This is an English and a German surname recorded in several forms including Culpan, Culpin, Culpon, Kelpin, Kilpen, Kilpin, and others. It has two distinct and separate origins, each with its own history and derivation. Firstly, it may be of English origin and locational from the parish and village of Kilpin in the East Riding of Yorkshire. Recorded as "Celpene" in Early Yorkshire Charters, dated 959 a.d., the place was called from the pre 7th Century word "celf", meaninga calf, and "penn", a pound or pen. It is well recorded in Yorkshire Church Registers from the mid 16th Century with examples which include Thomas Culpone and Elizabeth Furniss who were married at Halifax on May 3rd 1556, Elizabeth Culpin who married John Tillotson at Kildwick on June 9th 1603, and Richard Kilpin, a christening witness at St James church, Dukes Place, Westminster, on June 9th 1682. The second possible origin is medieval German, and a nickname for someone who bore a fancied resemblance to the carp fish! This is from the word "kulpe", meaning carp, and as a nickname may have described a bald man whose skull resembled the head of a carp. Early examples of the surname from Germany include: Johans Kulpin of Stralsund, in 1340, and 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. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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