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Culbert is a personal name that seems to have originated in Europe. The earliest records for this surname are found in England, Scotland, and Ireland. The use of surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England, heritable surnames started to form in the 11th century, and were common in most areas by 1400.[1] The Poll Tax introduced in England in the 14th Century (considered a head tax) is probably the first time this common usage of surnames was documented.[2]

Culbert Origins[edit]

A specific origin for this name is not known, however it does not appear to be derived from a place, nor from an occupation, two common sources for peoples' names.

The following references suggest that Culbert may be derived from other names that describe a person's character. Culbert may stem from Culbheart, which is a Gaelic form meaning "crafty".[3] However, connecting the Culberts to early Ireland has been unsuccessful as no records have been found before the 17th Century, with the earliest found being from 1749.[4] Also, crafty is related to "wisdom," and this suggests a connection with the surname Cuthbert, a name from the Anglo Saxon, which means "famous, bright, of clear skill or knowledge".[5][6][7][8][9] It is also believed by some researchers that Culbert is derived from Cutbert. This earlier spelling is very similar to Cuthbert and Cuthbertson, one reason for the close relationship between these surnames. The surname is also closely related to Culbertson and Culberson, which mean son of Culbert.

With regards to claims of origin, MacLysaght [10] states that the surname Culbert is of Huguenot origin, and is found mainly in Ireland's northern province of Ulster. However, no record has yet been found to document that any Culbert was a Huguenot or a Huguenot descendant.[11]

In Scotland, Culbert is considered a variant of Colbert, derived from the Anglo-Saxon Ceolberht/Ceolbeorht (in Old English, ceol = ship and berht/beorht = bright).[12][13] They suggest Culbert is a personal name dating from the 700s in England, however, no actual records have been found there for another 1,000 years.

For England, one heraldry-relate website [14] claims that Culbert is one of the names of people who migrated there from Normandy following the Norman Conquest, and that Culbert has been found in the Counties of Cheshire and Lancashire. Unfortunately, these records also have not been uncovered. The earliest Culbert found in FamilySearch records for Cheshire is William Culbert b. bef. 1706,[15] and for Lancashire is Thomas Culbert b. bef. 1764.[16] The oldest Culbert record found to date anywhere is for Mutton Culbert, who married Alice Legge on 27 Mar 1554 at St. Nicholas, Ipswich, Suffolk, England.[17]

The earliest home of a Culbertson (son of Culbert) so far found is located in the County of Roxburg, Scotland, at a small village named Morebattle, eight miles south of Kelso. Here Culbertson people have lived continuously since the year 1400 AD. This is in the Lowlands and is about five miles from the Cheviot Hills, which form the boundary between Scotland and England.[18]

Culbert Distribution[edit]

As migrations from Europe became more common in the 19th and 20th Centuries, Culbert people have spread from Europe and have now become more predominant in the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.[19] For example, in the 1881 Census of the United Kingdom (including England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland), 91 Culbert individuals were indexed, compared to 256 individuals in the 1881 Canada Census, and compared to 620 individuals in the 1880 U.S. Federal Census.[20]

In 2000, the surname Culbert was ranked 12,650 in terms of the most common surnames in the United States, with 2,244 occurrences in the 2000 U.S. Federal Census. The racial/ethnic breakdown included nearly 77 percent White, almost 20 percent Black, a little more than 2 percent Hispanic, about 1 percent Non-Hispanic of two or more races, and minor amounts (less than 1 percent) of Asian and Pacific Islander or American Indian and Alaskan Native.[21]

An extract of an Office of National Statistics database containing a list of surnames in use in England, Wales and the Isle of Mann in September 2002 suggests that Culbert was ranked 13,686, with 389 occurrences.[22]


Culbert is used as both a given name and as a surname, as in the following examples of persons:

Places and Things Named Culbert[edit]

The following places and objects carrying the name Culbert have been identified to date. Their geographic diversity indicates the geographic diversity of Culbert people.

Culbert's Hill, Winton Heights, New Providence area, Nassau
Culbert's Bay, southeastern New Providence, Nassau

Culbert Fuels, (Texaco), Burk's Falls, Ontario, Canada [ref. postcard on EBay, image available]
Wendy Culbert Cres, Newmarket, Ontario L3X0E9
Culbert Drive, Woodstock, New Brunswick E7M1N9
1000 801 Culbert, Anjou, Quebec Canada H1J2G5

Culbert, Cornwall, England, U.K.
Culbert Avenue, Didsbury, Manchester, England, U.K. M20 6HB [image available]
Culbert Lodge, near Eland Street, New Basford, Nottinghamshire, England, U.K.
Culbert's Court, located in the middle of Little York Street, Belfast [Ireland, now Northern Ireland, U.K.; had 15 small houses in 1860.]
Culbert Street, Portsoy, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, U.K. [ref. Councillor Jack Mair, 6 Oct 2008: The people in Portsoy used to call Culbert Street - The Culbert Rig and our late local historian, Jim Slater, had a theory that a gentleman named Culbert had a croft at this location. I do not know what evidence he had to arrive at this conclusion. The street slopes down from The Square and at the bottom of the street there is a culvert which carries the water from the Loch, formerly the mill dam, to the sea. I have heard culvert mispronounced culbert. There is also a possibility that Culbert may be a misspelling of Gilbert. When the registration of Births, Deaths and Marriages came into effect a number of people were illiterate and it depended on the Registrar how names were spelled. Gilbert may have been mispronounced to sound like Culbert.]

Culbert Hollow Spring, Cherokee, Alabama 35616
There is, or at least was, a Culbert County, Alabama, containing Sheffield and Muscle Shoals
Culbert Street, Livingston, Sumter County, Alabama
Culbert Street in Phoenix, Arizona
Culbert Street, Little Rock, Arkansas
Culbert P.O., Randolph Co., Georgia.  [In 1860 Census; Culbert and/or Cuthbert Post Office; 1870 Randolph County, Georgia, there at least to early 1900s.]
Culbert Street, Bainbridge, Decatur County, Georgia
Culbert Mine, Upson County, Georgia, U.S.A., c. 1943 [re. photo on EBay]
Double Culbert Cemetery, Fayette County, Kentucky [ref. Fayette County Genealogical Society Quarterly, Vol. 5, Issue 3, Fall 1990]
Culbert Zeigler Cemetery, 25197 Zeigler Cemetery Road, Livingston, Louisiana
Culbert Street in Matapan (Boston), Massachusetts.  [An inquiry sent to Public Works, Boston on 28 Sep 2004 had no response.]
Culbert Drive, Hastings, Michigan 49058
Culbert Road, between Hillsdale and Hudson, Hillsdale County, Michigan.

between Hillsdale and Hudson, Hillsdale County, Michigan, U.S.A.; image contributed by Margaret Forsythe

Culbert Road, Moss Point, Jackson County, Mississippi
Culbert Street in New York City, New York
Culbert's Hotel on Buffalo Avenue in the LaSalle neighborhood of Niagara Falls, New York
Culbert Street in Syracuse, New York
Culbert Street, Mount Airy, Surry County, North Carolina
Culbert school-house; located 2 miles east of Centerville, PA.  [Mentioned in connection with sermons preached there by Rev. Peter Sahm, after 1836, as part of the history of St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church, New Florence, PA.;  ref. History of the Pittsburgh Synod of the General Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, 1748-1845-1904, Burgess, Ellis Beaver, p. 158]
Culbert Street in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.  [Note: Moak's "Philadelphia Street Name Changes" had no listing for "Culbert"; 1859 Phila. directory on the web contains 7 listings for a street named "Culbert". Here is what I found for "Culbert": street addresses from "below third" to "2052"; intersections with "Canal", "Charlotte", and "Mechanic"]
Culbert Street, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
Culbert Branch Missionary Baptist Church, 647 Elko Street, Williston, South Carolina. (803) 266-4252
Culbert Beverage Company, Aberdeen, South Dakota; bottled ROBO drinks
Culbert Avenue, Sioux Falls, South Dakota
South Culbert Avenue, Tea, South Dakota 57064
Culbert Drive, Marion, Virginia

Culbert Drive, Marion, Virginia, U.S.A.; image contributed by Clarissa Culbert

Other Culbert Names
A bark, the M. H. Culbert, which operated at least from 1866-1867 [24][25]


  1. ^ "The Original Record, Surnames in England". Retrieved 19 Oct 2012.
  2. ^ "Name Origin Research". Retrieved 25 May 2016.
  3. ^ William Arthur, An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names: With an Essay on Their Derivation and Import, Gale Research Co., 1969
  4. ^ The Culbert Family Genealogy Project, James H. Culbert, Registration No. 4096, Guild of One-Name Studies
  5. ^ William Arthur, An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names: With an Essay on Their Derivation and Import, Gale Research Co., 1969
  6. ^ "Online Etymology Dictionary". Retrieved 1 August 2015.
  7. ^ "Online Etymology Dictionary". Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved 1 August 2015.
  8. ^ "Cuthbert". Retrieved 1 August 2015.
  9. ^ Mike Campbell. "Behind the Name: Meaning, origin and history of the name Cuthbert". Behind the Name. Retrieved 1 August 2015.
  10. ^ Edward MacLysaght, 1999, The Surnames of Ireland, 6th Ed., Irish Academic Press, Dublin, Ireland and Portland, Oregon, USA
  11. ^ The Culbert Family Genealogy Project, James H. Culbert, Registration No. 4096, Guild of One-Name Studies
  12. ^ Henry Harrison, Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary, Vols. 1 & 2., The Eaton Press, 190 Ebury Street, London, S.W,; 1912
  13. ^ Dr. George F. Black, 1946, Surnames of Scotland: Their Origin, Meaning and History, New York Public Library, 12th printing, 1999, p. 190, ISBN 0-87104-172-3
  14. ^ "House of Names". Retrieved 13 October 2016.
  15. ^ "England, Cheshire Parish Registers, 1538-2000". Retrieved 13 October 2016.
  16. ^ "England, Lancashire, Parish Registers 1538-1910". Retrieved 13 October 2016.
  17. ^ International Genealogical Index, 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.
  18. ^ "Message from Lesa Gibson Pfrommer". Retrieved 16 Apr 2013.
  19. ^ The Culbert Family Genealogy Project, James H. Culbert, Registration No. 4096, Guild of One-Name Studies
  20. ^ "All Published Record Collections —". Retrieved 1 August 2015.
  21. ^ David L. Word, Charles D. Coleman, Robert Nunziata and Robert Kominski, Demographic Aspects of Surnames from Census 2000," 2008, U.S. Census Bureau, compiled by Rhett A. Butler"Culbert". Retrieved 10 Jun 2016.
  22. ^ "Surnames of England and Wales - the ONS list". Retrieved 3 Jul 2016.
  23. ^
  24. ^ Philadelphia Daily Evening Bulletin, 14 Dec 1866, p. 1, col. 6, "Marine Bulletin, Port of Philadelphia, December 14, Arrived this day, Bark M. H. Culbert (Br), [Master?] Culbert, 7 days from Yarmouth NS [Nova Scotia] in ballast to Workman & Co."
  25. ^ Freemen's Journal, 18 Apr 1867, p. 4, col. 8, Pier head, Dublin, [By Telegraph], Queenstown Shipping, "On the 14th inst. the Culbert, having been pooped, the master was washed overboard and drowned, and the mate injured." The ship was traveling from Antwerp to Boston.

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