Research conducted for
Regarding the Culpepers and the East India Company
following is a summary of the research on the Culpepers and the East
India Company conducted by
Diane Rapaport, Historical/Genealogical Consultant, Quill Pen Historical
Consulting, Lexington, MA.
The full text of her Indian research is contained in her
Report dated March 11, 2012. For links to her other Culpeper
You requested I research Calendar
of State Papers, Colonial Series, W. Noel Sainsbury, ed.,
London: Longman, Green, Longman & Roberts, about a branch of the
Colepepers/Culpepers involved with the British East India Company,
Culpeper of India (b. abt. 1728, relocated to Madras, Tamil
Nadu, India abt. 1750, m. Sarah abt. 1755 or Joanna abt. 1757, son
Charles, b. abt. 1758.
The Calendar of State Papers includes abstracts of
manuscripts from the Public Record Office in England. In the
Colonial Series, Volumes 2-4, 6, 8 relate to the East Indies, China
and Japan. No entries for Culpeper (or spelling variants) found in
Volume 3 (1617-1621),
Volume 6 (1625-1629), or
Volume 8 (1630-1634). A
List of the East Indies series suggests that Volume 8 is the the
last volume dealing with the East Indies, China and Japan. However,
in those early volumes, I found mention of a Thomas
Culpeper and William Culpeper, London merchants
apparently involved in 1612 in a company searching for the Northwest
passage. I also found a William Culpepper in the 1624 court minutes
of the East India Company:
26 Jul 1612 (#616)
document listing "Thos. Culpeper" and "Wm. Culpeper"
among people included in "a body corporate and politic by the name
of the ‘Governor and Company of the Merchants of London, discoverers
of the North-west passage.’" (Source: Vol. 2, 1513-1616,
Internet Archive, See
p239 ("Thos. Culpeper" in middle of second column),
p240 (Wm. Culpeper" in upper third of third column), and
It might appear from the brief excerpt above
that the the English had discovered The Northwest Passage,
However, a full reading of all four pages makes it clear that
this group was organized to fund the discovery of the passage
and to secure for its organizers the right to collect customs
duties from anyone using the passage.
Most likely, Wm. Culpeper was the
William Culpeper (1588-1651) who in 1604 inherited his
father's estate at Preston Hall. In 1627, he was created a
Baronet by Charles I. In our family tree he is referred to as "Sir
William Culpeper of Preston Hall in Aylesford, Kent, 1st Baronet"
Thos. Culpeper could have been
The Northwest Passage:
"Between the end of the 15th century and the 20th century,
colonial powers from Europe dispatched explorers in an attempt
to discover a commercial sea route north and west around North
America... In 1493, to defuse trade disputes, Pope Alexander VI
split the discovered world in two between Spain and Portugal.
Thus France, the Netherlands, and England were left without a
sea route to Asia, either via Africa or South America, unless
their ships defied the ban and explored such waters regardless
(they did, and the ban became unenforceable). England called the
hypothetical northern route the "Northwest Passage". The desire
to establish such a route motivated much of the European
exploration of both coasts of North America. When it became
apparent that there was no route through the heart of the
continent, attention turned to the possibility of a passage
through northern waters... In 1906, Roald Amundsen first
successfully completed a path from Greenland to Alaska... [Source:
Wikipedia contributors, "Northwest
Passage," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, (accessed
March 25, 2012)].
22-24 Nov 1624
(#687) – In "Court Minutes of the East India Company": "Wm.
Culpepper having sent over from Danzig for the Company 190
barrells of gunpowder and 25 ‘fatts’ of salpetre; ordered that the
Council of War be petitioned for leave to Mr. Evelyn to make the
saltpeter into powder for the Company’s use." Source: Vol.
Searchable text. See screenshot:
Most likely, this Wm. Culpeper was the
same William Culpeper as the one identified above in connection
with the 1612 document.
The Calendar of State Papers, Colonial Series,
re: the East Indies, ended with the volume ending 1634. Therefore, I
searched briefly for other sources of records about the East India
Company for the time period of interest, and I learned that the British
Library in London has extensive records. While most of those records
appear to be available only for research in London, the website did
allow some online searching, and I located a citation about the baptism
of an Edmund Culpepper, 13 Feb 1779, in Madras.
Ethel Bruce Sainsbury, A Calendar of the
Court Minutes Etc. of the East India Company, 1635-1639 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1907), available at
Internet Archive. No index entries for Culpeper, etc.
Calendar of Indian State Papers, Secret Series:
Fort William, 1774-75 (Calcutta: Govt.
of India, 1864), available at
Internet Archive, Not indexed. No Culpeper, etc. entries
found through search function.
London. See their web pages at
India Office Hub and
India Family Research for much detail about sources. One of the
sources identified at this website is:
India Office Family History Search Database,
which contains over 300,000 records of British and European
residents in India between 1600 and 1947. I searched for
Culpeper, Culpepper, Colepeper, etc., and the only early entry
(before the 1900s) was:
baptism, 13 Feb 1779, in Madras; father Charles; notes "illeg.,"
transcribed by British Library; reference N/2/1 f.398.
screenshot of record details, and
information for ordering a copy of the record)
02 Jan 2015