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

Where did the English Chapman family come from? What is the English Chapman family crest and coat of arms? When did the Chapman family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Chapman family history?

The ancestry of the name Chapman can be traced back to the Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. It is a name for a merchant. Chapman is an occupational surname, which belongs to the category of hereditary surnames. Occupational surnames were derived from the primary activity of the bearer. In the Middle Ages, people did not generally live off of the fruits of their labor in a particular job. Rather, they performed a specialized task, as well as farming, for subsistence. Other occupational names were derived from an object associated with a particular activity. The surname Chapman is derived from the Old English word ceapman, which means merchant. Therefore, this surname would have been taken by someone whose primary occupation was that of a merchant. The earliest record of someone bearing the surname Chapman in England was in Cambridgeshire, prior to the Norman Conquest in 1066.

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Chapman has been spelled many different ways, including Before English spelling became standardized over the last few hundred years, spelling variations in names were a common occurrence. As the English language changed in the Middle Ages, absorbing pieces of Latin and French, as well as other languages, the spelling of people's names also changed considerably, even over a single lifetime. Chapman, Chappman, Chepman, Cheppman and others.

First found in Cambridgeshire where they held a family seat from very ancient times, some say well before the Norman Conquest and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Chapman research. Another 285 words(20 lines of text) covering the years 1559, 1616, 1634, 1780, and 1853 are included under the topic Early Chapman History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 30 words(2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Chapman Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Chapman family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 205 words(15 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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In an attempt to escape the chaos experienced in England, many English families boarded overcrowded and diseased ships sailing for the shores of North America and other British colonies. Those families hardy enough, and lucky enough, to make the passage intact were rewarded with land and a social environment less prone to religious and political persecution. Many of these families became important contributors to the young colonies in which they settled. Early immigration and passenger lists have documented some of the first Chapmans to arrive on North American shores:

Chapman Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century


  • Francis Chapman, who arrived in Virginia in 1608
  • Ann Chapman, who landed in Virginia in 1619
  • Nicholas Chapman, who arrived in Virginia in 1619
  • Phillip Chapman, who landed in Virginia in 1621
  • Francis Chapman, who settled in Virginia in 1623


Chapman Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • Mary Chapman, who landed in Virginia in 1701
  • Anne Chapman, who arrived in Virginia in 1702
  • Charles, Chapman Jr., who landed in Virginia in 1702
  • Benja Chapman, who landed in Virginia in 1714
  • Thos Chapman, who arrived in Virginia in 1714


Chapman Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • William T Chapman, aged 24, landed in Connecticut in 1812
  • Jonathan Chapman, aged 23, landed in Maryland in 1813
  • Philip Chapman, who landed in New York, NY in 1817
  • Joseph Chapman, who arrived in America in 1823
  • Geo Chapman, aged 7, arrived in America in 1829


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  • Mark David Chapman (b. 1955), American convicted murderer of John Lennon
  • Major-General Elbridge Gerry Jr. Chapman (1895-1954), American Commandant of the Parachute School (1946)
  • Mr. Charles Henry Chapman (d. 1912), aged 52, American Second Class passenger from Bronx, New York who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking and was recovered by CS Mackay-Bennett
  • George Chapman (1559-1634), English dramatist
  • Mr. John Henry Chapman (d. 1912), aged 36, English Second Class passenger from Liskeard, Cornwall who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking and was recovered by CS Mackay-Bennett
  • Mrs. Sara Elizabeth Chapman (d. 1912), (née Lawry), aged 28, English Second Class passenger from Liskeard, Cornwall who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking
  • Mr. Joseph Charles Chapman, aged 32, English Boots from Southampton, Hampshire who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and survived the sinking by escaping in life boat 9
  • Graham Chapman (1941-1989), British comedian
  • Sergeant-Major Edward Thomas Chapman (1920-2002), British soldier awarded the Victoria Cross during WWII
  • Sydney Chapman (1888-1970), British astronomer and geophysicist

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  • Chapman and Allied Families by Lena E. Sweet.
  • Chapman and Pugh Family History and Allied Lines by Minnie May Pugh.
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The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Crescit sub pondere virtus
Motto Translation: Virtue thrives under oppression.

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  1. Lennard, Reginald. Rural England 1086-1135 A Study of Social and Agrarian Conditions. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1959. Print.
  2. Mills, A.D. Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4).
  3. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  4. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
  5. Skordas, Guest. Ed. The Early Settlers of Maryland an Index to Names or Immigrants Complied from Records of Land Patents 1633-1680 in the Hall of Records Annapolis, Maryland. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1968. Print.
  6. Virkus, Frederick A. Ed. Immigrant Ancestors A List of 2,500 Immigrants to America Before 1750. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1964. Print.
  7. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1790. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  8. Marcharn, Frederick George. A Constitutional History of Modern England 1485 to the Present. London: Harper and Brothers, 1960. Print.
  9. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  10. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  11. ...

The Chapman Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Chapman Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 29 July 2014 at 19:36.

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