Last name: Apfel
Recorded in many spellings and in several countries, this is a surname which wherever it is found, is of pre 7th century Old English, Old High German or Scandanvian origins. However spelt it would seem to derive from an early Saxon word 'apfal' or the Norse 'apall' or the Olde English 'oeppel' all mean apple and may make equal claim. The known surname spellings include Apple, Appel, Appell, Appleman (English), Apfel, Aphal, Aphale, Apfler, Apfelmann, Appelman, Eppel, Epel, Epelman (Dutch, German, Scandanavian and Askenasic), and German-Swedish compounds such as Appelberg and Applebaum. The surname has at least two possible origins. The more usual explanation is occupational or residential, and a description of a grower of apples, or who lives by an orchard. The second origin is much rarer and Welsh. It is a fused form of the medieval surname 'Ap Pella', meaning the son of Pella. The latter was a rare early personal name. whose meaning is uncertain. 'Ap-' is equivalent to the Gaelic 'Mac or Mc', and means 'son of'. Occupational surnames were amongst the earliest to be created, however they did not usually become hereditary unless a son followed a father into the same line of business. Examples of the surname recording taken from early surviving rolls and registers include Albert Epple of Heilbronn, Germany, in the year 1281, Nicholas Appleman in the Close Rolls of the city of London, in 1343, whilst Berthold Apfel is recorded as being a burger of Konstanz in 1437.
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