The Culbert Family Genealogy Project:
 Connecting a Migratory People

  Marion, Smyth County, Virginia, U.S.A. This road is likely named for William Francis Culbert, b. 1859, Tennessee, who came to Smyth County just before 1900 and operated a mining company there. (image contributed by Clarissa Culbert)


In the mid-1990s, I renewed my interest in learning more about my earliest known Culbert ancestor, Moses (In this database: I00162), who emigrated from Ireland to Philadelphia, PA, U.S.A. in 1828.  Since our family had no information about Moses' family left behind in Ireland, and because of the lack of relevant records for that time period still remaining in Ireland, it became obvious that the only realistic avenue to find more information would be to collaborate with Culbert researchers and family members worldwide.  Thus, the CULBERT One-Name study was initiated in 2004.

This genealogical database was established on 25 Jan 2015.  The study is currently in the data collection stage, focusing on the survey of birth, baptism, marriage, death, and census records worldwide to establish a basic data foundation for individuals.  It is hoped that this foundation will suggest linkages between the various CULBERT family branches.  It is also hoped that other researchers will respond by contributing more detailed research on individuals and families.

This study is considered medium in size compared to other surnames.  There are more than 32,000 individuals in the database so far, which includes the parents of the spouse of a CULBERT, and the descendants of a CULBERT regardless of surname.

The oldest record I have found to date is that of Mutton CULBERT, who married Alice Legge on 27 Mar 1554 at St. Nicholas, Ipswich, Suffolk, England. 2

Connected with this One-Name Study is a DNA Project hosted by FamilyTreeDNA.  The website is: Culbert Project  [See also: DNA Tests in the left menu bar.

This study is challenging because:
1) The history of the Culberts includes abundant evidence of migration from Europe to other parts of the world;
2) The surname is also used as a given name (e.g. Culbert L. Olson, Governor of the State of California, 1939-1943), which hampers broad searches of this name 1;
3)  It is not uncommon to find records for a person showing different surnames, particularly in Ireland [See Feature Article on Culbert Surname Changes for more info.], and
4) Although the origins of the surname are in Europe with a Caucasian ancestry, there is a growing population of African Americans carrying this surname who may or may not be related by birth.  For this latter challenge I have yet to find any evidence of how these people became CULBERTs. [Note: In this database, those known to be Negro are indicated with an asterisk following their surname.]

I am indebted to the following persons who have made extensive contributions to this CULBERT research: Jena Burstein; Debbie Camejo; Johanne Quesnel Colbert; Maureen Culbert; Susan Statter Culbert; Margie Culbert Forsythe; and Patricia Teaze.  I welcome additional CULBERT researchers, particularly in Canada, Great Britain, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand to make contributions and/or help with this study.  If interested, please contact me through this website.

NOTES ON SEARCHES ON THIS SITE - Living individuals have been privatized so that only a given name first initial and full surname are visible.  Also, I have created two Trees, one for CULBERT, and the other for CULBERT surname variants.  The variants Tree contains surnames similar to CULBERT with connections to Ireland and Scotland, but not found to be related any CULBERTs.  For more information on these variants, go to: The Culbert and Related Surnames Website

1 The earliest use of Culbert as a given name that I have found is for the baptisms of William Platt of Dayn pish [Deane Parish?], son of Culbert, 1 June 1602 (p. 19) and Margreatt Platt of same, daughter of Culbert, 13 Februarye 1603 (p. 25. Also note this year begins on April 1 and ends on March 31) 3
2 International Genealogical Index (R), Marriage of Mutton Culbert & Alice Legge (1554), Patron ordinance submission sheets, 1969-1991, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, FHL Film No. 0820453.
3 The Registers of the Parish Church of Bolton, Archibald Sparke, Ed. (1913, Tillotson & Son, Bolton, England, U.K.) Available at FamilySearch Books.

Feature Articles

feature 1 CULBERT (WIKIPEDIA) External link to the origins of Culbert, places named Culbert, and notable Culbert people.

feature 2 CULBERT SURNAME CHANGES In Ireland, I have found that the CULBERT, CULBERTSON and CUTHBERTSON surnames are sometimes used interchangeably.  During a time when literacy was not common, these changes can be expected.  As a result of my research on the CULBERT name, I have come to believe that those who bore the CULBERT name in Ireland, and those other closely related names, came originally from Scotland.  Despite traditions indicating that these immigrants to Ireland were of Covenanter stock that came from Scotland in the late 1600s, it is more likely that the CUTHBERTSONs from Scotland settled in Ireland in a much earlier time, and they were the ancestors of many of the later Irish CULBERTSONs.

One researcher told me a story about CULBERT origins in Ireland, which has been passed down in her family.  As the story goes, a CULBERT (or more likely a COLBERT) from France, possibly named Eugene, was on a French naval ship that was sunk in a battle with the British off the northwest coast of Ireland (in the region of County Donegal).  This seaman was able to swim to the coast in the fog, was held captive for awhile, and was later released.  He settled in Ireland and never returned to France. 1

I also have two documented reasons for these surnames having been purposely changed in subsequent generations.  One is about Edward CUTHBERT from Cumberland, England, who migrated to Oldpark, North Belfast, Ireland in the mid-1800s.  In Belfast he found that the surname CUTHBERT was virtually unknown, but that there were plenty of CULBERT families.  He eventually gave up trying to correct folks about his surname, and when he married a Belfast girl, he did so as Edward CULBERT.  This family continued to use the CULBERT surname in Ireland, but then switched it back to CUTHBERT when members returned to England.  2  The other story concerns Robert CULBERT, born in County Armagh, Ireland, who served in the British Army and left with his family for Canada in 1847.  Robert died en route, and his children were taken in by French Canadian families in Quebec.  In an effort to better assimilate them into their community, their surnames were changed to COLBERT and CUTHBERT.  3

All instances of name changes to and from CULBERT in subsequent generations can be found by going to my reports section.

1  Story provided by Debbie Camejo [Email: deb at] in April 2001.
2  Dennis Kennedy, 2006, Climbing Slemish: An Ulster Memorial, Trafford Publishing, Victoria, BC, Canada, ISBN 1-4120-9943-9.
3  Provided by Johanne Quesnel Colbert.

feature 3 CULBERT DATA MAPPING (External Link) This is a work in progress for the TNG users of the Guild of One-Name Studies participants in the Members' Websites project.  Instructions:  Select the Culbert surname, the Culbert Tree, and any desired Branch.  Click OK.  If you do not select a Branch the data may not load because this is a large database!  Once data completes loading on the map you can adjust the year range slider as desired and also uncheck the data type(s) not desired.  Click OK again to see the new data selections.  Solid red lines on the map show place changes (migrations) for individuals.

feature 4 DATA SETS INCORPORATED The following significant data sets have been incorporated to date:
Australia - New South Wales Births, Marriages & Deaths (1788-1960).
Canada - Federal Censuses (1851, 1881, 1921 [Toronto only]); WWI registrations; Ontario Marriages (1801-1928).
International Genealogical Index
Ireland - 1740 Householders List; 1796 Flax List; 1823-1837 Tithe Applotment Books; 1824-1856 Valuation Books and 1848-1864 Griffith's Primary Valuation; Civil Registration Indexes: Births (1864-1995), Marriages (1845-1993), and Deaths (1864-2013); Baptisms in Catholic Parish Registers (bef. 1880).
U.K. - 1841 Census.
U.S.A. - 1790-1900 Federal Censuses; Immigrations; Marriage index (extracted from FamilySearch May 2014); Military records (Civil War, WW I Registrations, WW II Enlistments); Social Security Death Index (to 2011).

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