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An excerpt from archives copyright © 2000 - 2016

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.


The surname Trapp was 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.

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.


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 and printed products wherever possible.


Another 24 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Trapp Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


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 United States in the 17th Century

  • Stephen Trapp, who arrived in Virginia in 1657

Trapp Settlers in 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 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
  • ...

Trapp Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • Mary Trapp, aged 16, arrived in South Australia in 1849 aboard the ship "Elgin"
  • Mary Trapp, aged 16, arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Elgin" in 1849

  • James Trapp (b. 1969), American former football player
  • Maria Agatha Franziska Gobertina von Trapp (1914-2014), second-oldest daughter of Georg and Agatha (née Whitehead) von Trapp
  • Albert F. Trapp (d. 1953), Canadian politician in Manitoba
  • 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
  • Eric Joseph Trapp (b. 1910), Bishop of Zululand, then Bishop of Bermuda and Dean of the Cathedral (1970-75)
  • 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)

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    Other References

    1. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
    2. 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).
    3. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
    4. Göbel, Otto. Niederdeutsche Familiennamen der Gegenwart Wolfshagen-Schäbentz. Franz: Westphal, 1936. Print.
    5. Bahlow, Hans and Edda Gentry. Translation Dictionary of German Names 2nd Edition. Madison: University of Wisconsin, 2002. Print.
    6. Schenk, Trudy. Wuerttemberg Emigration Index Volume I-VIII. Salt Lake City: Ancestry Inc., 1986. Print.
    7. Neubecker, Ottfried. Wappen-Bilder-Lexikon der bürgerlichen Geschlechter Deutschlands, Oesterreichs und der Schweiz. Battenberg, München: 1985. Print.
    8. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
    9. Jones, George F. The Germans of Colonial Georgia 1733-1783 Revised edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0806311614).
    10. Oswald, G. Lexicon der Heraldik. Leipzig: 1984. Print.
    11. ...

    The Trapp Family Crest was acquired from the 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 8 May 2014 at 09:04.

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