Recorded in many forms including Chapman, Copeman, Coopman and Coupman (English) Kauf, Kaufman and Kaufler (Austro-German), Koopman (Danish), Coopman and de Copeman (Flemish), this is a 'European' occupational name for a merchant or trader. However the origination is believed to be Olde English word "ceapmann", itself a compound consisting of the elements "ceap", meaning to barter or bargain and "mann", a person, or in this context, a travelling man. The surname development includes the following early examples taken from authentic charters of the period: John Copman of Norfolk in the year 1205, Alice Chepman of Derbyshire in the year 1207, Berchtoldus Kofman of Weinzberg, Germany, in the year 1287, and Henry le Chupman of Hampshire in 1327. Amongst the very earliest of all settlers to the new English colonies of North America, was Henry Chapman, aged 19 yrs. He left London on the ship "Primrose", bound for "Virginea" in July 1635. The first recorded spelling of the family name anywhere in the world is probably that of Herbort Kofmanni of Koln, Germany, in the year 1135. This is one of the first surnames of any spelling recorded anywhewhere and is further proof of the early importance of this surname. These became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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