This can best be described as an Anglo-Saxon surname of confused origins. It is believed to be recorded as Sap, Sapp, the diminutives Sapell, Sappell, Seppell, Sippell, Zipfell, and now apparently Zipsell, patronymics Sappas, Sappes, Sapson, (English), Sapp, Sapper, Zapp, Zapper, Zipp, Zippe, diminutives Zappel, Zipple(German), and others. According to one of the dictionaries of Germanic surnames, it is said to originate from the pre 5th century word "sache" meaning "legal action," which may suggest that name holders were early lawyers, although we have no proof of this. In the period of history known as the Dark Ages, which was from the fall of the Roman Empire in 410 a.d. until about the famous Crusades to free the Holy Land from the Muslin control in the 12th century, much of the world was in religious turmoil. During this time people looked around desperately for continuity and good government, and this was reflected in the personal names (there were no surnames), which they chose. The earliest recording of the surname in any form is probably that of Roger Saepere of Durham, England, in 1243, Johannes Zippe of Barth in Pommerania, Germany, in 1304, and in surviving church records Thomas Sapp at St Botolphs Bishogate in the city of London in 1629, and in Yorkshire Robert Zipfell of Grangetown on January 10th 1889.
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