Recorded as Crab, Crabb, Crabbe and Crabtree (English and Scottish), Krabbe, Krebb, Krebbes, Krebes, Kreft, Kraft, and Krawt, (German and Jewish), this surname can be either topographical name for someone who lived at a crabtree orchard, or a medieval nickname. If the latter it described for someone with bandy legs whose gait or movement bore a fancied resemblance to a crab! The origination is from the pre 7th century word 'crabba' apparently of ancient Norse-Viking origins. The surname whilst first recorded in England as shown below, is also very early in both Germany with Johann Krabbe being so recorded in Hamburg in 1293, Erhard Krebs of Strasburg in 1371, and in Aberdeen, Scotland in 1310 with that of Paul Crab. Interestingly in the year 1319 King Edward 11nd of England made a complaint to King Robert, the Bruce, of Scotland (1306 - 1329), also known as the count of Flanders. It seems that an engineer called John Crab of Aberdeen was employed by 'the count of Flanders' to design and operate seige engines on behalf of the Scots. For some reason this annoyed the English, perhaps because they worked. However the reply was that he had already been banished for murder! This seems at best unlikely as Robert made or had already made, large grants of land to the Crab family, and it is said that his family were prominent in the affairs of Aberdeen during the succeeding centuries. The surname is a very early recording in England as shown below. Early examples of church recordings include Maria Crabe who was christened on January 31st 1557 at St. Andrews Enfield, in the county of Middlesex, Alice Crabb who married William Allard on January 14th 1563 at St. Nicholas Acons, city of London, and Christian Crab who married William Hamilton on February 13th 1629 in Edinburgh, Scotland. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Walter Crabbe. This was dated 1188 in the Pipe Rolls of Dorset, during the reign of King Henry 11nd of England, 1154 - 1189. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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