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Surname Capelle - Meaning and Origin

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The iGENEA DNA Test: Discovering the Historical Narrative Behind My Surname Capelle

My personal identity and understanding of heritage have been profoundly impacted by my iGENEA DNA test. The discovery that dipped me into the depths of my genetic history also opened my eyes to the immense import of my surname, Capelle. I discovered how the name, while casually used as a label, had a narrative deeply rooted in history, hinting towards my ancestors and the various places and cultures they hailed from. The clarity offered by the DNA results shaped a new perspective around my name and identity.

O. Capelle

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Capelle: What does the surname Capelle mean?

The last name Capelle is a French surname which is derived from the Latin word ‘capella’, meaning ‘little chapel’. In the Middle Ages, when families chose their last names, those who had a chapel or small church of their own would use the word capella in their name, which eventually became Capelle.

In France, the name Capelle was most likely adopted by people who lived in rural areas near chapels, as the main centers of worship during this era were located in towns or cities. It’s possible that the name became linked to a particular location, or even a single family, in this way.

In the present day, the surname Capelle may be a reference to someone of French heritage, or simply an homage to their ancestor’s original humble chapel. It can also be interpreted as meaning ‘sanctuary’ or ‘safe place’, suggesting a place of deep spiritual or emotional security.

In the lay person’s understanding, the name Capelle might be seen as an aspirational homage to history and tradition, representing a hope for stability, safety and a journey of growth and meaningful connection.

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Capelle: Where does the name Capelle come from?

The last name Capelle is a Dutch surname with numerous variations, including Capelle, Kappelle, Kappell, Kappel, and Kapell. The last name is primarily located in mainland Europe and can be found in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, and other nearby countries. It is also found in American, Australian, and New Zealand records following the mass migration of Dutch immigrants in the 19th century.

Within Europe, the name Capelle is most commonly found in southern Netherlands, with the highest concentration in the provinces of North Holland and Utrecht. The Netherlands has a population of 17.2 million, and Netherlands records show that the last name Capelle is quite widespread. Some Dutch border towns in Germany, Belgium, and France also have high frequencies of the name.

In America, the last name Capelle is most commonly found in the states of New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, which has traditionally been home to a large Dutch-American population. Large numbers of Dutch began to migrate to America in the 17th century, many being farmers and laborers which made their way to the agricultural areas of the Midwest and the Mid-Atlantic.

The Capelle surname is less common elsewhere in the world, but it still has a presence in records from Australia and New Zealand, as well as Canada where some migrated across the Atlantic from America.

Overall, the last name Capelle is most strongly rooted in European countries and America, with relatively high concentrations in the Netherlands and Dutch-American communities across the United States.

Variations of the surname Capelle

Capelle is a surname of French origins derived from the Latin word “capella” which means chapel. Its variants, which are pronounced similarly, include "Capelle," "Kapelle," "Kappel," and "Kapel."

The earliest recorded instance of this surname is found from 1151, when Radulphus de Capella was noted as being a witness to a charter issued by the Bishop of Lincoln.

The earliest recordings of the variants spellings are found in France:

• Jean Kapelle was noted as being a witness in the Court Records of Paris in 1330.

• Peter de Capelle was recorded in Germany in 1378.

• Janneken van den Kappele, a native of Bruges, Belgium, was noted in the 1483 tax rolls.

Over time, many different spellings of Capelle have been developed. Among the many other variants are Caplain, Capelli, Kappelia, Caplart, Caplice, Kappelman, Kaplowitz, and Kappilus.

Because of the commonality of this surname throughout many European countries, it also exists in many different forms in languages other than English. These include "de Capella" in Dutch, "Kapel" in German, "La Capelle" in French, and "Kapel" in Scandinavian languages.

The Capelle surname is common throughout many parts of Europe, but is particularly prominent in the Netherlands and Belgium. In France, the variant "La Capelle" is the Ford of the name and is most common in the Ile-de-France region.

Famous people with the name Capelle

  • Justin Capelle: A Dutch actor best known for his role in the TV series Baantjer and for playing Jaap Visser in the film FC De Kampioenen.
  • Henry Capelle: A French aviator, born Jean Henry Capelle, who flew in the first-ever aerial airmail service from Toulouse to Casablanca in December 1930.
  • Philippa Capelle: A former Dutch cyclist who won the gold medal in the 1997 World Championships and placed fourth in the 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games.
  • Gilda Capelle: A Dutch painter known for her abstract works, often featuring a bright and vibrant color palette.
  • Flor Capelle: A former Dutch professional cyclist who was part of the golden era of Dutch cycling in the mid-2000s.
  • Bart Capelle: A contemporary Belgian sculptor whose works can be found in many public and private collections throughout Europe.
  • Leah Capelle: An American singer-songwriter from Los Angeles, California. She is best known for her song “Closer”, which has been featured in the television series Suits.
  • Anaïs Capelle: A French actor who has appeared in theatre productions, films and television shows. She is best known for her work in films such as Lincoln and My Godfather's Shadow.
  • Margot Capelle: A former French long-distance runner who competed in the 1964 and 1968 Summer Olympics, as well as two Olympic trials.
  • Joris Capelle: A Dutch film director and screenwriter, who is best known for his award-winning films Het Paard, De Belofte and Mannen van twijfel.

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