Recorded in many forms including Rapa, Rappa, Rapi, and Rapo (mainly Italian and Spanish), Rabier, Rapier France), Raap (Dutch-Flemish), Rapp (England) and diminutives Rapin, Rapine, Rapinett (France), Rapetti, Rapini, Rapelli, and Ravelli (Italy), and no doubt many more, this is a surname of Roman (Latin) origins. It derives from the ancient word 'rapum' meaning root vegetables, and as such is occupational for a grower or seller of such crops. Its origins are as ancient as it is possible to be, to the very dawn of history, although as a surname, like all surnames it is much later, and not before the 14th century. Surnames of Italian origin are traditionally the most difficult to research as the country did not become a single entity until 1860, and record keeping before that was at best sparse. This surname should be well recorded in France, but sadly many of the early French recordings were lost in the 1792 Revolution. The Revolutionaries closed all churches and banned religious worship. This continued for about eight years until the church was restored by Napoleon, and during this period registers were routinely destroyed or fell apart from neglect. Such early examples as we have been able to find include: Ignazio Rappa of Carini, Palermo, Italy, on June 6th 1611, John Rappett, a witness at the church of St Katherines by the Tower (of London), England, on January 21st 1707, and Madelaine Rapinat, of Bruly, Meurse-et-Moselle, France, on February 8th 1735.
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