Origins of the Crabb family name


The Crabb name and Earls Colne


We are descended from James CRABB, born in Earls Colne, Essex, England c. 1803.  Research indicates that James' parents were Thomas and Mary CRABB.  The following extract from the Earls Colne, St. Andrew's parish records shows that James was baptised on April 3rd 1803.



For more information on the village of Earls Colne visit the Discovering Earls Colne website.


Fortunately, Earls Colne has a well documented history.  The results of an amazing social anthropology project are available on a website hosted by Cambridge University. The website contains over 300 hundred years of history collected from contemporary documents such as Parish Records, Court Records and Census Records.  The personal diary of Ralph Josselin, the vicar of Earls Colne between 1641 and 1683, is also made available.


An elementary search of the Cambridge University database reveals that the name Crabb(e) appears in Earls Colne records dating back to the early 15th century. A summary of this information can be accessed from HERE.  This is a working document and all mistakes made in transcribing the source material are mine. 


Thomas Crabb

Research continues into the history of Thomas Crabb. Its possible that he and Mary lived outside the parish of Earls Colne and only James's baptism is recorded there.


The Records of Earls Colne show a Thomas Crabb being baptised on 2nd August 1792 when he was 24 years old. He married Elizabeth Webb on the same day. There is also an Earls Colne burial record for a Thomas Crabb dated 23rd April 1841, aged 77 years. If this is the same Thomas then it places his birth date between 1764 and 1768. No record of any Thomas Crabb being born within the Earls Colne parish has been found. Perhaps Elizabeth Webb is the mother of James and the name Mary on the baptism record for James is incorrect. However, there is no evidence to support this and, if Elizabeth was the mother of James, she would have been in her mid to late 40's when James was born.


James Crabb

We know that James travelled to London (the story is he walked to London to escape economic hardship). In London he met and married Ann KERFOOT (or KAREFOOT) on October 15th 1832 in the Parish of St. Andrew, Holborn in the City of London, in the county of Middlesex, where they were both residing.  Curate was W. P. Hooles and the witnesses were James Norris and George Hicks.  Both witnesses signed their names with an 'X' and their names were entered by the curate. Ann was born 1809/10 in Kings Cliffe, Northamptonshire.


James and Ann appeared in both the 1841 and 1851 census as living in a shared house at 21, Little Drummond Street, Parish of St. Pancras, District of Somers Town, Borough of Marylebone, London.


In the census of 1861 the family had moved to their own house at 16, Jockeys Fields, Parish of St. Andrews Holborn (Western Part), Finsbury. James  died in Q4 1870 aged 67 (death registered in Holborn). Wife Ann and remaining children were still living at 16, Jockeys Fields at the time of the 1871 census. Ann died in Q4 1873 aged 64 (death registered in West Ham). According to the census records of 1841, 1851, 1861 and 1871, James and Ann had at least eight children.