Show ContentsCape History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Cape is a name of ancient Norman origin. It arrived in England with the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Cape family lived in London, settling there after the Norman Conquest of 1066 when they came from Capes, near Calvados, Normandy.

Early Origins of the Cape family

The surname Cape was first found in London, England where they held a family seat from very early times and were granted lands by Duke William of Normandy, their liege Lord, for their distinguished assistance at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 A.D.

Early History of the Cape family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Cape research. Another 75 words (5 lines of text) covering the years 119 and 1199 are included under the topic Early Cape History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Cape Spelling Variations

Endless spelling variations are a prevailing characteristic of Norman surnames. Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules, and the introduction of Norman French added an unfamiliar ingredient to the English linguistic stew. French and Latin, the languages of the court, also influenced spellings. Finally, Medieval scribes generally spelled words according to how they sounded, so one person was often referred to by different spellings in different documents. The name has been spelled Cape, Cap, Capes, Cappe, Capps, Caps and others.

Early Notables of the Cape family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Cape Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Cape Ranking

In the United States, the name Cape is the 9,728th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [1]

United States Cape migration to the United States +

To escape the political and religious persecution within England at the time, many English families left for the various British colonies abroad. The voyage was extremely difficult, though, and the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving. But for those who made it, the trip was most often worth it. Many of the families who arrived went on to make valuable contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families reveals a number of immigrants bearing the name Cape or a variant listed above:

Cape Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Robert Cape, who arrived in Virginia in 1638 [2]
  • John Cape, who arrived in Maryland in 1680 [2]
Cape Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • John Cape, who landed in Virginia in 1705 [2]
  • Nathaniel Cape, who landed in New England in 1757 [2]
  • John Cape, who settled in New England in 1767
Cape Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • F Cape, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1850 [2]
  • James Cape, aged 21, who landed in New York in 1854 [2]
  • Elizabeth Cape, aged 21, who landed in New York in 1854 [2]

Australia Cape migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Cape Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • William Timothy Cape (1806–1863), Australian colonist, born at Walworth, Surrey, 25 Oct. 1806, eldest son of William Cape of Ireby, Cumberland; he emigrated to Van Diemen's Land in 1821, founder of Sydney College in 1835 [3]
  • Mr. George Cape, English convict who was convicted in Bristol, England for life, transported aboard the "Blenheim" on 11th March 1837, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) [4]

Contemporary Notables of the name Cape (post 1700) +

  • Safford Cape (1906-1973), American conductor, composer and musicologist, best known for his works of medieval and Renaissance music
  • Randal "Joey" Cape (b. 1966), American singer, songwriter and producer
  • Jonathan Cape, British publisher founded in 1919 as Jonathan Page and Company

  1. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  2. Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  4. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 15th October 2020). Retrieved from on Facebook