Recorded in several spellings including Karpel, Karpol, Korpal and Korpolak, this is a Polish and sometimes Jewish surname. It has two possible origins, both being occupational. The first is a derivation from the the word 'karpos' meaning fruit, and hence a metonymic or nickname for a fruit grower or seller, the second follows a similar course and is from the word 'karp' meaning a fish of that type, and hence a nickname for a fisherman or fish merchant. Occupational surnames were usually of medieval origin, and amongst the first to be created, however they did not usually become hereditary unless a son followed his father into the same line of business. Perhaps surprisingly many did not, and therefore many early surnames only appear once or twice and then die out. Sadly few if any Polish registers survive from those early days, in fact in general, records from the countries which for many years were under Soviet control, are at best poor. In this case the earliest record that we can find is that of Kunegunda Korpolak who married Stanislaw Wittczak at Klube, Bydgorkiego, on February 24th 1824.
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