The Loop Family in America

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CHAPTER 1 -- The Origins of the Name

The Loop's in America are largely of German extraction. In fact, the main branches of the family in America, as we shall see, are most of them descended from one German ancestor, Anthony Lüpp of Bach in the parish of Bad Marienberg in the Hesse-Nassau region of Germany, who was born in the late 1500's and died before 1646. Though later Loop arrivals were from Belgium or Switzerland or other parts of Germany, those branches do not represent a significant percentage of American Loop's and may themselves all have earlier German origins. It is possible, of course, that the name Lupp originated in some other country prior to the 1500's.

There are several different theories as to the origin of the name itself. A book on German names gives the following derivation:

Lupp, Luppertz, Lüppertz, Luppker, Lüppen all from Luppe (Middle High German) which means ointment, remedy. Examples: Mertein Lupp, 1462 and A. Lupper, 1392 in Bavaria.

Robert Lupp, in his "The Lupp Family, A Report on Work-in-Progress", 1971, provides the following reference:

In "Deutsche Namenkunde", Max Gottschald gives the derivation of the name Lupp. On page 413, under the entry "Lupp-,Lüpp-" he refers the reader to "Leute" (people) and "Ljub." On page 404 he says that Leute is derived from the old-high German and middle-high-German "liut" (modern German "Volk", people), related to the anglosaxon "leod" (modern German "Mann", "Fürst", man, prince), and the old-high German "liotan" (modern German, "wachsen", to grow or increase). These are related to Lieb, Lut, and the Slavic Ljud. "Ljud" in modern Russian means people or folk. A number of names were formed from the old and middle-high German "liut". Among them was "Liutbrand". Several of the shortforms of this name are "Luppo; Lupp (e); Lub/be, ke; Lüpp/e (s), ken; Lüp, Lüp/kes..."

By this notation I believe the author means the names: Luppo, Lupp, Luppe, Lubbe, Lubke, Lüppe, Lüppes, Lüppken, Lüp, Lüpkes...

There are also examples of the name "Luppes" as a patronymic. In the Netherlands we find the christening of Willem Luppes the son of Luppe Clasens. We must assume that Luppe Clasens' father's first name was Claus. So it is also possible that Lupp was originally a given name.

Of some possible significance to the origin of the Lupp name is the following story, here translated, which originally appeared in 1890 in the "Heimatkundliches Lesebuch fur Mansfeldische Schulen" (i.e., The Local Regional Historical Reading Book of the Mansfeld Schools). The Mansfeld region is approximately 250 km east of Bad Marienberg in Saxony just west of Leipzig. This area was partially settled by Slavs. Note the Slavic and German meaning of the name as "people" or "folk" and recall that many folk legends concern ancient races or ancient folk that inhabit the land in one form or another. Also, pagan sacrifices were commonly made to ensure the fertility of the land, and note the old-high German meaning of the name as "increase or grow." We now read the story of:

The Honoring of the Good Lupp at Schochwitz

The area around here seems to be the seat of a very strict pagan idolatry so that the traces of this have reached far beyond even into the Christian times. In Schochwitz hardly an hour away from the cloister at Hedersleben, there was a pagan culture which honored Saint Luppe, or the good Luppen. Even into the 15th century it remained untouched and withstood change through all the storms of time. The bishop Gebhard of Halberstadt in whose diocese Schochwitz was located was told about the existence of this idolatry because he didn't think it worth his while to go look for himself. His pious heart was angry about this loathsome custom and in his sacred religious zealotry he ordered two counts Gunther and Gebhard von Mansfeld in 1462 (this paper is still in existence) to get rid of this annoyance. The annoyance consisted of the fact that the simple people were sacrificing the bones of dead animals to a certain dead person who was called the Good Luppen. The bishop promised many indulgences, money, and blessings and the grace of God and all the saints. In coloquial speech in this area the memory of the good Luppen has not been extinguished. The hill on which this person was honored is still called today the Luppberg, or the Lupp mountain, the little forest on top is still called the Lupp forest, and the water that goes through the valley runs by the Lupp mill. The folk legend is still familiar with the place where once upon a time this idol stood. Next to the sacred grove there is a sacrificial place where immeasurable masses of animal bones were piled up to form a big bone mountain. It was just this bone pile that caused the anger of the Bishop of Halberstadt, but the indulgences and the forgiveness of sin which he promised did not remove the bone mountain. It remained into our century, and it wasn't until it was discovered that bones make an excellent fertilizer for the land that the hill was removed. Thousands of cartloads were taken away without any indulgences and any forgiveness of sins. Now the 1000 year old grove of bones has been cleaned up and has become farmland. But the legend of the Good Luppen has not yet been entirely lost. The old idol was saved from its old sacred grove and was put into a Christian church. In the wall of the church at Mullerdorf there is an old sandstone of about 2 meters height with curious pictures that are very unusual. The people believe that this is the idol, the Lupp stone that came from the Lupp mountain.

The many spellings of the name that appear in American records, e.g., Lupe, Loep, Loup, Lup, Luyb,... are mostly just cases of clerical misspelling. Most families ended up with one of the spellings "Loop", "Lupp", or "Leupp". The umlat was dropped from the "u" in the spelling "Lupp" (note that the umlat does not consistently appear even in the German records). It is unclear why so many families settled on the spelling "Loop", while relatively few have kept the original spelling "Lupp". The "Loop" spelling perhaps became preferred because the "Lupp" spelling would be too easily mispronounced as having a short "u" (in fact at least one branch of Lupp's now uses the short "u" pronunciation). Some families that kept the "Lupp" spelling in America for half a century or more, still later changed over to the "Loop" spelling. The etymology of the spelling "Leupp" is a very interesting story. The following passage is from the "History of New Brunswick, New Jersey", p. 262:

The name "Lupp", by the way, becoming "Leupp" in later days, is thus explained (as to the change) by the late John H. Leupp, Esq., in a letter to the author as follows: "The family originally came from Nieuweid on the Rhine. When my uncle Charles M., of New York, was visiting that place about 1840 he saw on the old gravestones the name spelled Lupp, and thought the dots over the u indicated e and, that the spelling should not be lost entirely, incorporated the e in the name, and the other members of the family agreeing, the spelling was changed to the prevailing mode."

John H. Leupp and Charles M. Leupp were both descendants of Gerlach Lupp of New Jersey. Charles M. Leupp could well afford to travel in Europe. He was a millionaire. All his six brothers and sisters followed his example and changed their names to Leupp. Interestingly, one line of the New York Loop's, a little later, also changed their names to Leupp. This was the family of Francis Ellington Leupp, a great-grandson of Capt. Peter Loop. He was very interested in the family history, and though he may not have known Charles M. Leupp, who committed suicide when Francis was only 10, he probably met other members of the New Jersey Leupp family. It is probably Francis E. Leupp who decided, mistakenly, that his great-grandfather Capt. Peter Loop was a grandson of Gerlach Lupp, a very persistent misconception. He also decided that his cousin had been right about the spelling of the name, so his family adopted the spelling "Leupp" as well.

There are some interesting Loop practices to note regarding given names. Between about 1750 and 1850, it was common among the Loop's (perhaps among ethnic German families in general) for men to adopt their father's first initial as their own middle initial. This middle initial was not part of their name at christening. So, for example, Peter Loop, Jr.'s son Peter was known as Peter P. Loop, and Christian Loop's son Peter was known as Peter C. Loop. This practice died out as it became standard to provide a child with a full middle name. Then many Loop's adopted the practice of having a son switch first and middle names with the father. So Lewis Franklin Loop had son Franklin Lewis Loop. To add to the confusion, many Loop's switched their own first and middle names around. There is one family where almost every single sibling did this at one time or another during their lives so that both name orderings would appear on different records.

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Copyright © 1994-2012 Victor L. Bennison