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Epling Coat of Arms / Epling Family Crest

Epling Coat of Arms / Epling Family Crest

This surname of EPLING was originally derived from the Middle English word APPEL acquired as a surname in any of various senses. It may originally have been used as a topographic name for someone living by a prominent apple tree or apple orchard, a metonymic occupational name for a grower or seller of apples; or a nickname for someone having bright red cheeks, like an apple. The importance in medieval northern Europe of apples, as a fruit which could be grown in a cold climate and would keep for use throughout the winter is hard to appreciate in these days of easy imports. Surnames derived from placenames are divided into two broad categories; topographic names and habitation names. Topographic names are derived from general descriptive references to someone who lived near a physical feature such as an oak tree, a hill, stream or a church. Habitation names are derived from pre-existing names denoting towns, villages and farmsteads. Other classes of local names include those derived from the names of rivers, individual houses with signs on them, regions and whole countries. The name has numerous variant spellings which include APFLER, APFEL, EPPEL, APPLEMAN, EPELMAN and APFELBERG. Over the centuries, most people in Europe have accepted their surname as a fact of life, as irrevocable as an act of God. However much the individual may have liked or disliked the surname, they were stuck with it, and people rarely changed them by personal choice. A more common form of variation was in fact involuntary, when an official change was made, in other words, a clerical error. Among the humbler classes of European society, and especially among illiterate people, individuals were willing to accept the mistakes of officials, clerks and priests as officially bestowing a new version of their surname, just as they had meekly accepted the surname they had been born with. In North America, the linguistic problems confronting immigration officials at Ellis Island in the 19th century were legendary as a prolific source of Anglicization.


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Last Updated: Dec. 1st, 2021

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