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Name Origins: Joseph

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Julie Helen Otto

Julie Helen Otto
Staff Genealogist

JOSEPH (m): In the Hebrew Bible, Joseph the patriarch was the youngest son of Jacob and his favored wife Rachel. His jealous older brothers sold him into slavery in Egypt, but he was able to rise to considerable power in that country by interpreting the king’s dreams and providing opportunities for his people (Genesis 30:22-24, 37:1, etc.).

 

In later years, the name was borne by the husband of Mary, the mother of Jesus. He was a carpenter of Nazareth, whose family had links to Bethlehem; his genealogy forms the highly enjoyable “begats” in the first chapters of the Gospel of Matthew.

 

Joseph was one of the most popular given names in colonial America. Note: If your ancestor Joseph ____ was of French-Canadian extraction, remember that many or all male family members may bear “Joseph” as one of several names, in honor of St. Joseph.


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