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ORPEN Family HistoryRecorded as Orpen and Orpin, this is an English medieval surname. It is said that the name has French origins in the sense that it is derived from the French word "orpin", a term for a succulent herbaceous plant used in ancient times for medicinal puposes. It is probable that if this was the case then the first known nameholder one Elyas Orpyn of Northumberland, in the year 1298, was a herbalist or at least a practioner in early medicine. Many early surnames developed from the traditional uses of herbs and spices, although over the centuries the numbers have greatly declined leading in some cases to extinction.
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