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An excerpt from archives copyright 2000 - 2016

Clapp is a name of Anglo-Saxon origin and came from Osgoode Clapa (d. 1054), a nobleman of Danish origin, who served King Harthacanute (1018-1042) and Edward the Confessor. Another possible origin of the surname Clapp may be that it derived from the Old English word clop which meant "lump," or "hill." As such, it may have been a nickname for someone who was large or ungainly.


The surname Clapp was first found in Surrey 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. The place name Clapham or "Clappa's farm"dates back to Anglo-Saxon times. Osgoode Clapa (d. 1054) held land in the Kingdom of East Anglia. He can be found as a witness to charters from 1026, and is mentioned the " Anglo-Saxon Chronicles." Other early records of the name include Simon Clapp in the Curia Regis Rolls for Oxfordshire in 1206; William le Clop in the Assize Rolls of Yorkshire of 1222; and Laurence Clappe listed in the Pipe Rolls for Oxfordshire in 1230.

Spelling variations in names were a common occurrence before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago. In the Middle Ages, even the literate spelled their names differently as the English language incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other European languages. Many variations of the name Clapp have been found, including Clapp, Clap, Clapps and others.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Clapp research. Another 113 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1332, 1678, 1609, 1691 and 1760 are included under the topic Early Clapp History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


Notables of this surname at this time include Roger Clapp, born April 6, 1609 in Sallcom, Devon, England, died in 1691 in America, who wrote memoirs of the trip of the "Mary...

Another 32 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Clapp Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


Families began migrating abroad in enormous numbers because of the political and religious discontent in England. Often faced with persecution and starvation in England, the possibilities of the New World attracted many English people. Although the ocean trips took many lives, those who did get to North America were instrumental in building the necessary groundwork for what would become for new powerful nations. Among the first immigrants of the name Clapp, or a variant listed above to cross the Atlantic and come to North America were :

Clapp Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Thomas Clapp, who was on record in Barnstable Massachusetts in 1630
  • Roger Clapp, who arrived at Nantasket, MA, aboard the "Mary and John" in 1630
  • Roger Clapp, who arrived in America in 1630
  • Edward Clapp, who came to Dorchester, Massachusetts in 1633
  • Elija Clapp, who arrived in Virginia in 1648
  • ...

Clapp Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Joseph Clapp, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1727
  • Cap. Clapp, who arrived in Boston in 1766
  • James Clapp, who came to Boston in 1767

Clapp Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • George Clapp, who landed in New York in 1822
  • Elisha, Clapp Jr., who arrived in Mobile, Ala in 1822
  • Ambrose Clapp, who landed in New York in 1824
  • W R Clapp, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1850
  • C Clapp, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851
  • ...

Clapp Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • Thomas Clapp, English convict from London, who was transported aboard the "Almorah" on April 1817, settling in New South Wales, Australia

  • Althea Louise Brough Clapp (1923-2014), American tennis player, ranked World Number 1, in 1955, winner of six Grand Slam singles titles, inducted in the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1967
  • John Clapp, American illustrator of children's books
  • Cornelia Maria Clapp (1849-1934), American zoologist specializing in marine biology
  • Nicolas Clapp, American based film-maker, photographer
  • Margaret Antoinette Clapp (1910-1974), American scholar and educator, winner of the 1948 Pulitzer Prize for biography, president of Wellesley College (1949-1966)
  • Philip Greeley Clapp (1888-1954), American educator, conductor, pianist, and composer of classical music
  • Henry Austin Clapp (1841-1904), American theatre critic, and Shakespearean scholar
  • Moses Edwin Clapp (1851-1929), American politician, US Senator from Minnesota
  • George Hubbard Clapp (1858-1949), American pioneer in the aluminium industry
  • Richard "Stubby" Clapp (b. 1973), Canadian baseball player

  • The German Clapps in America by Elmo F. Clapp.
  • Josiah and Mercy Bennet of Herkimer County, New York, and 574 Descendants (including the Clapp Family) 1798 to 1975 by George Wirt Clapp.

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    Other References

    1. Reaney P.H and R.M. Wilson. A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X).
    2. Crispin, M. Jackson and Leonce Mary. Falaise Roll Recording Prominent Companions of William Duke of Normandy at the Conquest of England. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
    3. Bardsley, C.W. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6).
    4. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
    5. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
    6. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
    7. Library of Congress. American and English Genealogies in the Library of Congress. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1967. Print.
    8. Mills, A.D. Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4).
    9. Markale, J. Celtic Civilization. London: Gordon & Cremonesi, 1976. Print.
    10. Hanks, Hodges, Mills and Room. The Oxford Names Companion. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Print. (ISBN 0-19-860561-7).
    11. ...

    The Clapp Family Crest was acquired from the archives. The Clapp 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 23 October 2015 at 12:57.

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