Last name: Capper
Recorded in several forms including Capp, Capps, Cape, Capes and Capper, this long-established surname is of early medieval English origin,. It is either a metonymic occupational name for a maker of caps and hats, or a nickname for a wearer of some kind of noticeable headgear. The derivation is from the Middle English word "cappe", cap, headgear, ultimately from the Olde English pre 7th Century "caep", reinforced by the Old Norman French "cape", introduced into England after the Conquest of 1066. Job-descriptive surnames originally denoted the actual occupation of the namebearer, and later became hereditary, and nicknames were given with reference to personal characteristics such as physical attributes or peculiarities, and to habits of dress. One Alward Cappe was noted in the 1178 Pipe Rolls of Kent, and a Roger Caps appears in the 1327 Subsidy Rolls of Somerset. The final "s" attached to the name indicates the patronymic, and is a reduced form of "son of". The "-er" of Capper being an agent suffix, ineffect describing a maker of caps. An early example of the name recording is that of William Cappier of Essex in the year 1285, whilst amongst the early recordings in the church registers is that of Thomas Capp, who was christened at St. Benet Fink, London, on February 23rd 1556. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Cappa, which was dated 1111, in "Early London Names", during the reign of King Henry 1st of England, known as "The Lion of Justice", 1100 - 1135. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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Alma Elizabeth McGinley Helmick
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