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 History of
Culpepper Connections!

By Warren Culpepper

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Our Purposes for the Site

  1. Share and facilitate genealogical research on the Culpepper family, helping as many present-day Culpepper descendants as possible easily find their ancestry.
  2. Help modern day Culpepper cousins to get to know one another.
  3. Recognize and honor interesting and notable Culpeppers.
  4. Have fun.
  5. Or, in other words, to be "storytellers of the tribe," as explained later on this page.

How it Got Started

Since 1976, Lew Griffin (a great-grandson of Clarissa E. Culpepper) has made Genealogy a serious hobby. In the process, he's identified over 14,000 descendants of his ancestors, John and Nancy Gillespie Culpepper.

In late 1997, another Culpepper researcher, Atlanta attorney Fred Gleaton, contacted me when he realized that I was the President of the company which held the culpepper.com domain name. He wanted to know whether I had any interest in genealogy.

I told Fred what I knew about my Culpepper ancestors, and he put me in touch with Lew who quickly told me where I fit in. I was amazed by the depth and breadth of information that Lew seemed to have, and my interest in further pursuing my roots was launched.

Over the next four months, Lew and I had an on-going exchange of e-mails in which we discovered that we each had something that would be of value to the other.

I had become quite interested in creating a Culpepper web site, and while I had an existing web site for my business and could easily add a separate genealogy website on our web server, I knew it would take years to gather enough data to make it worth while. And besides, I couldn't imagine living long enough to ever gather the amount of Culpepper information that Lew had so painstakingly accumulated.

Lew, on the other hand, had an enormous amount of data, but was so involved with gathering more, organizing what he had, and answering the questions of countless other Culpepper researchers, (not to mention trying to pursue his non-Culpepper lines) he had little time to launch and maintain a site, even though he had been quite interested in doing so for some time.

It didn't take long for each of us to realize that working together was the solution, and on April 19, 1998 Culpepper Connections! went live.

When launched, Lew provided the initial genealogical database as well as a large amount of the supplemental historical and archival data. I provided the computer servers and Internet linkage, and built the initial web site,

Since the launch, the on-going genealogical research has become a collaborative effort. Both Lew and I make periodic visits to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City to further our research, and I have also made numerous research trips around the southeastern US and to England.

Most of the information in our family tree database is still based upon the work of Lew and he is still quite active in maintaining our family tree, and has added most of the photographs.

I compiled and organized our information on the English and Barbados lines, added considerably to the names and quality of information throughout the family tree through building the Archives section of this website, and do most of the ongoing maintenance. I also head up our DNA project.

Many contributors and other interested parties have provided information on their particular families. (We would welcome information on your branch of the family. If you would like to submit your Culpepper family data for publication, please see Sending Us Information.)

Warren Culpepper, a fourth generation Atlantan, with his Golden Retrievers, Rusty (10 weeks) and Peggy in August 2007.

Lew Griffin lives in Phoenix, but the cap suggests his allegiance is still in the state of his birth.

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Storytellers of the Tribe
By an unknown author, provided to Culpepper Connections by Debbie Williams, and slightly edited by Warren Culpepper.

In each family there are one or two who seem called to find the ancestors. To put flesh on their bones and make them live again, to tell the family story and to feel that somehow they know and approve. Doing genealogy is not a cold gathering of facts but, instead, breathing life into all who have gone before. We are the storytellers of the tribe. All tribes have one. We have been called, as it were, by our genes. Those who have gone before cry out to us, "Tell our story!" So, we do.

In finding them, we somehow find ourselves. How many graves have I stood before now and cried? I have lost count. How many times have I told the ancestors, "You have a wonderful family; you would be proud of us." How many times have I walked up ...to a grave and felt somehow there was love there for me? I cannot say. It goes beyond just documenting facts. It goes to who am I and why do I do the things I do.

It goes to seeing a cemetery about to be lost forever to weeds and indifference and saying, "I can't let this happen." The bones here are bones of my bone and flesh of my flesh. It goes to doing something about it. It goes to pride in what our ancestors were able to accomplish, how they contributed to what we are today. It goes to respecting their hardships and losses, their never giving in or giving up, their resoluteness to go on and build a life for their family. It goes to deep pride that the fathers fought and some died to make and keep us a Nation. It goes to a deep and immense understanding that they were doing it for us.

It is of equal pride and love that our mothers struggled to give us birth. Without them we could not exist, and so we love each one, as far back as we can reach. That we might be born who we are. That we might remember them. So we do. With love and caring and scribing each fact of their existence, because we are they and they are the sum of who we are. So, as a scribe called, I tell the story of my family. It is up to that one called in the next generation to answer the call and take my place in the long line of family storytellers. That is why I do my family genealogy, and that is what calls those young and old to step up and restore the memory or greet those whom we had never known before.

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Ten Keys to the Site's Favorable Reception

Many visitors have said we have created a very helpful website. To the extent that we have, I would guess that each of the following have contributed to that:

  1. Lew is a very thorough and conscientiousness researcher who has worked on Culpepper family history for most of his adult life.

  2. Warren. I have been blessed with good technical, marketing and writing skills, I had access to my company's web servers and technical support, and I like to make things happen.

  3. Teamwork. Lew and I work well together, have become good friends, and our talents complement each other. Plus, since we're both now retired, we have ample time to spend on this.

  4. Dedication to making the site reliable and improving it over time. While the information in this site is the best that we have been able to come up with from years of research, it is far from flawless. Descendancy in some cases is based on circumstantial evidence, not absolute proof. Our research is ongoing, and as with every large-scale genealogical project, there is no doubt that some of our theories and conclusions will change over time.

  5. DNA Project. In 2007, we launched the Culpepper Family DNA project to help confirm or modify, as appropriate, the findings and theories of our paper-based genealogical research published on this website.

  6. Biographies and Photographs. Wherever possible, we have included ancestral biographies, obituaries and photographs. Our objective is to make our ancestors real folks, and not just names, dates and places.

  7. Openness. Many researchers prefer to restrict access to their findings to a select few. Many would also like to recover some of their costs by charging membership fees. While those are valid approaches, we've elected to freely publish on the Web everything which we think is pertinent.

  8. Many Other Contributors. Our openness has encouraged over two thousand other family members to collaborate with us and provide additional information on their part of the family. We encourage anyone interested in a particular branch of the family to make the effort to document each generation of their direct line themselves. If any errors are found in the following material, we want to know so that we can correct them for the benefit of other researchers.

  9. Relatedness. Essentially all Caucasian Culpeppers appear to be related, and their total number (about 20,000) is not too large to manage. I am sure there must be some other surnames like ours, but I am not personally aware of another this large which has a single progenitor for the vast majority of its worldwide members.

  10. Citation of Sources.  Not every name and event has a source citation, but most do and we place a very high priority on using primary sources when possible and in citing sources in a way that others can verify our information.

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If you're interested in further details, see:

bulletLew Griffin
bulletOther Contributors
bullet Culpepper and Associates, Inc.
bullet Technical Details (Software and Website)

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Last Revised: 02 Jan 2015

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Culpepper Connections! The Culpepper Family History Site