This is a most interesting surname, which can be described as European, but of Ancient Greek origins, and found in its various forms throughout the western world. These spellings include Carp, Carpe, Karp, Karpe, Karpov, Karpeev, Karpf, Karppi, Karpman, Karpfen, Karpenya, Karpets, Karpenko, Karpinski, Karpychev, Karpushkin, and many others. It is said to originate from the Greek word "karpos" meaning fruit, and was originally used as a personal name of endearment. Brought back to Northern Europe in the 12th century by the returning Crusaders who used Greece as their base for the various assaults on the Muslim held city of Jerusalem, it achieved a fair level of popularity everywhere. It is said that the original name holder was a follower of St Paul, and an early bishop, and as such he is mentioned in one of the Epistles. Certainly the Greek Orthodox church have no doubt as to his former status, and they regard him as a saint. The Russians have always held a high regard for church orthodoxy and they probably have more people with the name than anywhere else. Unfortunately Eastern European church registers are either poor or non existent, and meaningful recordings from this source are difficult to find. In Poland the name as Karpinski suggests landed gentry status. The suffix '-ski' being similar to the German 'von' and the French 'de' in that respect. The earliest of all recordings is probably that of Emecho Carpo of Mainz in Germany in the year 1270, with Joslin Karpfens being recorded in the charters of the city of Freiburg in 1425.
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