A to Z Challenge – K is for Kin

Blogging from A to Z April 2013 Challenge

K is for Kin

I began studying my ancestors as a teen, starting with my mom’s family. My mom was a Culpepper. There are a lot of Culpeppers out there with records dating back to English Lords, Sirs, Sheriffs, and Justices of the Peace, so they are not hard to trace. With the invention of the internet, it became easier and easier.

The Culpepper name, originally Colepeper, is believed to hail from Sir Thomas de Colepeper, born 1170 in Kent, England. ‘De’ meaning of or from; ‘Cul’ meaning bottom (in French); and the family was from Pembury, originally known as Pepenbury, so the full translation is ‘of the bottom of Pepenbury.’ Makes sense. Eventually the ‘de’ was dropped as it fell out of fashion.

Back in the 1990s, I traced back to my favorite Culpepper ancestor. I don’t know why he’s my favorite; he just intrigues me. His name was John Culpepper. He was my 12th great grandfather. He was born in 1530 in Salehurst, Sussex, England and died 20 Oct 1612. He owned Wigsell Manor (pictured below) which he inherited from his father William Culpepper. His mother was Cicely Barrett, and much later in my research I found the Barretts, who married into the Bellhouse and Poyntz families, to be just as interesting as the Culpeppers. They were big in politics and owned enormous estates, making Wigsell look like a little cottage. It’s quite possible Cicely married beneath her. Perhaps she married for love. ♥


wigsell in snowwigsell

There are no records of John’s education. He seems to have lived a quiet life. He married Elizabeth Sedley around 1560 and records show they had about seven children. Records for female children are far and few between, but he did have a daughter named Cicely, named after his mother. He was a Justice of the Peace, and the only public records of him are testimonies in Queen Elizabeth’s Privy Council from 1558 to 1592. Following the chaos of King Henry VIII’s rule, bloody Queen Mary’s rule, and finally Queen Elizabeth’s, the country was in political and religious turmoil. That may be why he lived such a quiet life. If you didn’t, you would surely be beheaded or burned at the stake for something.

He died at the age of 82, considerable for the time, and is buried at Salehurst Church as “Johanes Colepeper, armiger, etatis 82.”  The word ‘armiger’ means ‘entitled to the coat of arms.’ The Culpepper Coat of Arms graces the church wall near the front door. (I also have it tattooed on my back.) RIP grandpa Johanes.

salehurst churchsalehurstarmsJohn_Lord_Colepeper_Armsculpepper tat

Update: By special request, here’s my tat.

The bottom is French and means, “I hope.”

34 responses to “A to Z Challenge – K is for Kin

  1. Thank you for sharing your ancestry. How fortunate you are to be able to trace them so far back in time. One of the advantages of having a name that has been on the books…sorta speaking…since early recording. And then there’s the ‘Manor’ and Crest.

    I too am a Family Historian with roots back to England and Scotland, but my Family Focus is starts with the Ancestors who came to America. My last years AtoZ Theme was about my Family Tree, and my Letter ‘K’ was ‘Kin’, too. I enjoyed reading yours.

    Sue CollectInTexasGal
    AtoZ LoneStar Quilting Bee

    • Thanks for stopping by, Sue. I have other names I can’t trace, but Culpepper is a good one. Goes back a long, long way. My K had to be for Kin or Knock Knock or Koolaid. I don’t know any jokes, and I don’t drink Kookaid, so I was stuck. 🙂

    • I also have an Indian one for my Choctaw heritage. I’d like an Irish claddagh next. Then maybe I’ll just get one of a tree and call it done. Not enough body parts to accommodate everyone. 🙂

    • Thanks for stopping by, Su-sieee! My favorite part of researching ancestors is putting them in real context. Her family was loaded, so why would she move to a small manor? Must’ve been true love. I wonder if her dad was mad. 🙂

  2. Great story! How lucky you are to have been able to trace back that far. I love genealogy, too, but I didn’t start until my late 20’s. 🙂
    A to Z April Blogging Challenge

  3. Lori – wow.

    Just wow.

    I’m well-versed in allll kinds of knowledge, but I know so little about my past, history, heritage, etc.

    I’m super-impressed with your detailed research and accounts here.

    John Culpepper became interesting to me through your stories, and I’m super-glad you posted the tat 🙂

    Very cool.

    Keep ryzin’, #AtoZChallenge FTW!

  4. Well, that was interesting in all kinds of ways–the root meaning of Culpepper, your family history (or part of it), the speculation about whether Cicely married for love, and the lovely visuals. Great stuff!

  5. Many kudos for taking on the A to Z. I haven’t done it, but continue to be amazed by the faithfulness and planning all y’all do for this adventure.

    The name Culpepper in my head will *always* be the man associated with Henry VIII’s second K/Catherine. Alas.

    • Sandi, they are all the same family. Catherine’s mom, Joyce Culpepper, was cousins with Thomas “loverboy” Culpepper AND with my Gpa John Culpepper. Lots of great interesting Culpepper stories. I guess I should write a blog about my dearly departed cousin Catherine. 🙂

      I’m having a blast with this A to Z thing. It’s not as hard as it looks.

  6. Lori,

    My name is Matthew Culpepper, and I’ve never been so pleased to see my genealogical research pop up. In the 7th grade when I first found the Culpepper family website, I became obsessed with the origins of the last name. I wasn’t satisfied with the theories made available at the time, so I worked on my own until I formulated one that made sense more sense. Thanks for the great post!

    Matthew Culpepper

    P.S. I love your tattoo! I’ve been working up the nerves to get one very similar.

  7. My name is Micah and I too am apart if the Culpepper line. However, I found a website that traces the lines back and I guess my line was adopted in…it said that there’s DNA evidence stating it. My question is, the research you have done…has it cost a lot?! I do not have a lot if money and I’m interested in cost efficient ways to search.

    • Hi Micah,

      You can spend as much or as little as you want to. If you’re researching Culpeppers, I would suggest you start at http://gen.culpepper.com/default.asp because all modern day Culpeppers descend from this line. Also check FindAGrave.com if you know the states your ancestors would be buried in. You might get lucky there.

      After that, Google the names of the ancestors you want to know about. There’s a lot of free info available online.

      If you want to spend some money, join Ancestry.com. So many people have done research, it’s usually easy to piggie back off them. It runs about $20/mo, but you can join monthly as you have the money, and cancel when you don’t. Be warned, they are hobbiests, not professionals, and sometimes don’t research thoroughly, so don’t trust everything or you may find yourself tracing ancestors who are not actually yours.

      For a little more money, about $15 a pop, you can order birth and death certificates and marriage licenses from the counties they took place. There’s lots of info on those.

      If you want to spend a lot of money, travel to the archive and history museums in the cities/counties/countries of your choosing. Or for free, you can join genealogy forums and beg someone in that city to go look something up for you. You should of course offer to do the same in your city for others. Sometimes it seems I spend more time in the cemeteries around my city than I do on my own family, but my family plots are 2000 miles away. :p

      The main thing is to document EVERYTHING. Who told you, where you saw it, copies of emails, etc. At some point, you’ll wonder where you found Uncle so-n-so and need that source to move farther up your tree.

      Good luck!!

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  14. In January 1970, on a cold night in Minden, LA, a Culpepper gentleman snuck down to the Pearson farm for a role in the hay with one of the Pearson girls and begat yours truly. While I grew up in an orphanage under a given name, about 48 hours ago I found out that – for better or worse – I am a Culpepper.

    Is there a t-shirt, or a secret handshake I need to know about?

    • Hi Mark!! Welcome to the clan. The t-shirt will be mailed to you along with instructions for the secret handshake which can’t be shared over this unsecured server. 🙂 There’s lots of Culpepper info out there. Supposedly, we all come from John Culpepper the Merchant who migrated to the colonies from England around 1650 following the English civil war. Check out CulpepperConnections.com. If you need help finding any info, shoot me an email at LoriCraneAuthor@gmail dot com. I’ll be happy to help you trace your birth family.

    • Hi Andi! It’s on culpepper connections.com. look there. You might even find your own name. I don’t know of a site that shows all crests, but titles were given out and recorded in England, Scotland, and other places. You can certainly track one down with a little effort.

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