10 January 2011
Fortunately, Ruppersberg was not a common surname in the UK during the period 1841-1911, and it is relatively easy to follow family relationships from one census to the next.
In the 1841 census two families are mentioned, one living in Swalwell, Durham, and the other in Clerkenwell, Middlesex. These two families are also recorded in the 1851 census.
Later in the 1850's, it is believed that Conrad Ruppersberg (b.1833)and George Ruppersberg (b.1835) arrived in London having left the Kassel region in Germany where they were born. Conrad's marriage certificate shows that he married Eleanor Maycock Goss in Bethnal Green in 1856. George married Eliza Johnson in Lambeth some years later in April 1862 but he had probably lived in London for a while before then, although proof of this in the 1861 census has still to be confirmed. The nearest match is difficult to read with certainty on the page image (RG9/233/f5/p3) displayed by the ancestry.co.uk website. George Ruppersbergh(??), aged 26, a British subject born in Germany, is living as a servant in the house of a baker, William Harris, at 147 High Street, Shoreditch. The word describing his occupation is indistinct, but it almost certainly begins with B and could well be Baker.
Conrad and George are considered together here because, by the time of the 1911 census, all 49 individuals having the surname Ruppersberg, or a close derivative, can be linked to either one or the other of them. The relationship (if any) between Conrad and George is not known at the present time. They share the same surname, they were born in the same region of Germany and they arrived in London at approximately the same time. Both of their fathers were farmers.
An extensive family history of the Ruppersbergs in Germany has been written and it is believed that Conrad's father (Andrew/Andreas) has been identified, but, so far, no specific mention of George's father (John) has been found. However, one very interesting connection between the two extended families in London is revealed in the 1901 census. Alfred, a son of George, was living with his family at 17 Ruby Street in Camberwell; and George Frederick William, a son of Conrad, was living with his family just a few doors away at 11 Ruby Street.
The name of Ruppersberg has undergone various mutations over time. Some may be due to errors in transcribing the name from one document to another, but also some descendants have shown a preference for the alternative Ruppersbery. The 1911 census gives an opportunity for a more accurate view of the different spellings because the page images show the names entered on the form by the head of the household. The 49 individuals listed have the following variations - Ruppersberg (25), Rupperberg (5), Ruppersbery (13), Ruppersberry (1), Ruppersbury (3), and Rupersbury (2) distributed across 13 households.
At some time after the 1911 census, William (a son of George) and his family changed their name to Rapersby. While Alfred (also a son of George) changed his name to Johnson (his mother's maiden name) by Deed Poll in February 1918 because of the anti-German feeling in his neighbourhood at that time. According to The London Gazette, other brothers of Alfred followed suit and changed their names to Johnson - Arthur in April 1918 and George Ernest in February 1920.