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About the study

This study aims to investigate all instances of the surname Rippin.

The study originated in my own family history and genealogy research, which included my maternal grandfather's surname, Rippin. I had often wondered about the origins of my Rippin ancestry - and how and why Rippins came to be Rippins rather than the more commonly found Rippons. Because the surname seemed to be relatively rare (compared to my own maiden and married surnames - Graham and Barnes) I began to compile a list of Rippin birth, marriage and death records, wondering what proportion of these other Rippins were directly related to my mum's family, especially since I found many in the vicinity of my grandfather's birth town of Colsterworth in Lincolnshire, England. This spreadsheet became the foundation for my One-Name Study.

I came across the Guild of One-Name Studies by chance during my personal family history research. Since I had already begun to study the Rippin surname, it made sense to join, register my surname and call my research a One-Name Study!

Variant names

There are numerous variant spellings of the surname Rippin:

Rippon, Rippen, Reppin, Ripon, Rypin and Rypon to name a few.

I have also come across many deviant spellings (mis-spellings or mis-transcriptions) including Riffin, Pippin and Kippen.

The study is currently focused on the Rippin spelling, but covering other spellings when they have been used by particular branches of a family. I envisage eventually including the main variants of Rippon and Rippen, as time permits, but am happy to take enquiries on these variants and will do what I can to help you with your research.

Name origin

As far as I have been able to ascertain, the surnames Rippin, Rippon, Rippen and other spellings originate in the English city of Ripon in Yorkshire. According to the website Yorkshire, the name of the city is Anglo-Saxon in origin and 'Records of the name Ripon include Hrypis and Hripis in 715 AD, Inhrypam in 730, Onripum in 890, Rypum in 1030 and Ripun in the Domesday Book of 1089. Ripon, may have been a place of importance before the building of the first monastery which predates the present cathedral and was perhaps a central meeting place for the Hrype tribe, from which it takes its name.

The origin of this Anglo-Saxon tribal name and its exact tribal boundaries are unknown, but in later Medieval times much of the surrounding district was called Riponshire and it it may have encompassed these lands. It has however been suggested that the tribal area may have covered Yorkshire and the East Midlands though this would seem to stretch the imagination a little. Nearby Ripley almost certainly means the woodland of the Hyrppes and a place called Ribston may have been a boundary stone. Repton in Derbyshire derives from 'Hyrpa dun' that is thought to mean the hill of the Hyrpe tribe, providing possible evidence for settlement further afield but perhaps there was another tribe of the same name.'

However, I have come across a number of Rippin indivuals originating in the then Prussia and Bavaria, both in US censuses and in German records. There is a town called Rypin in modern day Poland, for which the German name is Rippin. It is the capital and only town in a county of the same name. This region would have been part of the Kingdom of Prussian in the 19th century. It is possible that the Rippins from Prussia and neighbouring regions would have originated from the town or county of Rypin. could it even be that the Hrype tribe themselves originated in this area? More research is necessary. Please do check back occasionally for updates.

Historical occurrences of the name

As I said above, it is thought that the surname Rippin and other variants originate with the town of Ripon in Yorkshire, England - or perhaps with the tribe upon which that town's name is thought to be based.

In my personal genealogy, the earliest Rippin ancestor I have yet been able to trace is one John Rippin who was probably born circa 1636 in the little village of Garthorpe, Leicestershire, which lies about midway between Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire and Colsterworth, Lincolnshire (where my grandfather was born in 1902). John Rippin was married in Melton Mowbray on 22 Dec 1657 to Margaret Ingleton and most of the Lincolnshire Rippins of the 19th and 20th centuries I have found appear to be descended from them.

There was also a Thomas Rippin who was also born in Garthorpe, circa 1645, who appears to the ancestor of most of the later Rippins found in Leicestershire. It is possible, and perhaps probable, since Garthorpe was and remains a tiny village or hamlet, that John and Thomas were closely related - perhaps even brothers - though as yet I have found no evidence to prove this connection.

In terms of fame or historical significance, my own ancestors were largely employed in agriculture and related occupations, living 'ordinary' lives without wealth or power. It is not a name I can associate with great lords, professionals or artists (the most recent generations excepted of course!) but in terms of social history, it is of as much significance as any other.

Name frequency

A search for people with the surname Rippin in the UK censuses on Ancestry gives the following:

1851: 355
1881: 475
1911: 473

A similar search, also on Ancestry, of US Federal censuses gives the following:

1860: 18
1880: 51
1910: 201

It is of course necessary to allow for incorrect transcriptions and enumerator errors, as well as for user-added information (for example a married woman's maiden name added as an update). However, these figures can give some estimation of the relatively low frequency of the name.

At present, I have no figures for the frequency of the name in other countries such as New Zealand, Luxembourg and Germany.

Distribution of the name

The distribution of Rippins in the UK in 19th century census data is quite localised. The largest number of Rippins in this period were in the East Midlands of England - in and around the towns of Grantham and Stamford in Lincolnshire, Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire, Peterborough and Rutlandshire. There were also smaller concentrations in Devon and Cornwall and of course in London.

On the global scale, according to the Worldnames website, the countries with the most Rippins per million are (in order) UK, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Germany and Canada.


I have collated Rippin data from the GRO Births, Marriages and Deaths Indexes into a spreadsheet, which now also includes other data from parish, probate, census and other records. Some of this data is also contained in a family tree on called Rippin ONS and which is available to view by invitation. Please let me know if you would like such an invitation.

I also now have a Rippin One-Name Study Facebook page, which you can visit here

Please be aware that the Ancestry tree is currently biassed more toward Rippins in my own family tree and those originating from Lincolnshire and Leicestershire. This will gradually change as I am able to piece together more information about other Rippin genealogies and transfer it to the tree. And this does not mean I have no information about other Rippin genealogies. There is still plenty of information I can share or help you to find.

All enquiries concerning my study are welcome, and information is always gratefully received. I will always attempt to respond to contacts within 2 or 3 days, if I am at home, and will help as far as I can. If I am unable to be of much help immediately, please do pass on as much information as you can, so that I am able to pursue the research - and perhaps I'll be able to come up with something else, given more time.


There is currently no DNA project, as far as I am aware, for the surname Rippin, and I do not envisage starting one. However, if you know of such a project or wish to start one, please do let me know. There may be Rippins in my contact circle who would be interested in being involved.

Retained study profile

This study is no longer registered with the Guild, but this profile page has been retained at the member's request. Please note that neither officers nor members of the Guild are able to answer any questions about this study.