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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2014

Where did the English Raper family come from? When did the Raper family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Raper family history?

Raper is an Anglo-Saxon name. The name was originally given to a rope-maker. Occupational names that were derived from the common trades of the medieval era transcended European cultural and linguistic boundaries. Occupational names have remained fairly commonplace in the modern period. This is attested to by the continuing appearance of occupational suffixes at the end of many English surnames. Some of these suffixes include: herd, monger, maker, hewer, smith and wright.

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One relatively recent invention that did much to standardize English spelling was the printing press. However, before its invention even the most literate people recorded their names according to sound rather than spelling. The spelling variations under which the name Raper has appeared include Raper, Wraper, Rapper, Rapier and others.

First found in Sussex where they held a family seat from early times and their first records appeared on the census rolls taken by the ancient Kings of Britain to determine the rate of taxation of their subjects.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Raper research. Another 197 words(14 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Raper History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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More information is included under the topic Early Raper Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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At this time, the shores of the New World beckoned many English families that felt that the social climate in England was oppressive and lacked opportunity for change. Thousands left England at great expense in ships that were overcrowded and full of disease. A great portion of these settlers never survived the journey and even a greater number arrived sick, starving, and without a penny. The survivors, however, were often greeted with greater opportunity than they could have experienced back home. These English settlers made significant contributions to those colonies that would eventually become the United States and Canada. An examination of early immigration records and passenger ship lists revealed that people bearing the name Raper arrived in North America very early:

Raper Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century


  • George Raper, who arrived in Maryland in 1651
  • Thomas Raper who settled in New Jersey in 1678
  • Thomas Raper, who landed in New Jersey in 1678

Raper Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • Mary Raper, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1726
  • Stephannas Raper, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1727
  • Peter Raper, who arrived in Philadelphia in 1740

Raper Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • Louis Raper, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1850

Raper Settlers in the United States in the 20th Century


  • Godfrey Curzon Raper, who landed in Colorado in 1903

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  • Kenneth Raper (1908-1987), American mycologist, microbiologist, and botanist
  • George Raper (1769-1797), English Royal Navy officer and illustrator
  • Henry Raper (1799-1859), British Royal Naval lieutenant, and authority on navigation
  • John Raper (b. 1939), Australian, rugby league footballer and coach


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  1. Bardsley, C.W. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6).
  2. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  3. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  4. Bede, The Venerable. Historia Ecclesiatica Gentis Anglorum (The Ecclesiastical History Of the English People). Available through Internet Medieval Sourcebook the Fordham University Centre for Medieval Studies. Print.
  5. Foster, Joseph. Dictionary of Heraldry Feudal Coats of Arms and Pedigrees. London: Bracken Books, 1989. Print. (ISBN 1-85170-309-8).
  6. Library of Congress. American and English Genealogies in the Library of Congress. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1967. Print.
  7. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1790. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  8. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
  9. Innes, Thomas and Learney. The Tartans of the Clans and Families of Scotland 1st Edition. Edinburgh: W & A. K. Johnston Limited, 1938. Print.
  10. Lennard, Reginald. Rural England 1086-1135 A Study of Social and Agrarian Conditions. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1959. Print.
  11. ...


This page was last modified on 3 July 2014 at 14:33.

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