This unusual and interesting surname has two origins; firstly, it may be of North African origin, deriving from an African byname "Safaye" meaning a charm, perhaps a tribal name. Bynames were given in the first instance with reference to a variety of characteristics, such as physical attributes or peculiarities, mental and moral characteristics, or habits of dress and occupation. Secondly it may be of German origin, deriving from the given name "Sabbe", a short form of the various compound names with the first elements "sache" meaning legal action, for example Sacbert and Sagebreecht. Variations in the spelling of the surname include Sap, Sapp, and Sappe. London Church Records list the marriages of Rose Saph to Richard Brandis on the 10th September 1751, at St. George's, Mayfair, Westminster, and of Henry Saph to Jane Norris on the 26th September 1867, at St. Lukes's, Chelsea. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas Sapp, which was dated August 30th 1620, marriage to Janne Burton, at St. Mary Magdalene, Old Fish Street, London, during the reign of King James 1 of England and V1 of Scotland, 1603 - 1625. Surnames 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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