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. Therefore, 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 as to each of them came.
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,
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
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 & Joshua Stapp can be
This report was written and
25 August 2005.