Recorded in several forms including Carabine, Carbin, Carbine, Carben, Carbon (English), Carabin, Carabina (France), Carabini (Italian and Spanish), and others, this is a surname of appatently French origins. It is claimed to describe a horse soldier, one who carried a small musket called a carbine. However whilst this is just possible, in general terms this would seem to be unlikely, as the weapon itself was not invented until the 16th century, arguably two centuries at least after the usual introduction of surnames.But surnames have always been changed and continue to be changed into the 21st century, so no doubt at sometime in the future researchers may be baffled by surnames such as Computer or Tesco! The Oxford English Dictionary suggests that the origin of carbine is the word escarrabin. This was an occupational word which described a mortician, one who prepared a corpse for burial. Well as they say, somebody has to do it, although quite how this squares with a short firearm is not explained. The surname in England has been recorded in the early surviving church registers from at least Elizabethan times. This suggest that it may even have been introduced from France at the time of the Norman Conquest of 1066 or shortly after. These recordings include Elizabeth Carbina who married Henry Young at St Mary Magdalene, on November 24th 1571, and Mathew Carabine, who may well have been a French Huguenot, a christening witness at St Dunstans in East, Stepney, on August 21st 1650, during the "reign" of Oliver Cromwell (1649 - 1658).
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