Yes Janis is a jewish name. My paternal grandmother, Gussie was a Janis or Jannis or some other variant. Her sister Fannie's maiden name was Jannis as written on her marriage certificate. One of her brothers, Hyman had his name involuntarily changed to Yarnis. He was a highly decorated WWI hero. He and his brother, Morris Janis (his WWII draft card surname was Janis)had an argument over the name-change and they never spoke to each other. Other siblings were Lena, Feigel, and Binah.
The patriarch of the family was Samuel Janis who was born in Bialystok, Poland in 1819 and died on 30 Nov 1923 at the age of 104 y. He was drafted in 1827 and served 20 y in the Russian Army as a corporal; saw action in the Crimean War and was stabbed by a Turk; as a result of his army service he was able to live anywhere in Russia but opted to return to Bialystok, Poland.
He married Yospa Yoreslawsky and they had nine children, Golde “Gussie”, Lena, Hyman, Feigel, Binah, 2 non-names, Fannie, AND Morris in that order of birth, respectively.
How are you related to the Janis family?