indexes of deaths registered in England and Wales in 1842-46.  Just 11 Jeggo deaths were registered in this period;  9 were registered in the neighbouring registration districts of Halstead and Braintree, which cover the Gosfield area, one was in Witham, Essex, a dozen miles away, and the remaining one was in London.  According to the criteria propounded by David Hey, this makes Jeggo a rare surname with a high probability of single-family origin.

The same pattern is clear when the survey is extended to all the indexes (of births, marriages and deaths) for the thirty year period 1837-66 (i.e., about one generation).
Jeggo Total Halstead Braintree Elsewhere
births 72 45 19 8:-  2 London, 1 Herts., 5 Beds.
Of these, all but one London one are known to have Gosfield parents.
marriages 33 21 2 10:-  3 Essex, 3 London, 2 Hants., 1 Suffolk, 1 Kent.
The 2 Hampshire ones and one of the London ones are known to have Gosfield origins.
deaths 40 26 7 7:-  2 Essex, 4 London, 1 Beds.
The Bedfordshire one and one of the London ones are known to be young children of Gosfield parents.

It is possible to construct a plausible family tree comprising all the Gosfield family groups, with Thomas and Elizabeth Jig(g)oe at the head, but this requires many assumptions for which we have no evidence as yet.  The first Jeggo entry in Gosfield parish registers is the burial in 1695 of a child of Thomas Gigos, followed by the baptisms of Thomas and Jane, the son and daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth Jigoe, in 1700, and the baptisms of Edward and Matthew, the sons of Thomas and Eliz. Jiggoe, in 1703.  Thus this family appears to have moved into Gosfield at the end of the seventeenth century;  we have not yet found where they moved from.

Other Early Jeggo References

Earlier Jeggo references in the Essex Record Office online catalogue SEAX may be summarised:
Date Name Place Occupation Comment
1605 John Jeggs Coggeshall sawyer } possibly one and the same
1626, 1628 John Jeggo Great Coggeshall tinker
1613 Edward Jego Castle Hedingham
1619 Nathaniel Jeggo see early IGI refs for Essex
1638, 1639 Matthew Jeggo/Jego Sible Hedingham labourer
1669 Thomas Jiggs Sible Hedingham labourer
1675 - 1704 Matthew Jeggo/Jeggoe/Jego/Jiggo Sible Hedingham labourer/--/yeoman 10 entries;  1 or more persons?

Early Jeggo references in the International Genealogical Index (IGI) are now listed on a separate page.

We have not yet found any evidence to link any of the above to the Gosfield Jeggoes, but we plan to continue searching the parish registers of nearby parishes.  We have not yet found any evidence that any Jeggo lines other than the Gosfield ones have persisted to modern times, although there are a few isolated 'strays' who need to be accounted for.

A Variant of Jago?

This is the received wisdom.  See, for example, Reaney & Wilson (2), Reaney (3) or Hanks & Hodges (4).  These sources all assert that Jeggo is a variant of Jago.

Reaney (3) states that the Cornish Jago and Welsh Iago mean 'James', Hanks and Hodges (4) state that the Cornish Jago (or Jagoe) and Jeggo mean 'Jack', while
Bardsley (5) states that Jago is a baptismal name meaning "the son of James, from the Spanish Iago, which must have crossed over into Cornwall at some early period.  The surname is fairly well established in that county."

However, new ideas have entered the study of surname history since Reaney's days.  Reaney was a philologist, and an expert on English place names as well as personal names.  David Hey (1) quotes Reaney:
"The purpose of a Dictionary of Surnames is to explain the meaning of names, not to treat of genealogy and family history".
Hey praises Reaney:
"The name that is pre-eminent in the study of surnames in the third quarter of the twentieth century is that of P. H. Reaney.",
and states that Reaney's books "remain standard texts and the essential introductions to the subject".

Hey then goes on to describe how the subject has broadened beyond the limits which Reaney set himself:
"Yet, as Reaney himself recognised, the study of surname history 'will be a long task demanding patient industry and accuracy [that] cannot be satisfactorily concluded without the cooperation of philologists, genealogists and historians'.  Reaney's work is open to the criticism that it takes no account of the past or present distributions of surnames."

A first look at the geographical distributions of Jago and Jeggo (see below) casts doubt on the hypothesis that Jeggo is a variant of Jago.  Jago is found predominantly in Cornwall and Devon, and hardly at all in Essex, while Jeggo is found predominantly in Essex and not at all in Cornwall or Devon.

A question which therefore arises from Hanks & Hodges (4) is whether there once were Jeggoes in Cornwall, but they have since died out or moved away (to Essex?).

There is a story handed down in the Jeggo families concerning the origin of the family and the name.  Various forms of it have been related by various people amongst Charles Jeggo's descendants and in Penny's Tree.  One thing common to all the stories is that the family originated in two brothers.  Sometimes their name is said to be Jago.  Sometimes they are said to have come from Spain (sometimes, at the time of the Armada), sometimes from Cornwall, and sometimes from Spain via Cornwall.  It is not possible at this time to assess how much of this verbal tradition is true oral history and how much is addenda from the many textbooks on surname origins.

A Variant of Jeg(g)on?

Jegon-Jego deed

There is a reference in the Essex Record Office's online catalogue SEAX to a deed transferring property from John Jegon clerk, to his son, William Jego gent., both of Sible Hedingham.

Matthew Jeggo and a Wethersfield parish register

Matthew Jeggo of "Weathersfield" made a will in 1755 (proved 25/8/1759) leaving money to his five children, Sarah, Elizabeth, Mary, John, Matthias (in the order they are mentioned in the will).  The Wethersfield Parish Register CMB 1701-1801 (microfiche, ERO ref. D/P 119/1/2) has been searched.  The only entries for Jeggo or possible variants are the baptisms of Mary (1706) and John (1708), children of Matthew Jegon, and the burials in 1740 of the wife of Matt. Jigoe and on 7/6/1759 of Matthew Jiggoe.  It seems more likely than not that these are all references to the same family.  We therefore have evidence of confusion on somebody's part between the names Jeggo and Jegon.

Earls Colne Village Records

I have found a website (http://linux02.lib.cam.ac.uk/earlscolne/contents.htm) entitled "Records of an English Village 1375-1854" that is a detailed study of Earls Colne, which lies about 3 miles ESE of Halstead.  It is a fully referenced study based on many surviving historical documents (none of which I have seen personally at this stage).  The research was carried out by the following people at Cambridge University (CU):  Sarah Harrison, Charles Jardine, Tim King, Jessica King, Alan Macfarlane and Cherry Bryant, who acknowledge the support and advice of Ken Moody.

There is a surname index;  it contains eight people named Jegon, and no-one else whose name might be Jeggo, Jago, Jagger or any variant of these.  The variants of these peoples' names are:  Gigen, Giggen, Giggers, Gigon, Gigone, Gygon, Jeggen, Jeggens, Jeggon, Jegrun, Jygen, Jyggon.  The one which interests me, the only one without an 'n', is Giggers, encountered just once in connection with Thomas Allen alias Jegon (person no. A242 in the CU database).  Extracts from a few of the seventy (approx.) references to Thomas are as follows:
Source Reference Date Doc. No.* Extract from text
Archdeaconry Act Book ERO D/ACA25 10 March 1601 1700310 ... Thos Allen also Jeggens of Earls Colne ...
Consistory Court Office Act Book LRO DL/C/303 29 March 1602 2100112 ... Thos Allen alias Giggers of Earls Colne ...
Archdeaconry Act Book ERO D/ACA25 29 April 1601 1700328 ... Thos Allen also Jeggen of Earls Colne ...
Harlakenden Account Book ERO Temp.Acc.897 6 April 1620 22800480 ... received of Thos Allen for my half years rent for Millhill (447) ...
Harlakenden Account Book ERO Temp.Acc.897 15 March 1621 22800750 ... received of Thos Jegon for a quarters rent due at michaelmas last for (447) Windmillhill ...
* in the CU database

This does not in itself suggest a connection between Jegon and Jeggo, but well illustrates the variety of ways in which one person's name can be recorded.

A Variant of Jagger?

A Variant of Jégo?

Jégo is a French (Breton) name.  Of the 33 entries for Jego in France in the IGI, 32 are in the adjacent Breton départements of Côtes-du-Nord and Morbihan. Of these, 13 are in Trévé (a village just north of Loudeac).  Six are in Mur-de-Bretagne to the west and 12 are scattered amongst several other villages, all of these being within about 10 miles of Trévé.  The remaining one is only 18 miles away in Quintin, 10 miles south-west of St. Brieuc.  These are all in the modern départements of Côtes-d'Armor and Morbihan.

There is an online French telephone directory which is quite easy to search;  the results are as follows:
There are 1268 entries for Jego in France.  The numbers in the five départements comprising Brittany are:  523 are in Morbihan (S), 119 are in Côtes-d'Armor (N), 111 are in Loire-Atlantique (SE), 47 are in Finistère (W) and 35 are in Ille-et-Vilaine (NE)  --  together, 66% of the total.  There are 38 in Paris.

Marie-Thérèse Morlet (6) states that

  1. Jégo, Jégou are Breton names (variants: Gégou, Gego), contraction of Jezegou, derived from Judocus, which corresponds to a Low Latin name Judocius;  and
  2. Jagu, Jagou are Breton forms, derived from Jacob, Iacu and Iagu in old Breton since 833;  but also
  3. Jégu, Breton name, variant of Jagu.

A Survey of Surname Distributions

A quick survey of the geographical distribution of many possible variants of Jeggo has been carried out using the IGI, accessible online at www.familysearch.com.  It is not an ideal source, because the coverage of parishes is patchy, and a significant number of events (baptisms, marriages, burials) are duplicated in the index.  However, it is a very useful source in that the searching and counting can be done by computer rather than manually.  It is thus ideal for a rapid preliminary survey, to provide pointers for a subsequent more thorough survey.  Another useful feature is that exact spelling can be switched on and off, enabling the generation of lists of variant spellings of various names.

In drawing conclusions below, London has been disregarded because a substantial fraction of its growth has always been due to immigration from the rest of the country and the rest of the world.

Abbreviations

The following Chapman and other codes are used:
BDF  . .  Bedfordshire
BI British Isles
BKM  Buckinghamshire
BRK Berkshire
CAM Cambridgeshire
CHI Channel Islands
CON Cornwall
DBY Derbyshire
DEV Devon
DOR Dorset
DUR Durham
ESS Essex
GLS  . .  Gloucestershire
HAM Hampshire
HRT Hertfordshire
IOM Isle of Man
IR the whole of Ireland (IRL and NIR)
KEN Kent
LAN Lancashire
LIN Lincolnshire
LND London
NFK Norfolk
NTT Nottinghamshire
SCT  . .  Scotland
SFK Suffolk
SHR Shropshire
SOM Somerset
SRY Surrey
SSX Sussex
STS Staffordshire
WAR Warwickshire
WLS Wales
WOR Worcestershire
YKS Yorkshire

Jeggo etc.

BI WLS IR SCT LND CON DEV ESS CAM SFK NFK YKS Other counties Rest of Europe
Jeggo 16 0 0 0 2 0 0 9 1 HAM 2, SRY 1, SSX 1 1, in Spain but with Gosfield connections
Jeggoe 4 3 1 0
Jiggo 2 2 0
Giggo 3 2 1 0
Gigo(e) 6 3 2 KEN 1 13 Gigos, in Germany
Jeggs 2 1 1 0

Predominantly Essex, with a few elsewhere in East Anglia.

Iago

BI WLS IR SCT LND CON DEV ESS CAM SFK NFK YKS Other counties Rest of Europe
Iago 100 71 5 1 9 5 3 LAN 3, WAR 2, SHR 1
There are no entries for Iago in Spain.

Iago is predominantly Welsh.  It is not found in East Anglia.

Jago etc.

BI WLS IR SCT LND CON DEV ESS CAM SFK NFK YKS Other counties Rest of Europe
Jago 2370 4 32 38 175
7%
1304
55%
612
26%
10 0 2 0 HAM 73,
WAR 34
41 (30 in Germany,
1 in Spain)
Jagoe 895 0 175
20%
8 7 554
62%
135
15%
0 0 0 1 0 0
Jagow 18 18   147, in Germany
Jagowe 4 4 0
Gago(e) 10 1 3 5 WAR 1
Jaga 5 1 4 1
Jagoo 4 1 3 0
Jagos 5 5 0
Jague 7 2 2 DBY 2, STS 1 4
Jajo 4 2 2 0
Jeagoe 10 4 6 0
Jogo(e) 10 5 5 2
Jugo 12 1 0 7 1 HAM 1, WAR 1 5, in Spain
Jugoe 14 1 13
Yago 3 1 1 1 7, in Spain
Total 3371 5 211
6%
46 194
6%
1910
57%
783
23%
10 0 2 1 0
The six Bedfordshire entries for Jago are known to be children of Charles and Sarah Jeggo.
The ten in Essex comprise 5 in Greater London and 5 in Braintree, which latter may turn out to be Jeggoes.

Thus Jago and variants are found overwhelmingly in Cornwall and Devon.

Je(g)gon etc.

BI WLS IR SCT LND CON DEV ESS CAM SFK NFK YKS Other counties Rest of Europe
Jegon 101 0 0 0 22 0 0 44 16 2 10 2 SRY 3 8, in France (7 in Cotes du Nord)
Jegons 28 10 18 0
Jeggon 23 11 6 1 5 0
Jeggons 13 1 4 5 0 3 0
Jegens 3 1 2 3, in Germany
Jeggen 3 1 1 1 1, in Germany
Jeggens 4 2 1 1 0
Jeggin 8 1 SHR 7 9
Jeggins 22 7 10 1 KEN 3 0
Jegins 9 1 5 BRK 2 1, in Denmark
Jigens 1 1
Jiggen 2 1 BKM 1 0
Jiggens 34 8 9 13 3 SRY 1
Jiggin 1 1 0
Jigins 1 1 0
Jiggins 230 0 0 0 19 1 0 155 14 3 2 2 DUR 19, KEN 4, SRY 3
Jigons 1 1 0
Jiggon 6 1 3 2 0
Jiggons 47 3 43 1 0
Total 537 0 0 0 67
12%
1 0 293
55%
82
15%
13 22
4%
4
No entries found for Jegen, Jegin, Jeg(g)an(s), Jeg(g)un(s), Jeg(g)yn(s), Jig(g)an(s), Jigen, Jigin, Jigon, Jig(g)un(s), Jig(g)yn(s).

Many rare names here, but they all have an East Anglian flavour, with Essex predominant.

Jagger etc.

BI WLS IR SCT LND CON DEV ESS CAM SFK NFK YKS Other counties Rest of Europe
Jagger 5000 0 2 42 126
3%
0 1 63
1%
8 7 13 4230
85%
LAN 139, WAR 57 23
Jaggar 554 0 0 1 17
3%
0 0 11
2%
3 0 0 492
89%
0
Jaggers 310 0 2 1 105 0 0 16 7 1 0 53 HRT 76, LAN 8 3
Jaggars 50 0 0 4 23 0 0 4 1 1 0 3 KEN 5, BDF 4 0
Jegger 30 2 1 16 BKM 5, LIN 3, NTT 2 27
Jeggar 15 9 LIN 3, LAN 2, WOR 1 2
Jeggers 4 1 3
Jeggars 2 LIN 2

Overwhelmingly Yorkshire and neighbouring counties, but with a few in Essex and other East Anglian counties.  None in Cornwall and a paltry one in Devon.  The rarer Jaggers and Jaggars are found more in London than in Yorkshire.

Jaeger etc.

BI WLS IR SCT LND CON DEV ESS CAM SFK NFK YKS Other counties Rest of Europe
Jaeger 44 0 0 7 27 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 LAN 6, WAR 2, SHR 1 thousands
Jaegers 2 LAN 1, STS 1 thousands
Yeager 11 5 1 DBY 2, CHI 1 96
Yeagers 4 CHI 4 0
Jager 176 0 5 13 45 2 2 2 0 2 0 45 KEN 25, LAN 19, SRY 4 thousands
Jagar 24 2 1 1 10 LAN 1, WAR 1 17
Jeger 5 2 1 2 thousands

These are mostly imported foreign names, although it looks as if Jager and Jagar are sometimes variants of Jagger and Jaggar.  This table provides no evidence to connect Jeggo with any of these names.

Jaggard etc.

BI WLS IR SCT LND CON DEV ESS CAM SFK NFK YKS Other counties Rest of Europe
Jaggard 1655 0 1 0 223 0 0 202 745 248 5 6 WAR 58, BDF 39, DOR 31 3
Jagard 43 2 6 19 12 WAR 4 0
Jaggarde 20 2 14 3 1
Jaggards 7 2 5
Jaggerd 10 2 5 2 GLS 1
Jaggord 3 2 1
Jaggart 11 6 IOM 4, WAR 1
Yaggart 2 IOM 2
Jaygart IOM 1
There are no entries for Jeggard and variants (i.e., searching for Jeggard with exact spelling switched off).

These names are probably not related to Jeggo.  The distributions are distinctive.

Jego etc.

BI WLS IR SCT LND CON DEV ESS CAM SFK NFK YKS Other counties Rest of Europe
Jego 29 4 1 11 2 2 HAM 5, SSX 2, LAN 1, SOM 1 35; 33 in France
Jegoe 17 6 3 4 1 SSX 2, SOM 1 0
Gego 3 2 NOR 1 10;  7 in Belgium

An interesting mixture of West Country and East Anglia.

Odds and Ends

BI WLS IR SCT LND CON DEV ESS CAM SFK NFK YKS Other counties Rest of Europe
Jaggo 9 3 1 SSX 5 0
Jagon 4 4 1
Jaggon 2 SSX 2 0
Jaggons 1 1
No entries for Jagons.

A Huguenot Name?

It has been suggested that the name Jeggo may have Huguenot origins.  Indeed it is thought that Mabel Law, the daughter of Julia Law née Jeggo, believed this as a result of her investigations, but no record of these seems to have survived.  The conclusions from a search of the Huguenot Library (of the Huguenot Society of Great Britain and Ireland) are as follows.  There are plenty of surnames in the Huguenot records which could be variants of Jeggo.  However, there are no individuals in the Huguenot records who appear to have links with individual Jeggoes in North Essex, from whom modern Jeggoes are descended.

Conclusions

Now it is time to return to the question of where the name Jeggo might come from.

Reaney's assertion (3) that it is a variant of Jago gets no support from the geographical distributions above.  Nearly all occurrences of Jago and variants are in Cornwall and Devon, and it is virtually absent from East Anglia.  There are some occurrences of Jagoe in Ireland;  Iago is predominantly Welsh.  On the other hand, occurrences of Jeggo are predominantly in Essex, and elsewhere in East Anglia, but the name is absent in Cornwall and Devon, Ireland and Wales.

However, one cannot conclude that Reaney is wrong.  It is possible that a Jago moved to Essex and that the pronunciation and spelling changed as a result, to something closer to an Essex name, such as Jeg(g)on.  The traditional Jeggo story could still be true.  The best that can be done is to regard it as a hypothesis, for which further evidence is required.  Much the same can be said about Jégo.

The idea that Jeggo is a variant of Jagger is not a serious contender.  It was included because there is uncertainty over the name of one family in Bocking.  It seems likely that this family was originally called Jeggo, but for some reason presently unknown to me decided to change its name to Jagger, in fairly recent times, circa 1850 - 1860.  Further evidence for this is being sought.  Jagger is a distinctive Yorkshire name.  It means a man in charge of packhorses, a carrier or carter, a hawker or pedlar (see Hey(1), Reaney(3), or McKinley(7)). There is virtually no overlap between its geographical distribution and that of Jeggo.

That leaves Jegon and variants and the many similar names which have been collected together in one table above because their geographical distributions are so similar.  Reaney states that Jeggons, Jiggen(s) and Jiggins are variants of Judkins, probably from Jukin.  "Jek-un, Juk-in, Jok-in are diminutives of Jok or Juk, a short form of Breton Judicael, with its variants Juk-, Jok-, Jek-, Gik-."  Reaney also derives Jekyll and many variants including Jickles and Jiggle from the same name - Old Breton Iudicael.  Hanks and Hodges (4) also connect Jeggons, Jiggen, Jiggins, Jiggle and Juggins to Jekyll and thence to Old Breton Iudicael.

On the other hand, Bardsley (5) has the entry:
"Jiggens, Jeggins, Jeggs, Jegen.  -  Baptismal 'the son of Jegg', whence the diminutive Jeggon.  Jiggens or Jeggins is the genitive, as in Jennings, Jones, Williams, etc..  There can be little doubt that the original name was Jackson (i.e., little Jack), which became Jaggin or Jeggin.  Jack is found as Jagg in early rolls, and is so styled by the author of Piers Plowman.  The surname Jeggins seems to have arisen in county Essex, where Jeggins, Jeggs, and Jaggs are still to be met with."

You pays your money and you takes your choice!

The geographical distribution of the name Jeggo matches that of Jeg(g)on(s) and variants.  There is also the intriguing 1668 transfer of property from John Jegon of Sible Hedingham to his son William Jego, which needs further investigation.  There seems to be a good case for Jeggo being a variant of Jegon/Jeggon.  Nevertheless, further evidence is required.

The possibility of Huguenot origins spans the above considerations.  The Huguenot records contain references to
Gegu, Jegu, Jigou, Jego, Gego, Jegut, Gigu, Gigot, Gegot possible variants of Jeggo, Jiggo, Giggo etc
Jago, Jagot, Jagau possible variants of Jago etc
Gigon, Gygon possible variants of Jeg(g)on etc
The Huguenot hypothesis can neither be ruled out nor accepted.  Once again, further evidence is required.

The main conclusion at this stage, therefore, is that the history of the surname is inextricably intertwined with the history of its bearers.  The origin of the name can only be found by genealogy, by seeking the origins of the family.

References

1.  David Hey, 'Family Names and Family History' (Hambledon and London, 2000)
2.  P. H. Reaney and R. M. Wilson, 'A Dictionary of English Surnames' (3rd ed., Routledge, London, 1991, or revised 3rd ed., OUP, 1997)
3.  P. H. Reaney, 'A Dictionary of British Surnames' (2nd ed., Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1976)
4.  P. Hanks and F. Hodges, 'A Dictionary of Surnames' (OUP, 1978)
5.  C. W. Bardsley, 'A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames with Special American Instances' (OUP, 1901)
6.  Marie-Thérèse Morlet, 'Dictionnaire Étymologique des Noms de Famille' (Perrin, Paris, 1991)
7.  R. A. McKinley, 'A History of British Surnames' (Longman 1990)