It soons becomes clear from studying records of this family that there are numerous variations on the spelling of this surname. Those who lived in the village of Tanworth and the surrounding area of Warwickshire were mostly illiterate until the late 19th century and before this, the name was recorded phonetically by the registrar of births, marriages, deaths etc. The way it was spelt depended entirely, therefore, on the whim of the official who wrote down the name. Often the same individual's name was spelt one way when the birth was recorded, another way following a marriage and yet a different way when the death or burial was recorded.
In the Warwickshire area, the following variations have been noted:
Cubbidg, Cubbidge, Cubbage, Cubage,
Cappage, Coppage, Coppages, Copeage, Copage
Because of the extreme rarity of this name, the small size of the population of Tanworth, and the way records cross-reference, there is no doubt that all these individuals were members of the same family and that this is one surname.
It is noted that the spelling "Cubbidge" occurred more frequently in the earliest records which are of the 17th century.
Francis Cubbidg born 9 July 1640 Edgbaston
Joane Cubbidge born 7 September 1658 Tanworth
Edwardus Cubbidge married 26 April 1682 Tanworth
However the earliest example of a Copage in this area
Robertus Copage born 3 November 1661 Birmingham
By the late nineteenth century, Copages and Coppages were the most common spellings in this area although there were still isolated cases of Cubbage and one family living in the Warwickshire village of Alveston in the 1830-60s preferred this spelling.
By the twentieth century, Copage had become the dominant spelling although one Minnie Coppage was buried at Tanworth in 1920 and a William Henry Coppage was buried in the nearby village of Wootton in 1922.
Today, there are some 40 Copages in the UK known to have descended from George Copage who left Tanworth and settled in London in the late nineteenth century. There are also other Copages known to live in the Birmingham area (near Tanworth) and on or two Coppages.
In the US, Coppage has become the dominant spelling. The Coppage/Coppedge Family Association have hundreds of members who have ancestors with the surname Coppage.
The origin of the name is not certain. One explanation is that it comes from the forest of Coppedhegge in Buckinghamshire. An alternative is that it arises from Corbridge in Cumberland (where a number of Cuppaidge wills have been found) and where there are numerous county records of individuals with the name Cubige/Cubbidge (19 examples between 1706 and 1757) and Cuppage (57 examples covering the period 1589-1842).
It should also be noted that a prominent Prussian family in the 16th and 17th Century carried the surname Coppetsch. Finally, there are numerous records of Cuppage and Cuppaidge in Ireland and according to Burke's "The first recorded member of this family (of German origin) is FAUSTIN CUPPAIDGE, removed from England to Ireland in 1604".
In Ireland, there are numerous records of
families with the name Cuppage or Cuppaidge and some of them emigrated to
Canada. Burke's Irish Family Records give deatils of the lineage of one Edward
Reade Vernon Cuppage borne in Victoria BC whose father, Granville William Vernon
Cuppage, emigrated to Canada and became Deputy Commissioner of Land and Works in
Victoria. This families records are traced back to the Faustin Cuppaidge
mentioned above. This was a landed family in Ireland with seats in Mount
Edwards, County Antrim and Clare Grove, Raheny County Dublin. The motto is
recorded as "esse quam videri".