What is the origin of the last name Kaplan?

The surname Kaplan has its origin in Eastern Europe, particularly in Jewish ancestry. It is derived from the Hebrew word "Kohen," meaning priest, and refers to a descendant of the priestly class in ancient Israel. Over time, the name evolved and took on different spellings and pronunciations as Jewish communities migrated to different parts of the world. Today, Kaplan is a common Jewish surname found primarily among individuals with Ashkenazi Jewish heritage.

Countries of origin for the last name Kaplan

Kaplan is a surname of Polish and Jewish origin. It is derived from the word “kaplan,” which means “chaplain” in Polish. The name was commonly used to denote a spiritual leader or a religious functionary within the Jewish community.

The surname Kaplan can be traced back to the Middle Ages in Eastern Europe, particularly in Poland. During this time, Jewish communities were thriving and developing their own distinct identities. The role of the kaplan was significant, as they were responsible for providing religious services, including leading prayers and delivering sermons. The name Kaplan often indicated a family’s connection to the religious life of the community.

As a Jewish surname, Kaplan has a rich history and is associated with prominent figures in Jewish culture and society. Many individuals bearing this surname have played integral roles in various fields, including academia, politics, and the arts.

One of the notable figures with the surname Kaplan is Mordechai Kaplan (1881-1983), a rabbi, philosopher, and founder of the movement known as Reconstructionist Judaism. His ideas and teachings have had a lasting impact on modern Jewish thought and practice.

In addition to its significance within Jewish culture, the surname Kaplan has also spread beyond its origins and has become more common among non-Jewish individuals, particularly in the United States. This can be attributed to the widespread immigration of Jewish individuals to the U.S. in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, as well as intermarriage between Jewish and non-Jewish individuals.

Today, the surname Kaplan is found among diverse communities and individuals of different backgrounds. It has become a part of the multicultural fabric of society, while still carrying with it the historical and cultural associations of its Jewish origins.

Exploring the meaning of the last name Kaplan reveals a story of religious identity, cultural heritage, and the interplay between different communities. It reflects the historical role of spiritual leaders within Jewish society and their lasting impact. The surname Kaplan symbolizes the complexities of genealogy and the connections individuals have to their ancestral roots. It is a testament to the diverse and interconnected nature of human history.

Interesting facts about the last name Kaplan

  • The surname Kaplan is of Ashkenazi Jewish origin.
  • The name Kaplan is derived from the Hebrew word “kappel” meaning “chaplain” or “minister.”
  • Kaplan is a common Jewish surname, particularly among Jews of Polish and Lithuanian descent.
  • During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, many Jews with the surname Kaplan emigrated from Eastern Europe, particularly from the Russian Empire, to escape persecution and seek better opportunities.
  • The surname Kaplan is often associated with the occupation of a rabbi, which reflects the historical role of Jewish religious leaders in the community.
  • There are numerous variations and alternative spellings of the surname Kaplan, including Kaplin, Koplin, Kaplen, Kaplanov, and Kaplun.
  • Notable individuals with the surname Kaplan include mathematician Robert Kaplan, journalist Lawrence Kaplan, and historian Jacob Kaplan.
  • The surname Kaplan has deep roots in Jewish history and is traditionally associated with Torah scholarship and leadership within the Jewish community.
  • The name Kaplan can also be found among non-Jewish communities, particularly in countries such as Turkey, Greece, and Romania, where Jewish communities have historically lived.
  • Several books and scholarly articles have been published exploring the origins and significance of the surname Kaplan within Jewish genealogy and history.

Name Rank


There are around 29582 people with the last name Kaplan in the US

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