I just came across this site. Glad to see so many Vappie relatives. My wife is a historian and has traced the Vappie branch back to the first Vappie from France. The reason that you've probably hit a dead end is that the original spelling is Vapaille. Noel Vapaille came to Louisiana in 1829 with his family and settled in St. Marys Parish (check the Immigrant Ships Passage Log for The Crescent 1829). His son Eugene married and had a son Aurelien and this is where we all came from. The French pronunciation sounds like Vap-pie and some priest entered the name as he heard it beginning with my grandfather Earnest. There are still a few Vapailles in France but it is not a common name so chances are, they are related. If you put the name in on the internet and do a search, it will come up as a Finnish word meaning free or unencumbered. However, if it appears as a proper name, it is always French. My connection is: Grandfather - Earnest, Father: Edward Frere.