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Our 2,745 members have registered
2,397 study surnames with us
and a further 6,089 variant names.

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About the study

Welcome to the Tipper One-Name Study. Like many, this study has developed from tracing my own family tree and extending the search beyond known relatives, firstly as an aid to identification and elimination, and then as an aim in itself. The main objective of the study is to identify all Tippers historically worldwide and to link them into family groupings.


Many African tribal societies apparently distinguish between the living, the dead and the "€œundead"€. The latter are those who have died, but knowledge of whom still lives on in the memories of the living. Family history research is, in part, a process of bringing people back from the dead at least into the "€œundead"€, and it is hoped that the study can help do this for the extended Tipper family.

Variant names

There are probably no modern variants of the name, but early parish records do have examples of Tiper, Typper, Typer, Tipp, Typp and Tippah. Mistranscriptions of "Tipper" are very common, however, within the IGI, Ancestry and other sources, including Tapper, Tepper, Topper and Tupper (all independent surnames in their own right), Tippers, Tippir, Tippen, Tippin, Tippe, Tippes, Tippser, Tippier, Tippet, Tippey, Tiffer, Tiffee, Teeper, Lepper, Lipper, Lippen, Lippens, Lippan, Sipper, Siffer, Feffer, Fiper, Pipper, Popper, Bippes, Dipper, Eipper, Ipper, Gipper, Gepper, Zipper and, my favourite, McLipper.

Name origin

The consensus amongst surname dictionaries and other sources is that the name derives from the Middle English "€œtyppe"€ = a tip or head, or to furnish with a tip, becoming an occupational surname for one who applied metal tips to wooden implements and objects, particularly arrowheads. The surname appears to arise independently and in parallel in the Middle Ages in a number of counties in the Midlands and Southern England, which is consistent with a derivation as a rural trade name.

Historical occurrences of the name

The earliest quoted reference is to a William Tipere, dated 1176 in the Pipe Rolls of Huntingdonshire. Fame and fortune you will find little of. Notoriety perhaps, with the yet to be identified Tipper reportedly the last man to be publicly hanged in Staffordshire for poaching. But, in the main, sturdy families of Agricultural Labourers, Farmers, Tradesmen and Industrial workers, who together give a fascinating picture of the development of 18th and 19th Century working class economic and social life.

Name frequency

In total there have probably been in excess of 11,000 of us historically, either born to or married into the name. The IGI has approximately 3,500 baptism references, though this includes many duplications. The 1901 UK Census index lists 1,606 Tippers, to which a number of mistranscriptions should be added. And, in the latest generation, the GRO index of birth registrations in England and Wales for the period 1980 to 2005 lists 884 recent arrivals.

Distribution of the name

Approximately one third of all Tippers originate from two family groupings straddling the border of Staffordshire and Derbyshire: firstly, my own immediate family and neighbours, about 1,900 of us, in the villages and towns along the valley of the River Dove, from the southern Peak District, down through Ashbourne, Uttoxeter, Hanbury, Scropton, Hollington,Tutbury and beyond, into Burton and Derby; and secondly an adjoining large and cohesive clan centred on Cheadle, with offshoots across the Potteries and to Stafford and Leek.


A further 1,500 can trace their origins to the string of villages along the valley of the River Rother and the South Downs of Sussex, centred on Midhurst. This family group is the source of many of the Tippers who appear in the 19th century in Australia, willingly or otherwise.

There is a third major grouping in Worcestershire, and other important early concentrations are found in Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and Kent. There would seem to be no Tippers native to the North of England, and those that do appear in Lancashire, Yorkshire, the North-East and Cumbria are mainly 19th century immigrants from the Midlands seeking employment opportunities in the mills, mines and foundries. There is a consistent if disparate presence in London through the ages, many originating from Sussex, and a large influx into Birmingham and the Black Country in the 1800’s principally from Worcestershire. A separate, long-standing Tipper clan exists in Ireland, with a number leaving over the years for Manchester/Liverpool and the USA.

Several emigrant families have successfully established themselves in Australasia and North America, but the majority remain in our English homeland.


Data for the study is based principally on the standard sources of parish records, censuses and registrations of births, marriages and deaths. Gravestones, obituaries, wills, photographs, bibles, diaries, property and commercial transactions etc. are sadly rather few and far between for families well down the social scale, but a growing number of ancillary references are being found which help add some colour to the bare bones of dates and registrations.


The focus of the study is on linking people, and was originally concentrated on the Midlands families. The study has now been extended to other English counties and worldwide. To date, approximately 7,000 Tippers have been definitively or provisionally linked into family trees. Contact from other researchers with Tipper connections is always welcomed, with the opportunity it gives to share data and solve problems.