Abbeville Alabama 1910

Abbeville Alabama 1910

Monday, December 2, 2013

The Secrets behind our family name

This story isn't one of a distant relative.  This story is about my grandfather.  Herbert Thomas Crippen (Sterling).

My Grandparents Marie Estelle Preston and Herbert Thomas Crippen

Now I know that you've noticed I added Sterling in parentheses, let me explain.  My grandfather's parents were Laura Corbin of Princess Anne Maryland and George Crippen of Accomack Virginia married in 1902, 10 years later on January 8th, 1912 in Princess Anne Maryland the 4th of  8 surviving children "Herbert Thomas Crippen" was born.   The story passed down is that George was actually my grandfathers step dad.  His real father is a white man that went by the last name Sterling.  What was this relationship or non-relationship between Laura and the Sterling guy?  Sterling was said to be a Sheriff or hold some office in law.  There was even an incident where my grandfather had to make a delivery or something to the Sterling family's house and the mother saw him and said "What is your name?"  He answered, "Herbert Crippen" and she replies "Oh yes, I know who you are."     (What was that about? mmmmhhhh?)


Laura Corbin-Crippen
Herbert's mother
I don't know the situation with Laura and George Crippen.  I've only see him in one census with her and that was in 1910 before my grandfather was born, she had other children after my grandfather and George is not in any other documentation with her or the younger siblings.  So where is George Crippen?  I have seen George Crippen's name in other documentation with other families, is this the same George Crippen?  I don't know.  Are my grandfather's younger siblings Crippen's since George wasn't in the picture?  

Griffin should be Crippen.
Also listed my grandfather's 3 older siblings and my Uncle Theodore Corbin, Laura's brother and  his wife.

My Aunt Louise my grandfathers older sister,  in a conversation with my mom one day while at the casino gave some interesting information.  My mother was at the counter redeeming a prize and the lady behind the counter checked her license and saw the name Crippen, she also was a Crippen and was surprised because she never met any other Crippens, well that's what she told my mother.  So my mother said "We'll my husband is the Crippen, but I have a true Crippen right here pointing her towards my Aunt Louise.  So, the lady begins to ask my aunt questions and my aunt replied,  she really didn't know too much about her dad and his family and the Crippen side.  So that was pretty much the end of the conversation and she went back to her counter.   

My Aunt Louise later said to my mother, "I didn't want to say anything but I heard that there were 3  sets of Crippen's".  I suppose all stemming from George.  I guess that is too embarrassing to tell a stranger as its a little awkward blogging about it.  But as genealogist we all know that every family has its secrets and the only way we can ever truly know who's who is to talk about it and tell the truth.  It really makes you question what other secrets there are.  Now I have an idea why our ancestors don't like to give information and don't want to speak on the past.  (Below are my grandfather's siblings.  Charles Crippen not shown)


Mary Crippen

Harold Crippen

Howard Crippen

Hawthorne Crippen

Louise Crippen

Henry Crippen


I haven't started to research the Sterling name yet, because I was raised as a Crippen. We were never raised around or known of any other Crippen's except for my grandfathers siblings and their decendants.  We don't know any older family on the Crippen side except for George, but still, raised a Crippen.  I've thought about searching the Sterling's but not really sure if I want to know about them yet, even though that is my heritage, I might not like what I find.  

 I know of Laura Corbin and the Corbin ancestors,  I will blog about the Corbin family from Princess Anne Maryland, Snowhill, Salisbury and Philadelphia PA at another time.