Stepp / Stapp Coat of Arms

Which One is Right?

There has been a lot of discussion over the years concerning the Stepp/Stapp Coat of Arms. Hopefully this report will clear all the confusion. I can think of no other person who can explain the situation concerning the coat of arms for our family better than the "Anchorman" Bill Stepp of Virginia Beach, Virginia. Bill has been researching our family history for many years now and has quite a knowledge of all things Stepp and Stapp. He has also been a solid 'anchor' on which many of us researchers have leaned on for his advice and knowledge. I will leave it to a letter recently sent to me by the "Anchorman" to explain just which one is right. Because there is a difference in the spelling of Stepp and Stapp, there has been quite a bit of controversy as to which is right for each. To better understand the different spellings and thus the different coats of arms, we must look at the location for each of them.

In William Wayne Stepp's, The Stepp Family Chronicles, the cover of the book lists a coat of arms for the spelling Stepp. This is also the same coat of arms that is being described by the "Anchorman" in his above letter and its origins are stated to be in Flanders, Belgium/Netherlands. But, on page 99 in his book, W. Wayne Stepp shows a separate coat of arms for the Stapp name. What is interesting enough is that both of these coat of arms come from J.B. Rietstap's, Armorial General. Both fall under different spellings and there is a separate set of arms and description for each. The only difference is that there is no spelling of S-T-A-P-P in Rietstap's book. Rather, the coat of arms shown above falls under the spelling S-T-A-P-F and says that the origin of the name/crest was in Bavaria, Austria. Since that is the case, we can only infer that the Stepp Coat of Arms comes from the North-Western European countries of (at one time) Flanders, Belgium, and the Netherlands. On the other hand, the Stapp/Stapf Coat of Arms seems to be located more in the Middle-Southern European lands of Bavaria, Austria, and even Southern Germany. But now this causes a problem because we know that the American Stepp/Stapp families mostly descend from either Abraham or Joshua Stepp/Stapp of Lincolnshire, England, later Virginia. As already pointed out, we do not know if the Lincolnshire/Yorkshire Stapp line originated in Mainland Europe. More information on the origins of Abraham Stapp & James Andrews can be found here. (This report was written and prepared by David-Alan Stapp, 25 August 2005.)


Mapping the Stepp - Stapp Surname in England

Because the Stepp/Stapp name used to be very common in England around the time of our emigrant ancestors, I have created a map which denotes the towns and concentrations where a record was found on a Brit with a similar to Stepp-Stapp.