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About the study
In 1970 whilst researching local history I discovered my wife`s 19th century ancestors, the Choppens of Hadleigh, Essex. Difficulty locating her great x 4 grandparents led to a considerable broadening of my investigation. My interest in all Choppen/in/ings developed into a world wide one-name study which was eventually registered in 1996
Having begun my research well before PCs some of my data is still on paper.
Registered variants are Choppin and Chopping.
Prior to the mid 19th century the spelling of the name was often of no significance. The key events in the lives of some individuals show all three spellings: `en`, `in` and `ing`.
I have also had correspondence with a family historian who collects Coppen, Coppin and Copping. Although one might expect that accidental confusion may have occurred in records, so far I have only experienced two such problems.
History of the name
In the Stebbing/Dunmow area of Essex many of the Choppens were among the earliest Quakers. The Quaker Dictionary of Biography remembers a Lucy Wait or Wyatt who left Worcestershire and after much travelling married John Chopping of Stebbing in about 1675. She was much admired for visiting jails to do service for imprisoned Friends, mending their clothing and comforting their families. It seems that most of the Choppens had left the Society of Friends by about 1770.
At the other end of the religious spectrum but equally derided and suffering were the 18th century Choppings of Staffordshire and later Birmingham who were Roman Catholics. They all descended from a John and Mary Chopping who married in 1756.
The majority of Choppens encountered in my researches were apparently run of the mill C. of E. but the historical, economic and personal significance of the two Choppen groups, Friends and Roman Catholics, has yet to be investigated.
The 1881 Census for England and Wales reveals a total of 22 Choppens, 79 Choppins and 281 Choppings.
The ONS Database (2002) records 153 Choppens, 120 Choppins and 488 Choppings
Distribution of the name
In the 1881 census all Choppens were living in either Essex or Surrey. 90% of the Choppins and 85% of the Choppings were to be found in the home counties. By this time a number of Choppens/ins/ings had left England and Wales for Australia and the U.S.A. but I have not been able to arrive at accurate totals for these emigrants.
44% of Choppens/ins/ings were living in Essex in 1881
It would seem that Essex, back to at least the 15th century, had been a county where Choppens thrived. Central Essex was particularly popular with the family in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.
Amongst my data are: all Choppen/in/ing entries from the GRO Indexes for England and Wales from 1837 to 1970 (4,300+ entries); probate indexes including all PCC 1536 to date, all Essex from 1481 and some others (work in progress); parish register entries including many hundreds for Essex and an array of extracts from other sources both home and abroad.
Over the last thirty years I have acquired volumes of correspondence in which many enquirers have passed on pedigrees, information, family stories and snippets of family trees.
I am always happy to share my data and to receive new information.