What is the origin of the last name Knapp?

The last name Knapp originates from Germany and has medieval roots. Derived from the Middle High German word "knapp," meaning "servant" or "apprentice," it represented someone of a lowly social status, working either as a servant or an apprentice. Over time, the name evolved to encompass various spelling variations, such as Knappe or Knabe, as it spread to different regions. This etymology demonstrates the historical significance of the Knapp surname as it reflects societal structures and occupations of the medieval era.

Countries of origin for the last name Knapp

Knapp is a last name of English origin. It is classified as a topographic or locational surname, indicating that it was originally given to individuals who either lived near a small hill or by a place called “Knapp.” The term “knapp” itself refers to a small hill or hillock, and is derived from the Old English word “cnap,” meaning top or summit. The name Knapp has various spelling variations, including Cnop, Cnoppe, Knop, Knoppe, and Nop.

In addition to its topographic connotations, Knapp may also have occupational origins. In medieval times, it was not uncommon for surnames to be derived from a person’s occupation or trade. It is possible that some individuals with the last name Knapp were involved in occupations related to hill grazing, such as shepherding or tending to animals on grassy slopes.

The surname Knapp has been recorded in England since at least the 13th century, with early examples found in various counties, including Somerset, Norfolk, and Worcestershire. Over time, individuals with the last name Knapp migrated to other English-speaking countries, including the United States.

The Knapp surname has a presence in the United States, particularly in states such as New York, Pennsylvania, and California. The distribution of the surname suggests that individuals with the last name Knapp may have initially settled in these areas during periods of migration and westward expansion.

As with many surnames, the meaning of Knapp may have evolved or shifted over time. While it originally referred to a physical feature or a location, the significance of the name Knapp may have changed as generations passed. Today, it serves as a link to ancestral heritage and familial identity.

Exploring the origin and meaning of surnames like Knapp not only provides insight into personal genealogy, but also offers glimpses into historical and cultural perspectives. The study of last names allows us to understand the intricacies of human migration, language development, and social dynamics, unlocking a door to the rich tapestry of our shared past.

While much is known about the last name Knapp, there are always more avenues to explore and details to uncover. The history and etymology of a name are never truly finalized, leaving room for ongoing research and discoveries to further illuminate the story behind the surname Knapp.

Interesting facts about the last name Knapp

  • The surname Knapp is of German origin.
  • It is derived from the Middle High German word “knapp” which means “servant” or “helper.”
  • Knapp is a variant spelling of the German surname “Knappe.”
  • The surname Knapp is relatively common in Germany and other German-speaking countries.
  • There are different variations of the surname Knapp, including Knoepfle, Knap, and Knappe.
  • Knapp is also a Jewish surname of Ashkenazi origin.
  • During the Middle Ages, a Knapp was a term for a type of servant or laborer who performed various tasks around a household.
  • The surname Knapp can be found in various English-speaking countries, as it migrated through immigration and settlement.
  • Notable individuals with the surname Knapp include American journalist and author Ruth Knapp, American musician Michael Knapp, and German figure skater Gabriele Knapp.
  • The Knapp Family Foundation, based in Colorado, is a private foundation that supports various charitable causes.

Name Rank


There are around 41771 people with the last name Knapp in the US

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