This Dutch surname of KUIPERS was an occupational name for a maker and repairer of wooden vessels such as barrels, tubs, buckets, casks and vats. The prevalence of the surname and its many variant spellings explains the fact that this was one of the chief specialist trades in the Middle Ages throughout Europe. Some of the variant spellings include CUPPER, COOPE, KUPPER, KUIJPERS and CUYPERS.
A notable member of the name was GERARD PETER KUIPER (1905-73), the Dutch-born American astronomer, born in Harenkarspel. Educated in Leiden, he moved to the USA in 1933. He discovered two new satellites: Miranda, the fifth satellite of Uranus, and Nereid, the second satellite of Nepture. His study of the planetary atmospheres detected carbon dioxide on Mars and methane on Titan, the largest Saturnian satellite. He was involved with the early American space flights, including the Ranger and the Mariner missions. 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.
The associated coat of arms for this name are recorded in J.B Rietstaps Armorial General. Illustrated by V & H.V Rolland's. This monumental work took 23 years to complete and 85,000 coats of Arms are included in this work.
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