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

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

From the historical and enchanting region of Austria emerged a multitude of noble families, including the distinguished Trapp family. Originally, the Austrian people were known only by a single name. The process by which hereditary surnames were adopted in Austria is extremely interesting. Surnames evolved during the Middle Ages when people began to assume an extra name to avoid confusion and to further identify themselves. Often they adopted names that were derived from nicknames. Nickname surnames were derived from an eke-name, or added name. They usually reflected the physical characteristics or attributes of the first person that used the name. The name Trapp is a nickname type of surname for an impish troublemaker having derived from the German word trappe, meaning rogue.

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One can encounter great variation in the spelling of surnames: in early times, spelling in general, and thus the spelling of names was not yet standardized; and later, spellings would change with branching and movement of families. Variations of the name Trapp include Trapp, Trap, Trappe, Trapper, Traper, Trappl and many more.

First found in the Austrian province of Styria, moving later to Tyrol, where the name became noted for its many branches with the region, each house acquiring a status and influence which was envied and enrolled by the princes of the region. They possessed their family seat Trappenburg in the region of Leutschbach since ancient times. In their later history the name became a power unto themselves and were elevated to the ranks of nobility as they grew into this most influential family. Chronicles first mention Hans Trapp of Stetbach in 1388, and Cuncz Trap of Wuerzburg in 1409.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Trapp research. Another 589 words(42 lines of text) covering the years 1655, 1691, 1300, 1709, 1762 and 1819 are included under the topic Early Trapp History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 29 words(2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Trapp Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Austria was made a republic after the First World War. The Austro-Hungarian Empire was broken up by the Treaty of Versailles and many of its people found themselves in the new nation of Czechoslovakia. Many other Austrians and expatriate Austrians made their way to North America in the 20th century. Most landed in Philadelphia, later continuing on to the states of Ohio, Texas, Illinois, California, New York, and Maryland. Some Austrian settlers also went to western Canada and Ontario. Research into the origins of individual families in North America revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Trapp or a variant listed above:

Trapp Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century


  • Stephen Trapp, who arrived in Virginia in 1657

Trapp Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • Philip Trapp, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1761
  • Margriatha Trapp, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1795

Trapp Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • Andreas Trapp, who landed in Ohio in 1831
  • Albrecht H Trapp, who arrived in St Clair County, III in 1842
  • Andrew Trapp, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1846
  • Mary Trapp, aged 21, landed in New York in 1854
  • Ottillie Trapp, aged 3, arrived in New York, NY in 1856


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  • James Trapp (b. 1969), American former football player
  • Joseph Burney Trapp (b. 1925), who held the position of Librarian at the Warburg Institute in London, and then became the Vice-President of the British Academy (1983-85)
  • Eric Joseph Trapp (b. 1910), Bishop of Zululand, then Bishop of Bermuda and Dean of the Cathedral (1970-75)
  • Korvettenkapitän Georg Ludwig Ritter von Trapp (1880-1947), who headed the Austrian singing family portrayed in "The Sound of Music", recipient of the Military Order of Maria Theresa
  • Albert F. Trapp (d. 1953), Canadian politician in Manitoba


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  1. Tarneller, Josef. Zur Namenkunde Tirolen Familiennamen. Bozen: Buchhandlung, 1923. Print.
  2. Gritzner, M. Handbuch der heraldischen Terminologie in zwölf Zungen. Nürnberg: 1890. Print.
  3. Rietstap, Johannes Baptist. Armorial Général. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  4. Jones, George F. The Germans of Colonial Georgia 1733-1783 Revised edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0806311614).
  5. Haverkamp, Alfred. Medieval Germany 1056-1273 2nd edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print.
  6. Kneschke, Dr. Ernest Heinrich. Neues allgemeines Deutsches Adels-Lexicon 9 Volumes New General German Aristocracy Lexicon. Leipzig: Friedrich Voigt, 1859. Print.
  7. Rolland, and H.V. Rolland. Illustrations to the Armorial general by J. B. Rietstap 6 volumes in 3. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1976. Print.
  8. Götze, Alfred. Familiennamen im badischen Oberland. Heidelberg: C. Winter, 1918. Print.
  9. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  10. Fogleman, Aaron Spencer. Hopeful Journeys German Immigration, Settlement, and Political Culture in Colonial America 1717-1775. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1986. Print. (ISBN 978-0812215489).
  11. ...

The Trapp Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Trapp 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 31 March 2013 at 15:33.

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