My Hoppes Generations essay Origin of the Hoppes Surname traces our family line and the spelling of our surname from the 1290s to the present day. To me it seems almost 100% certain that our family name was a place name, specifically the manor and castle Habesburc (meaning hawks castle), owned by the family of the counts and kings named Habsburg. Gradually, the family name was shortened to the contraction Habsen (or Hapsen) and then to the one syllable Swiss version of our name Habs or Haps. After Elsbetha (Hoffman) Haps emigrated to the Palatinate in the 1650s with her son and two daughters, the two-syllable version of the name (Happes/Habbes) became predominant. Almost all of the individuals with our surname who lived in or near Winterthur, Switzerland and the Odenwald north of Heidelberg, Germany are members of our family or its branches.
of consonants, H, b/p, and s, in a surname is rather
common, as anyone who has used the Soundex classification H120 knows from looking for our
name in census indices. Even adding an
r before the s when looking for Hoppers results in a
Soundex code H162 that usually contains many entries. Therefore, surnames that have the
same basic structure as Hoppes and Hoppers are relatively common
even though they may have developed from roots entirely different than Habesburc. In Holland, for example, there is a Dutch town
named Haps. Could that have been the
root of the name of some families? How about
the German name for hawk, habicht, later shortened to just habs? Or how about the Swedish word hoppas,
meaning hope? In 1954, a Swiss expert
on families from the Winterthur area, Dr. Hans Klaui, wrote a newspaper article about the
Habs/Haps family and his opinions about possible origins of the name. With regard to the origin of our familys
name, he stated:
The combination of consonants, H, b/p, and s, in a surname is rather common, as anyone who has used the Soundex classification H120 knows from looking for our name in census indices. Even adding an r before the s when looking for Hoppers results in a Soundex code H162 that usually contains many entries. Therefore, surnames that have the same basic structure as Hoppes and Hoppers are relatively common even though they may have developed from roots entirely different than Habesburc. In Holland, for example, there is a Dutch town named Haps. Could that have been the root of the name of some families? How about the German name for hawk, habicht, later shortened to just habs? Or how about the Swedish word hoppas, meaning hope? In 1954, a Swiss expert on families from the Winterthur area, Dr. Hans Klaui, wrote a newspaper article about the Habs/Haps family and his opinions about possible origins of the name. With regard to the origin of our familys name, he stated:
The meaning of the family name Habs has not yet been clarified. According to the Oberbadisches Geschlecterbuch, in 1257 a Conrad known as Habse with the consent of his feudal lords from Wartenburg gave his lands in Grundelbuch (near Stockach) to the Cloister Salem. (Thus) it is possible that the family immigrated from Southern Germany. It is also possible that the name is a so-called sentence word meaning I have it or have it, or it could be the genitive case of the old German name Hab, which in the ninth century was Habo.
Thus, there are a large variety of possible roots for our family name. And, indeed, it does appear that families having a surname identical (or very similar) to ours arose in a number of places in Europe. The Family Search website, for example, contains a wealth of data about individuals with similar surnames. Three files that are especially useful at www.familysearch.org/Eng/Search/frameset_search.asp are the International Genealog- ical Indices for the British Isles, for Continental Europe, and for Germany. In preparing this essay, I looked up a number of different exact spellings of our surname and then counted the number of entries pertaining to individuals other than those known to be from Switzerland or the Odenwald area north of Heidelberg, Germany. The following numbers of entries were found for other individuals having our family name:
LDS EUROPEAN DATA ABOUT OTHER HOPPES, ETC FAMILY LOCALES
FAMILY SEARCH ENTRIES FOR:
SPELLING ENG GER HOL FRA SCA
Hoppas 42 1 0 0 0
Hoppus 72 3 0 0 0
Hoppers 15 95 57 0 0
Hopperus 0 0 20 0 0
Happes 0 2 0 0 0
Habbes 7 248 45 0 0
Habbis 14 0 0 0 0
Haps 13 23 1 10 0
Habs 5 35 0 0 0
Where ENG = England; GER = Germany; HOL = Holland; FRA = France; and SCA = Scandinavia.
From the data summarized above, it is evident that there were a relatively large number of entries from England, especially for the spellings Hoppes, Hoppas, and Hoppus. On April 23, 1978, I wrote to Kinseek Genealogical Researchers in Kent, England inquiring about the English origins of the Hoppes surname and several of its variations. The Director, B. M. Austin replied on May 19, 1978 that our surname was a variant of the English family name Hobhouse. On July 4, 1978, I sent a follow-up letter to Mr. Austin asking for further documentation that Hoppes/Hoppus was a variant of Hobhouse. He cited the Modern Domesday Book (MDB) published in 1873 and, in response to my query about the date of the association of the two surnames, replied that: I could find no other dates given in the book, so conclude the date you require for Hoppus variant of Hobhouse must be 1873.
Although Hoppes/Hoppus may sound quite similar to Hobhouse, I have serious reservations about the alleged connection between the two surnames. The English family Hobhouse, for example, is well known and has enjoyed a prominent position in English society over the last 200 years or so. One of the earliest members of the Hobhouse clan to receive notoriety was Sir Benjamin Hobhouse, a rich brewer, born on March 29,1757 in Wiltshire, England. His great grandfather John Hobhouse, who died in 1711, had been a mariner and wheelwright in Minehead, Somerset, England. Benjamin Hobhouse graduated from Oxford in 1781; became a barrister and politician; married Charlotte Cam of Minehead, Somerset on September 12, 1785; served as a Member of Parliament from 1797-1818; became a baronet in1812; and died on August 15, 1831.
The oldest son of Sir Benjamin and Charlotte (Cam) Hobhouse, John Cam Hobhouse, became even more famous than his father. John Cam Hobhouse was born near Bristol, England on June 27, 1786 where he attended the Unitarian grammar school. He continued his education at Westminster School and then at Cambridge University, where he met and befriended the poet, Lord Byron. After graduating from Cambridge, they toured the Mediterranean lands together, visiting Spain, Malta, Albania, Greece, and Turkey. He was elected to Parliament in 1820, where he rapidly became a leading radical arguing for Parliamentary reform and a variety of liberal causes such as state regulation of factory labor, religious equality, non-denominational education, and the economic advancement of the working classes. In the early 1830s, he abandoned his radical friends and joined the newly empowered Whig Party, holding a variety of prestigious positions such as Secretary of War (1832-1833), Chief Secretary for Ireland (1833-1834), and President of the Board of Control for India from 1835 to 1841 and again from 1846 to 1852. Sir John Cam Hobhouse was granted the title Lord Broughton just before he retired from politics in 1852. He died in 1869 and is buried Kensal Green Cemetery, London.
Sir John Cam Hobhouse
Another reason for doubting that the surname Hoppes/Hoppus is a variant of Hobhouse is that a number of the Hoppes/Hoppas/Hoppus entries summarized in the LDS Family Search data above are for far earlier dates than the earliest Hobhouse, John, who died in 1711. Seven different individuals named Hoppes were born prior to 1600. Similarly, eight of the Hoppas individuals were born before 1600. On the other hand, none of the Hoppus entries predated 1600.
There also were a surprising number of Hoppes, etc. entries in the LDS database from Holland. Apparently versions of our family name appeared rather early in Holland and among several prominent individuals. Perhaps the best-known individual was the Dutch lawyer Joachim Hoppers/Hopperus. He was born in Sneek, Holland on November 11, 1523 and died in Madrid, Spain on December 15, 1576. He studied law and became a teacher at the University of Leuven, Belgium; was elected to the large council of Mechelen-Brussels in 1554; was responsible for organizing the University of Douai, some 20 miles south of Lille, Belgium; and became a counselor to Philip II of Spain. Hoppers wrote historically important memorials on religious disputes in Holland and several legal commentaries. He also prepared the first historical map of the Netherlands. His family coat of arms is shown below:
Joachim Hopperus (Hoppers), born in Sneek, Holland in 1523; died in Madrid, Spain in 1576. Coat of Arms: In blue, a pelican with silver hair sitting on a golden nest.
As expected, the largest number of references to our surname in the LDS Family Search databases occurred for Germany. Even after entries for our family members in the Heidelberg area were excluded, for example, there still were 248 entries for the spelling, Habbes.
While Riki and I still were residing in Germany, we tried to learn more about individuals with our surname who had lived in the local area prior to the 1650s when Elsbeth Haps and her three children arrived from Switzerland. From our contact at the State Archives in Karlsruhe, for example, we learned about a Jacob Happes who was mentioned as a resident of Callstadt on a list of family names made for the Princes of Leiningen in 1608 (Reference: Badische Generallandesarchiv Karlsruhe Bibl. Za: 588, Pfaelzische Heimatblaetter 1960, Jahrgung 8, Pages 51-53). In early July, 1971, we visited the Archives of the Princes of Leiningen in Amorbach, Odenwald to determine whether the staff had any additional references to this Jacob Happes. Unfortunately, they did not, but subsequently we were able to obtain a copy of the original 1608 document.
Former Residence of the Princes of Leiningen in Amorbach, Odenwald
Most of the German surnames on the LDS Family Search list came from northern Germany, usually near Hannover in the present State of Lower Saxony or around Leunen in the State of Westphalia. The following entries are among the earliest for these areas of Germany:
¨ Anna HABBES: F
Baptism: 3 JUL 1622, Dorsten, Westphalia
¨ Anna HAPPERS: F Baptism: 3 DEC 1609, Hannover Bothfeld, Hannover
¨ Anna HOPPERS: F Marriage: 25 SEP 1580, Neuhaus, Hannover
¨ Anna HOPPERS: F Birth: About 1553, Neuenhaus, Hannover
¨ Anna HOPPERS: F Birth: About 1559, Neuenhaus, Westphalia
¨ Clara HABBES: F Marriage: 18 AUG 1623, Kamen, Westphalia
¨ Clara Elsabeth HABBES: F Baptism: 23 JUL 1697, Altenboegg-Boenen, Westphalia
¨ Conrad HABBES: M Baptism: 15 SEP 1695, Luenen, Westphalia
¨ Diedrich Caspar HABBES: M Birth: 8 SEP 1698, Luenen Westphalia
¨ Elsabeth HABBES: F Baptism: 22 NOV 1696, Luenen, Westphalia
¨ Goerd HABBES: M Marriage: 31 AUG 1698, Altenboegg-Boenen, Westphalia
¨ Hans HAPPERS: M Baptism: 27 SEP 1611, Hannover Bothfeld, Hannover
¨ Henni HAPPERS: M Marriage: 23 PRr 1615, Hannover Bothfeld, Hannover
¨ Heinrich HABBES: M Birth: 25 MAR 1694, Luenen, Westphalia
¨ Judocus HABBES: M Baptism: 19 MAR 1628, Dorsten, Westphalia
¨ Johann HABBES: M Marriage: 6 FEB 1690, Luenen, Westphalia
¨ Johann HABBES: M Birth: 1693, Luenen, Westphalia
¨ Johann HABBES: M Birth: About 1665, Luenen, Westphalia
¨ Johan Wilhelm HAPPES: M Baptism: 11 JAN 1615, Meisenheim, Rheinland
The location of Luenen in relation to Hannover and to other German cities is shown below:
From a pamphlet titled German Farmer Leaders: Habbes, which I copied in the Heidelberg University Library, I became aware that there was a thriving Habbes family in Westphalia. Riki and I never pursued this discovery while we were living in Germany for three basic reasons: (1) it was clear this line was well-documented and unrelated to the Happes family that had emigrated from Switzerland in the 1560s; (2) the archives in Westphalia were too distant from Heidelberg to visit regularly/conveniently with our large family; and (3) the pamphlet was published in the late 1930s when it was important under the Nazi regime to glorify farm life and to demonstrate Aryan ancestry. The publication traced the north German line to the 1600s and claimed that the surname Habbes was derived from the Old German word, Haips, meaning a struggle. This appeared to me to be a politically correct statement, rather than one based on solid research. Naturally, no proof for the assertion was provided in the publication.
In addition to the
entries in the LDS Family Search database for Germany, several occurred for inhabitants of
¨ Barbel HAPS: F Marriage: 10 January 1786, Filstroff,
¨ Bernard HOPPES: M Marriage: 4 November 1776, Longwy, Meurthe-Et-Moselle, France
¨ Elizabeth HAPS: F Birth: 30 September 1806, Filstroff, Moselle, France
¨ Etienne HAPS: M Birth: 28 November 1808, Filstroff, Moselle, France
¨ Francois HAPS: M Birth: 23 April 1761, Filstroff, Moselle, France
¨ Francois HAPS: M Birth: July 1807, Filstroff, Moselle, France
¨ Jean HAPS: M Birth: 8 April 1733, Beckerholz, Filstroff, Moselle, France
¨ Jean HAPS: M Birth: 29 October 1762, Filstroff, Moselle, France
¨ Nicolas HAPS: M Birth: 31 May 1774, Filstroff, Moselle, France
¨ Nicolas HAPS: M Birth: 17 May 1805, Filstroff, Moselle, France
¨ Paul HAPS: M Marriage: 16 January 1731, Filstroff, Moselle, France
More will be written about Hoppes residents of France in the forthcoming essays: Other Hoppes Immigrants and The Michigan Hoppes Family.