Glad you got my message. "Von" is a German word which indicates aristocracy.Baron is a title. Every aristocrat with a "von" does not automatically have a title (such as count, duke etc.) In this case the "von der Ropp's" seem to belong to the class of titled nobility (at least some of them). "Der" is the equivalent of our "the". I have no clue what or where Ropp is. Maybe it was a city or a town or something similar."von" means "of the" or "from". My in-laws have also had the "von" in their name. Since they lived in the GDR (former East Germany) they could not use it. After the Wall came down they officially got the "von" back in their last name. I hope this information helps you. You could be the descendant of a very old and well known family. Maybe through my great-great-great aunt we are also related. Who knows!