This German surname of KUPKA (also spelt KOPPKE, and KOPP) was derived amazingly from the Hebrew given name Yaakov, via the Latin Jacobus. In the Bible this is the name of the younger twin brother of Esau who took advantage of the lack of hunger and impetuousness to persuade him to part with his birthright 'for a mess of potage'. The name is traditionally interpreted as coming from Hebrew AKEV (heel) and Jacob is said to have been born holding on to Esau's heel. The name has travelled widely and the principal forms of the given name in major European languages are Jacob, Jacques, Giacovo, Giacopo and Iacopo. Throughout Eastern Europe Jewish forms of the name were extremely common, ranging from Yaakov to Jankl. Surnames are divided into four categories, from occupations, nicknames, baptismal and locational. All the main types of these are found in German-speaking areas, and names derived from occupations and from nicknames are particularly common. A number of these are Jewish. Patronymic surnames are derived from vernacular Germanic given names, often honouring Christian saints. Regional and ethnic names are also common. The German preposition 'von (from) or 'of', used with habitation names, is taken as a mark of aristocracy, and usually denoted proprietorship of the village or estate from where they came. Some members of the nobility affected the form VON UND ZU with their titles. A notable member of the name was Herman Franz Moritz KOPP (1817-92) the German chemist. He was Professor of chemistry at Giessen (1843-63) and Heidelberg (1863-90), one of the founders of physical chemistry, and a historian of the subject. In eastern Germany there was a heavy influence both from and on neighbouring Slavonic languages. Many Prussian surnames are of Slavonic origin. The word Heraldry is derived from the German HEER, (a host, an army) and HELD, (champion): the term BLASON, by which the science is denoted in French, English, Italian and German, has most probably its origin in the German word 'BLAZEN' (to blow the horn). Whenever a new knight appeared at a Tournament, the herald sounded the trumpet, and as competitors attended with closed vizors, it was his duty to explain the bearing of the shield or coat-armour belonging to each. Thus, the knowledge of the various devices and symbols was called 'Heraldry'. The Germans transmitted the word to the French, and it reached England after the Norman Conquest of 1066.
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