Created by Administrator Account in 5/17/2010 2:34:55 PM

...Would you help me find the meaning of the name Karpinski? I was told that it was a very common name, much like Smith in America...

Well, it's not quite that common, but it is a fairly common name. As of 1990 there were 19,174 Polish citizens named Karpiński. They lived all over the country, and the distribution seems to be fairly even -- no pattern that tells us anything special.

The ultimate root is connected in most cases to the term karp, "carp" (the fish), which is the root of a great many surnames and place-names in Poland, Russia, etc. In some cases it might also come from the term karpa, "trunk, stem," or from a short form of the first name Polikarp. I'm not sure, but I think in olden days Karp might also have been used as a first name or nickname, much the way we use nicknames such as "Catfish," "Kingfish," etc.

Names ending in -iński usually started as a reference to a place where a family lived or came from; in this case I would say the most likely candidates are the villages of Karpie in Legnica province, Karpin in Lodz province, and Karpiny in Elblag province. However, there could have been many more places named Karpin, Karpino, etc. that are too small to show up on maps, or have since changed their names, or have been absorbed by neighboring communities. But that is the basic meaning of the name: "person from Karpin/Karpino/Karpiny," -- or, to break it down further, "person from the place of the carp" (or in some cases "person from the place of Polikarp").

Copyright © 1998 W.F. Hoffman. All rights reserved. Used by permission.