Recorded in the USA as Astupenas and Atstupenas, this is a rare and interesting surname. It is apparently Ukrainian with possibly some Russian connections, but we cannot find any proof. Over the past century it has been specifically recorded in New England, Connecticut and Massachusetts, and always in penny numbers. Currently the name is ranked number 566,726 on the surnames list of the USA - not far off the bottom. By contrast 'Smith' first recorded in Virginia in1609, is rated first, with over three million nameholders. Our research on A(t)stupenas suggests that the current name spelling may well be unique to the USA, as there is no evidence in either the Ukraine or Russia records. Furthermore surnames in those countries are recorded in Cyrillic script not the Romance of most of the western world. We believe that the usual method of conversion of a Cyrillic spelt name to an English form is or was by exchange of letters - where necessary. We have compared A(t)stupenas with a recent list of over five hundred Cyrillic surnames, but have been drawn a blank beyond the first three or four letters 'A(t)st -' and even that occured only once. What is really confusing is the end of the name - which is of a type not generally found in Eastern Europe. Russian names are patronymics and finish in -ov or -ev, Polish in -ow, -ew or -in and the Ukraine sometimes as -ik but more usually as -enko. The first definate recording is apparently in the Ellis Island, New York, register for 1920 with that of Ivan Atstupenas aged 29 and single. As far as we can tell he was the originator of the surname in the USA, but how he developed it, is a mystery.
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