Surname Capen - Meaning and Origin
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Capen: What does the surname Capen mean?
The last name Capen is of English origin and indicates the family's ancestral history in the country of England. It is derived from a Middle English word that means "headland," suggesting the family's original home was a piece of land on a coast or cliff. Interestingly, the last name is closely related to the place-name "Cappane" in Devon, England.
The first records of the name are found in the Oxford University Alumni List from 1581, which features an entry for John Capen. Since then, there are numerous notable figures who have held the Capen name, including United States Ambassador George Capen Adams and Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Lemuel Shaw Capen.
Throughout history, the Capen name has come to stand for people of high esteem and stature. This is evidenced by the family's ongoing representation within the fields of politics, law, and business in the United States, England, and beyond.
Overall, the last name Capen stands for a distinguished family of strong and capable people. Even though its origins simply lay in a coastal plot of land in Devonshire, its descendants have achieved great success in a multitude of sectors and regions, a testament to their lasting legacy.
Capen: Where does the name Capen come from?
The last name Capen is most common in the United States. According to the Social Security Administration, it was the 7,673 most popular surname in the year 2018. It is also found in Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, and New Zealand.
In the United States, the last name Capen is most prevalent in the northeastern region. Massachusetts has the highest number of people with the last name in the entire country, likely due to early settlers of the region bearing this name. More specifically, the cities of Boston, Cambridge, Lynn, and Lowell have the highest concentration of individuals with the last name Capen.
The surname Capen has several possible origins. It evolved from several Middle English and Old Norse surnames, likely due to the impact of those languages on the Northeast region of the United States. Early settlers of the area likely adopted traditional Norse or English surnames to demonstrate their heritage. In addition, those bearing the last name may have origins in the French and Latin languages, as similar forms of the name appear in those languages as well.
Today, the Capen name is found throughout the United States, along with other English-speaking countries. As more individuals settle in the northeastern region of the United States, the concentration of individuals with the surname is likely to increase. It is also possible the name could spread even farther, as individuals bearing the surname may immigrate to other countries.
Variations of the surname Capen
The surname Capen has several variants, spellings, and surnames of the same origin. These include Capon, Capin, Cappen, Caplin, and Capin.
The spelling Capen originated in England and is thought to come from the Old English word "ceapen" which means "merchant". This could suggest that the Capen surname was originally held by merchants.
The variant Capon is thought to be of English origin, with the name coming from the Old English word ‘capeoden’ which means ‘merchant’. The vowel in the name has dropped and the spelling has changed in some cases, with the ‘e’ becoming an ‘o’.
The variant Capin is thought to be an Americanized version of the surname of English origin Capen. In America, Capin was the most popular spelling throughout the 20th century.
The variant Caplin is an alternate spelling of Capen. The name Caplin is thought to have begun life as an Ashkenazic Jewish surname derived from the Middle High German word ‘kapelan’, which described a prayer leader.
Finally, the variant Capin is thought to be an Americanized version of Capen. The vowel dropped with the Capen to Capin variation as people began to settle in America and change the spelling of their names.
Overall, Capen is a surname with several variants, spellings, and other surnames of the same origin. Such variants include Capon, Capin, Cappen, Caplin, and Capin. These surnames are of English, American, and Ashkenazic Jewish origin.
Famous people with the name Capen
- Thomas Capen, actor best known for his roles in television and feature films including "The Social Network," "Apollo 13," and "Mad Men."
- Zachary Capen, professional lacrosse player and member of the National Lacrosse League's Buffalo Bandits.
- David Capen, professor of music composition and director of wind studies at the Eastman School of Music.
- Allen Capen, American Christian artist and music producer.
- Arthur Capen, banker and former president of the Boston Stock Exchange.
- John Capen, first captain of the historic ship "Mayflower."
- Charles Capen, American architect and designer of the Hollywood Bowl.
- Apphia Capen, Pioneer women’s rights author and suffragist.
- Kenneth Capen, American lawyer and politician from Massachusetts.
- Martha Capen, American horticulturalist best known for her work in the field of agricultural research and education.