This unusual surname has two distinct possible sources, each with its own history and derivation. Firstly, Culpin may be of Anglo-Saxon origin, and a variant of the more familiar Kilpin, itself a locational name from the parish and village of Kilpin in the East Riding of Yorkshire. Recorded as "Celpene" in Early Yorkshire Charters, dated 959, and as "Chelpin" in the Domesday Book of 1086, the place was so called from the Olde English pre 7th Century "celf", calf, and "penn", pen. Culpin, with variant spellings Culpan and Culpon, is well recorded in Yorkshire Church Registers from the mid 16th Century. On August 3rd 1556, Thomas Culpone and Elizabeth Furniss were married at Halifax, and on July 9th 1603, Elizabeth Culpin married John Tillotson at Kildwick. The second possibility is that Culpin is of early medieval Germanic origin, and a nickname for someone who bore a fancied resemblance to the carp, from the Old High German "kulpe", carp, perhaps a bald man whose skull resembled the naked head of the carp. Early examples of the surname from Germany include: Kulpin and (von) Culpe (Stralsund, 1340), and a 19th Century entry in Church Registers is the marriage of Johannes Culpin to Christiana Wolfsberg at Gerreshe, Rheinland, on November 2nd 1817. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Luthco Culpen, which was dated 1336, in "Early Medieval Records of Breslau", Germany, during the reign of Louis 1V of Bavaria, 1314 - 1347. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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