Ken & Teresa Ripper's Ancestors and Family


Beauripper - Ripper - Repper - Rippere


When and Where

Our Ripper family are Cornish. We have traced family roots back to 1480 when they lived at Chyvarloe in the parish of Gunwalloe in the County of Cornwall. By 1543 the family had moved to the nearby parish of Breage. In the next 300 years they lived in many places in the parish but notably at Ruthdower, Crawle or Crohall, Trenwheal, Trew as well as in the main village of Breage, known as Churchtown.


From these early times branches of the family moved to other parts of West Cornwall. They set up homes in places such as Redruth, Helston, St Agnes, Crowan and on the Lizard peninsula. Then, from the late 1700s and up to the twentieth century branches of the family spread their way across the English speaking world.




For many this was caused by the downturn in the Cornish economy at the time. For centuries Cornwall had depended upon the export of tin and other ores to provide its income. With the discovery and exploitation of new deposits in Australia and North America the price of these metals fell and the ensuing hardship for Cornish miners prompted many of them to migrate to the new lands. It has been said that if you go the bottom of the deepest mines on Earth you will find a Cornishman there. You can read more about the historical and geographical context.


There are Ripper and Repper family members who still reside in Cornwall but most descendants are now living in England, Australia, New Zealand, USA and Canada. The family now numbers about 9,000 members. There are a few Ripper / Repper folk from Cornwall whom we have not yet aligned with branches of the main family.



The Earliest Ripper family in Cornwall

The earliest known member of the family is Richard Beauripper who was born probably about 1450 and lived in the hamlet of Chyvarloe in the parish of Gunwalloe in Cornwall. Richard Beauripper was a reeve on the Carminow Manor, one of the manors of the influential Arundell family. Carminow is a manor with widespread locations, which includes parts of the parish of Gunwalloe and parts of the parish of Breage. The fifteenth century manor court rolls record a place named Beauripper in Gunwalloe parish. This place can still be found, now spelt as Berepper, a small village half a mile south of Chyvarloe.


It is almost certain that the surname had changed from Beauripper to Ripper or Repper after the family had left Gunwalloe and moved to Breage in the period 1480 to 1543.


The records in Gunwalloe and Breage which will identify firm relationships in this family during the 1400s and 1500s are scant and many issues are unlikely to be resolved from this distance in time. From 1560 onwards there are many entries of baptisms, marriages and burials of Ripper/Repper family members, indicating the presence of the family in Breage from 1540 onwards, and potentially even earlier.

17th century farming in Cornwall


The family derived income from farming and mining. Their early interest was as farmers at Crawle. The earliest known date for their residence on Crawle is 1543.


Studies by Stoate have shown that Cornish households in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries predominantly provided homes for families of about eight people. It is reasonable to expect that these would frequently be extended families of three generations.


Establishing relationships has been supported in some instances by the use of aliases. Some incumbents of the parish of Breage, when recording baptisms, marriages and burials of their flock have helpfully identified them by using place names or other family names as aliases. There are records which show the use of the surname Ripper and an alias, but some which just show the alias as the surname. For instance Edward Ripper or Crohall is a reasonable indication that Edward Ripper lived at Crawle. In the Poll Tax returns of 1660 we find two entries which read "Edward Ripper and wife". One Edward is recorded as living at Crawle, the other at Trescawe. This use of aliases has been critical to the construction of this family tree. The Crohall/Crawle alias has been used over 6 generations of the descendants of John and Janet.


There are also naming patterns for children to which many of the families conform. A first son is frequently named after the father of the child, a second son after the paternal grandfather, a first daughter after the mother etcetera. This has also been useful in reasoning the correct lineage of family members.


The relationships for the first generation have been reasoned in the following manner:


·         There appear to be eight Rippers who were born in the mid 1500s with proven marriages from whom the current families descend.

·         It has been assumed that these are all descendants of Richard Beauripper and all of the same generation as the marriage dates identified are in a narrow range from about 1560 to 1578.

·         The naming patterns provide an indication of relationships.

·         It is not reasonable to link them all as siblings (bearing in mind the levels of infant mortality at the time), but their surnames are all variants of Ripper with life events in Breage.

·         Dividing the family group into parts would be reasonable,

·         Whilst large families are not uncommon, family sizes of two or three surviving children are more the norm than eight surviving breeding children at this time.


The family structure, therefore, as we understand it is as follows for the first three generations:






The Three Sons


As the family developed William's (born about 1505) branch stayed at their homestead at Crawle whilst other branches may have moved to other parts of Breage.


·         William (born about 1505) had two sons. William, the eldest son, took over the mill at Ruthdower in 1577; John the youngest remained on Crawle. Both sons are mentioned as miners of Polladras mine in 1584 on the toll tin accounts prepared in 1590. The families are also mentioned in land leases as well as in wills which record the passing of estate from one generation to another. As well as the content of these documents and the aliases, the relative prosperity of the families has been useful in establishing relationships. It is from this branch of the family that many Australian and American members of the family are primarily descended

·         Richard’s descendants have branches that leave Breage and settle in Helston amongst other places. Some London based members of the family come down this line. Whereas William’s family are largely farmers, this branch had many artisans who make shoes, cut hair etc. This is the line which leads, ultimately to Ken Ripper, author of this website.

·         John’s descendants stay in the Breage area for many years and provide miners for the many tin and copper mines in the area. Many then moved to Stithians, Perranzabuloe and Cubert in Cornwall.



Associated Families



During our research into the Ripper family we have encountered other families with which our own family has an association. These connections are invariably as a result of a marriage by a member of the Ripper family. On occasions it has been necessary to research into these families more than we had expected to do, so that we can better understand our own. The families in which we have some additional information are:

· Meager in Breage, Cornwall - MEAGER Family Tree

· Gilbert from The Lizard in Cornwall - GILBERT Family Tree




Other non related families with the Ripper family name

The Ripper family in London and Middlesex


The majority of people named Ripper who were based in London before the start of the 19th century have not been found to have a connection with either the Cornish or East Anglian Ripper families. The International Genealogical Index (IGI) has a list of baptisms and marriages of London Rippers dating from the beginning of the 1700s. London was a much smaller place at the time as can be seen from a contemporary map.

The earliest known surviving record is the baptism on 23 October 1612 of Mary Ripper, the daughter of George Ripper, at St Margaret's in Westminster.



The IGI records that over the ensuing centuries other Ripper family members are baptised in London and Middlesex. Using these records we have attempted to create families based upon geography and dates, largely to determine who may link back to our own family.

We have, therefore, deduced that there are likely to be at least two Ripper families present in London. We have notionally named the head of each of the two primary families as LondonA Ripper and LondonB Ripper

The people are shown on the family tree along with their primary vital details, where known, and associated surnames. These trees are the result of deduction based upon IGI entries and a small amount of research. They should be regarded as a starting point for further research and not the basis for proven connections. We have biographical details on some family members and are happy to share this with people researching their London Ripper roots.

·          LondonA RIPPER Family Tree

·          LondonB RIPPER Family Tree


The Ripper family in Eastern England

There is also a substantial Ripper family which originates from East Anglia. We have some detailed knowledge of this family based upon research undertaken by members of that family with whom we have contact. Please let us know if you wish to be put in touch with them. Their research will be significantly better than what you can see here. As we have assembled this family largely to identify Rippers who would not appear on our family tree, please only use our report as the basis for an introduction to the family.

·          East Anglian RIPPER Family Tree


The Ripper family in Germany

There is a significant German family which also glories in the name Ripper. The following was received in January 2001 from Lynn Ripper who is of German Ripper descent. If you wish to consult him regarding his ancestors you can e-mail him.

“My Ripper ancestors (in fact most all of my German ancestors) came from the Odenwald region in the German state of Hesse. They settled in Tazewell County in Illinois. Some members of these families moved on to Wayne County in Iowa and Cass County in Nebraska. Their descendants have settled all over the United States but they can all trace their ancestors to the above named areas. My wife and I currently live in Edwardsville, Illinois which is near St. Louis, Missouri.

Our earliest known Ripper ancestor is Georg Ripper who was born about 1545 in Schönnen bei Erbach im Odenwald. Georg had at least one son, Hanß Ripper, who had three wives each named Catharina. I am descended from each of the first two marriages.”





We have been so fortunate to have found so many friends amongst our relatives who now spread across the world. Many have contributed to our knowledge of our families and we are most grateful to them all. Look at the collaboration page and you may see one of our contacts who is known to you, or one you may wish to get to know. We also have details of some families who are not related but of similar surnames.




Our Privacy Statement can be accessed here.