Monday, November 4, 2013

A Family Changes its Name

I had always "known" that my mother's family name was Crabtree, and the story went that the Crabtrees came to the New World from England, and entered in three places--Canada, New England, and in the American South. What I didn't know until I started exploring our family history is that the family of my mother's parents (and a few other close relatives) was actually called Crabb until the name was legally changed to Crabtree in 1910.

I found this so confusing. Was I looking at the wrong line of descent all along? If they were Crabbs, why were their ancestors called either Crabb or Crabtree? Sometimes the son of a Mr. Crabb would call himself Mr. Crabtree.

The best explanation that I can come up with is that all through the family history the name just changed back and forth. However, I still don't understand how they could believe that the original name of the family was Crabtree, as David Jewett Crabb's father, and grandfather, and great-grandfather were all Crabbs.

Here is the text of the legal document changing the family name to Crabtree, thanks to my cousin Duane Crabtree, who published it in his genealogy newsletter, The Crab Tree (255 Washington St., Arlington, Massachusetts 02174 U.S.), in 1981. I have put the names of my mother's immediate family in bold. (My mother wasn't born until 1914, four years after  this court proceeding).


STATE OF MAINE. To the Honorable, the Judge of the Probate Court, in and for the County of Piscataquis.

Respectfully represents Anna Crabb for herself; Wesley D. Crabb and Maud A. Crabb, his wife, for themselves and for Fern Crabb and Lincoln Crabb, their children; David J. Crabb and Edith R. Crabb, his wife, for themselves and for Alma A. Crabb, Clifford A. Crabb, Beecher H. Crabb, Jesse Crabb, and Hope E. Crabb, their children; Charles W. Crabb and Minnie P. Crabb, his wife, for themselves and for Eva P. Crabb, Iva A. Crabb, William Nelson Crabb, and Glenn A. Crabb, their children; and Everett E. Crabb; all of Dover in the County of Piscataquis and State of Maine, excepting said Wesley D. Crabb, his wife and children who are of Atkinson in said county; that they all desire to change their family name from Crabb to Crabtree for the following reasons:

The name Crabtree was the original family name and they have many relatives by that name and it creates some confusion by the members of the same family branch to be known by different names, wherefore they pray the name Crabb be changed to Crabtree in accordance with the above expressed desire.

Dated this first day of September A.D. 1910.

Sarah Anna Crabb
Wesley Dawson Crabb
Maud Ardel Crabb
David Jewett Crabb
Edith Ray Crabb
Charles William Crabb
Minnie Pearl Crabb
Everett E. Crabb

[The finding of the court follows].


At a Probate Court held at Dover, in and for said County of Piscataquis, on the fourth day of October in the year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and ten on the foregoing petition of Sarah Anna Crabb and others for the change of their name Crabb to Crabtree, notice thereon having been given in pursuant to Order of Court, a hearing having been held and the matter having been duly considered, IT IS DECREED that the prayer of said petitioners be granted; that the names of all parties above named be changed to Crabree which shall hereafter be their legal name.

And it is further ordered that a record of this decree be made and preserved in this Court.

Charles W. Hayes, Judge of Probate

1 comment:

  1. Minnie Pearl Crabb! I wonder if that combination of Minnie and Pearl is a common one.


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