30 Jun


Judy Wills

Have you ever thought about your family name? Where did it come from?  Has it been changed or “revised” through the ages?

My family name has done just that.  One of my father’s siblings did a genealogy research some years ago, and found the name of our original immigrant from Germany in the 1700’s.  The original name was Leitzinger.  I have so much regret that I wasn’t that interested in genealogy while we spent those six years in Germany to do any searching on my own.  Time wasted.

In any case, Leitzinger was changed to Leitsey, and eventually down to Lites, which is my maiden name…as well as my brother’s name.  I kind of like it – it is unusual, and there are many, many relatives throughout the United States.

But that brings me back to my topic – Cooper. Did you know that, back in the Middle Ages (and probably before), people were named for their occupation?

The blacksmith in the village was called “Smith.” 

Credit to Pixabay and Image by jacqueline macou

The baker was called “Baker.”

Credit to Pixabay and Image by jacqueline macou

The one who fashioned crockery was the “Potter.”

Credit to Pixabay and Image by cstibi

The one who worked with stone was the “Mason.”

Credit to Pixabay and Image by Henryk Niestrój

The one who made your clothing was the “Tailor.”

Credit to Pixabay and Image by Erik Lyngsøe

The one who made rugs and tapestry was the “Weaver.”

Credit to Pixabay and Image by Sabine van Erp

 And so on. However, the one I want to talk about today is the Cooper.  

Credit to Pixabay and Image by kaufcom

According to Google search and ThoughtCo. – The surname Cooper is an English occupational name for one who made and sold casks, buckets and tubs. The name derives from the Middle English couper, cowper, adapted from Middle Dutch kuper, a derivative of kup, meaning “tub” or “container.” Cooper may also be an Anglicized version of a similar sounding surname such as the Dutch Kuiper, or the Jewish Kupfer or Kupper.

What brought this to mind, was that I learned about “cooper” while we visited Colonial Williamsburg many years ago.  Since then, I have seen several restaurants named “Cooper” or Cooper’s” – and the symbol on the restaurant sign is a barrel.  I mentioned that to my mother once, while I was visiting her in Albuquerque. We saw a sign for “The Cooperage ” and it had the barrel on it.  She had no idea. 

Credit Google Search and the cooperage website

 Even Cracker Barrel uses the barrel in their sign:

And so, even today, when I see the name “Cooper” I visualize a barrel.   I just found that to be interesting.  Perhaps not to you, but it is to me.

Credit to Pixabay and  Image by Herm

The large cask in the Heidelberg Castle – large enough to have a dance floor on top. Fred says he has walked on top, and his parents danced on it.

Credit to Pixabay andImage by K. H. J. / MCI.

Old postcard drawing.  It holds 221,726 liters of wine.

The large cask in the Heidelberg Castle – large enough to have a dance floor on top.

Think about your surname – see if you can find where it came from – and where your ancestors are from.  Interesting stuff.

Judy is living in Central Florida with her retired U.S. Air Force husband of 50+ years. Born in Dallas, Texas, she grew up in the Southwestern United States.She met her husband at their church, where he was attending the university in her town. After college and seminary, he entered the Air Force, and their adventures began.They lived in eight of our United States, and spent six years in Europe, where their oldest daughter was born. She was a stay-at-home mom for many years .

  Judy has always been involved with music, both playing the piano and singing. Always interested in exercise, she was an aerobic dancing instructor, as well as a piano teacher for many years, and continues to faithfully exercise at home.

After moving to Central Florida, she served as a church secretary for nearly nine years.Her main hobby at this point in time is scanning pictures and 35mm slides into the computer. She also enjoys scrapbooking.She and her husband have two married daughters and four grandchildren, including grandtwins as well as a great-grandson. She and her husband enjoy the Disney parks as often as possible.

6 Responses to “Cooper”

  1. Billie HAYES July 1, 2019 at 2:33 am #

    Ludyja, I loved this. What might Needham mean? Need some ham? I do recall a Junior High friend who insisted on calling me Needbacon. That was not YOU, however. Love ya.


    • ludyja July 1, 2019 at 7:20 am #

      No, I definitely did NOT call you Needbacon! ha Do you remember they used to call me Lightbulb? Love ya back.


  2. Karen Clements June 30, 2019 at 3:02 pm #

    Apparently Mark Twain was disappointed that the large wine cask was empty! From Wikipedia:
    Everybody has heard of the great Heidelberg Tun, and most people have seen it, no doubt. It is a wine-cask as big as a cottage, and some traditions say it holds eighteen thousand bottles, and other traditions say it holds eighteen hundred million barrels. I think it likely that one of these statements is a mistake, and the other is a lie. However, the mere matter of capacity is a thing of no sort of consequence, since the cask is empty, and indeed has always been empty, history says. An empty cask the size of a cathedral could excite but little emotion in me.

    — Mark Twain, A Tramp Abroad, 1880


    • ludyja July 1, 2019 at 7:21 am #

      I really love this! I didn’t think to look for Mark Twain/Samuel Clemens and his thoughts on the matter. That is so neat! Thanks, Sweetie!


  3. divoran09 June 30, 2019 at 2:57 pm #

    very interesting Cooper is one of my ancestral names. I have a bunch of vintage pictures of Coopers. One of them looks like my brother David.


    • ludyja July 1, 2019 at 7:22 am #

      I didn’t know that you had a Cooper in your family! So you had a barrel maker in your history. Interesting. And quite interesting that one of them looks like David. I always thought David looked like your dad. Love ya.


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