The Virginia Culps

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Surname/tag: Virginia_Culp
Profile manager: David Culp private message [send private message]
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The goal of this project is to attempt to connect the Culps of the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, including Henry Culp, Michael Culp and John Culp, who are thought to have been brothers. Paper records of the time show these men listed in militia rolls and tax lists, but no records tie them together. I'm hoping DNA can be used to do this since the paper trail seems to have dried up.

I am David Culp, a descendant of Henry Culp (1762-1844) who left the Shenandoah Valley around 1805 and moved to Fairfield County, Ohio, just north of Lancaster.

Michael Culp (1755-1828) left the Shenandoah Valley and moved to Columbiana County, Ohio. Many of his descendants later removed to Elkhart, Indiana. Many were Mennonites.

John Culp has left no trail. The last record I see of him is a tax list in Rockingham County, Virginia wherein he is listed as "over the mountain". Attached as Image #3 is one family story regarding John Culp - no sources are provided. In this story John Culp is from a long line of Virginia Culp/DeKalb residents.

I've seen three different theories as to who the parents of these men might be, but none of them provides evidence. For that reason I'm going to ignore those theories and just focus on the Culp men themselves. The idea that they were brothers is itself only a theory. This why we need to gather DNA evidence.


Three of the male-line descendants of Henry Culp and one descendant of Michael Culp have tested Y-DNA. They match well in the haplogroup I1 (I-M253). The STR results can be seen at the "Kolb Culp Surname Project": I've attached a Y Chart which graphically shows how the Y-DNA results relate to the Culp paternal lines for the Virginia Culps.

I've seen no Y-DNA testers from the presumed John Culp line.

Note that although the Henry and Michael descendants match well this does not prove that Henry and Michael were brothers. They could have been cousins. What is proven is that they shared a common paternal-line ancestor in genealogical time.

One other thing we learn from the Y-DNA results at FTDNA is that there were at least four unrelated Culp/Kolb/Kulp lineages. There have been genealogists researching these families over the past century who have tried to connect them together, but the effort is futile as they were not related on the paternal lines.

Autosomal DNA:

Living cousins of these men (assuming they were actually brothers) would be sixth cousins or thereabouts. This puts us near the limits of what autosomal DNA can provide, but if we work together I believe we can build a "preponderance of evidence" case for the 3 men being brothers. Of course this would never constitute proof, but that's OK.

Here is a welcome letter for the project which provides some more background:

A screenshot of the actual project is shown here. The testers' names have been scrubbed for privacy.

Will you join me? Please post a comment here on this page, in G2G using the project tag, or send me a private message. Thanks!

Stories of the Virginia Culp deep history:

One story is told by Simon P. Culp (1861-1936) and appears in "A Standard History of Elkhart County, Indiana", Vol. II, pub. 1916, page 919. "He [Simon] is descended from one of four brothers who came to America about 1720. Three of these brothers were preachers in the Mennonite Church. His great-grandfather, Michael Culp, was born in Virginia, and moved with his family to Fayette County, Pennsylvania, and thence to Mahoning County, Ohio, where he spent his last days."

This story is similar to another I've heard except the number of brothers was six and the year of immigration to Virginia was in the late 1600's.

I've hosted a research paper on the deep history of the Virginia Culps here: [1]

Comments: 10

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I have the test results. I would upload but looks to be incompatible with iPad.
posted by Melvin Calp
It would be best to join the "Kolb Culp Surname Project" at FamilyTreeDNA first. That way the results can be easily compared with the other lineages.

posted by David Culp
How does Henry Calp play into this? I just started doing my research but I’ve hit a brick wall when it comes to Henry Calp (Kolb)circa 1785 Hesse-Cassel.

Melvin Calp Jr. / Melvin Calp Sr. / Albert F. Calp / Louis F. Calp / John Fredrick Calp / John Lewis Calp / Henry Calp

posted by Melvin Calp
I've not heard of this Calp line before. Do you know if a male Calp has tested Y-DNA? That test would show if the Calp paternal line matches up with any of the Culp/Kolb/Kulp families. I just checked at FTDNA and there is no Calp Surname Project yet, and there are no Calp's in the Kolb-Culp project yet.
posted by David Culp
I will be taking a DNA test once it arrives. I will gladly share to see if the lineage matches.

Thank you

posted by Melvin Calp
Thank you, Melvin. Which test? The entry-level test, Y37, may be sufficient for this purpose. In any case the upgrade options are reasonably priced in the event you want greater depth of testing.
posted by David Culp
There is a family story in some Culp families that the Culp's of Fairfield County, Ohio, who came to Ohio from Virginia, had been in Virginia for a long time - since the late 1600's. In this family story the father of John Culp (and by extension Henry and Michael?) is thought to be Christian DeKalb or Christian Culp. Here's a link to a tree showing this theory: link. I've heard this story once before. Apparently there is no evidence to support it, but it would help explain why there is no evidence connecting the Culp brothers to a Pennsylvania Culp/Kolb clan.
posted on The Virginia Culp's (merged) by David Culp
Here's a link to the family story mentioned above: Pedigree chart. As you can see, the dates of birth on the Culp line don't look possible, which casts doubt on the whole story.
posted on The Virginia Culp's (merged) by David Culp
edited by David Culp
I had previously started an autosomal DNA project in order to provide some support for the family of Henry Culp (1762-1844). The list of his children is based on thin, and a bit contradictory, evidence. This autosomal DNA project is just a spreadsheet. So far only my brother and I have participated. What I'd like to do is send the spreadsheet around to other descendants of Henry, Michael and John, and have them add their autosomal info to it. Let me know if you're interested.
posted on The Virginia Culp's (merged) by David Culp
I've attached two images. One is a screenshot of the current Y-STR results at the Culp Surname Project. This shows the two "Henry Culp" testers grouped together in haplogroup I1.

The other image is a screenshot of my ThruLine results at ancestryDNA. Thrulines doesn't see all the connections, but I've included this screenshot to illustrate what clustering can do to intimate connections. If you do your clustering the old-fashioned way, by taking notes on each DNA match, you'll come up with many more connections. I actually have 74 matches in my Henry Culp cluster and 32 in my Michael Culp cluster. The match who is shown under John Henry Culp is a mistake - he belongs under Michael Culp, and I don't know where the John Henry Culp name comes from.

posted on The Virginia Culp's (merged) by David Culp