Craig Surname Genealogy

from the Scottish Gaelic word creag,
meaning “rocky hill,” from whence came the English word crag. As a
surname, it
might have come from the place-name of Craig, of which there have been
in Scotland, or be descriptive of someone who lived by a steep rocky

Craig Resources on

Craig Ancestry

Scotland. There
are more crags in the north of Scotland than in the Lowlands and the
history of the Craig surname has a northeast bias.

Highland. Early Craigs were from
Aberdeenshire. John of the Craig was said
to have led a
party of 300 men in the raiding at siege of Kildrumie castle at the
Battle of Culblean against the English in 1335. It
is thought
that this John was the Laird of the Craig of Auchindoir in
Aberdeenshire. By the next century the
line of the Craigs of Craigfintray
had begun. Their numbers

  • the
    Rev. John Craig, the
    famous churchman and colleague of John Knox in the 1500’s.
  • and
    Sir James Craig, one of the
    leading undertakers of the Ulster plantation in the 1600’s.

Craigs re-established themselves at the Edinburgh
estate of Riccarton in 1608.
in Aberdeenshire there were monuments to Thomas Craig who died in 1584
and William
Craig who died in 1617. The Craig name
also extended itself north into the Orkney isles
. But in recent times
the Craig presence in Aberdeenshire has been minimal

Lowland. Craig
also had Lowland origins. John del Crag
appeared at an early time in Ayrshire and Craigs from Mid and West
Lothian paid
homage to the English king in the Ragman’s Roll of 1296.

The Craig name had
become particularly common in Edinburgh by the 15th and 16th centuries. Craig House in Edinburgh dates from about
1565. The
Craig line of goldsmiths appears to have begun with Robert Craig in the
1500’s and extended to his son Adam who became a freeman after making
“piece of work in both gold and silver” in 1562. Robert
Craig and his brother John were
successful Edinburgh businessmen of the late 1600’s.
Robert’s grandson James was the architect
responsible for the layout of Edinburgh New Town in the 1760’s.

Glasgow has a larger Craig population
today. Andrew Craig was a merchant in
Glasgow in the late 1600’s. His son
William was a minister there and his grandson William a judge who was
made Lord

Ireland. Sir
James Craig
was granted lands in Ulster in 1610 and settled
many of his
kinsmen in the barony of Tullyhunco in county Cavan. Craigs also
moved elsewhere
in Ulster, in particular to Antrim, following the religious
upheavals in Scotland in the late 1600’s.
Many subsequently emigrated to America.

From the Craigs who remained came the Rev. Andrew Craig, a Presbyterian
minister in Lisburn who was a strong opponent of the United Irishmen
of the late 18th century; and James Craig, a whiskey magnate in Belfast
of the late 19th
century. His son was James Craig, later
Lord Craigavon, the leader of the Ulster Unionist Party and the first
Minister of Northern Ireland in 1921.

England. The Craig name extended into
England. Here the Craigs tended to have
Scottish antecedents. Two examples, both
born in Cheshire, are:

  • Ernest
    Craig, the Conservative politician for Crewe at
    the time of the First World War who was made a baronet in 1927. His forebear was John Craig of Burntisland in
    Fife in the 1820’s.
  • and
    Daniel Craig, the James Bond actor. His
    forebears on his father’s side were
    William Craig and Margaret Dunlop who were married in Ayr in 1817.

America. The Craigs who
emigrated to America were
mainly Scots Irish and they started coming in the 1720’s, with
Virginia and South Carolina being their primary destinations.

Pennsylvania. Among
the Craigs here were:

  • James
    Craig and his extended
    family from Ulster who settled in 1728 in Catasauga Creek in what
    became Northampton
    county. Their settlement was known as The
    Craigs and later as The Irish Settlement
    branch of this family settled in Bucks county.

  • John
    Craig, who arrived from county Down with
    his parents in Philadelphia in 1773 and worked there with his brother
    Henry as
    a cabinet maker. John and his wife Betty
    settled after the Revolutionary War in Fairview township, Butler county
    John helped build its first Presbyterian church.
  • various
    Craigs who made their home in Hopewell
    township, Washington county in the 1790’s.
  • and
    later in 1819 came Hugh Craig with his
    family from Fermanagh. They made their
    home in
    Armstrong township, Indiana county.

colonial accounts reveal some Craig problems with Indians.
In Franklin county, John Craig and his wife Isabel
of East Hanover township were scalped by Indians in 1756; Samuel Craig was killed by
Indians while on his way to Fort
Ligonier in 1777; while Daniel Craig of Washington county married the
widow of
Thomas Urie who had been murdered by Indians in 1790.

Virginia. Craig numbers here

  • the
    best-known probably, was the Rev. John
    , a Presbyterian minister from Antrim, who arrived in
    Augusta county in
    1740. He led the construction of the
    Augusta Old Stone Church.
  • William
    Craig and his family, also from Antrim, who had
    come to Pennsylvania earlier and settled in Augusta county in 1744.
    too was a Covenanter Presbyterian and tradition has him and his family
    helping in the building of the Stone Church.
  • James Craig, the son of William and Janet
    Craig, who migrated from Pennsylvania to Augusta county in 1740 where
    he became
    one of its largest landowners. Two of
    his sons George and William fought in the Revolutionary War.
  • John
    Craig who married Mollie Cox in Augusta county around 1760. One of their sons Robert was found dead,
    scalped by Indians, in 1794. From
    another son James came the Virginia politician Robert Craig, after whom
    county in Virginia was named. Robert
    died on his Green Hill estate near Salem in 1852.
  • and
    Hugh Craig from
    county Down who arrived in Chesterfield county around 1760. His sons acquired land there after the
    Revolutionary War and John Craig built the first house in the town of
    as well as a mill later. His grandson W.D.
    Craig donated the land to what became Craig Park in the 1930’s.

Craig, born in Virginia in the early
1700’s, was probably the result of an affair between a Scottish lass
named Jane
Craig and an Italian sea captain. He and
his sons Elijah, Lewis and Joseph were early converts to the Baptist
church. They departed with their followers to Kentucky as “the
church” in 1781. Another son Toliver Jr.
became a significant landowner in Kentucky and was elected to the state

. The landing point here was Charleston. In
the 1770’s John and James Craig from Antrim moved
to Laurens county where they helped found the Presbyterian church at
family came Robert Craig who moved with his wife Nancy to Georgia in
1821. He developed a large plantation at
in the years prior to the Civil War. Craigs
are still living at Lawrenceville

John had received the following commendation
from his church in Antrim before his departure:

Joseph Cumming certify that the bearer John
Craig and Ellen his wife are Protestants of the Presbyterian persuasion
and are
free of all public scandal or Church censure and, having a mind to
remove to
the province of South Carolina with their six children, are hereby
to all he may apply to as sober, honest people and worthy of
encouragement. Dated
at Ahoghill on this 6th day of November 1773.”

The family’s Craig House,
located three miles outside
of Lancaster in South Carolina, was built in the early 1830’s and still
stands. The Craig farm there remains in family

Canada. James
and Helen Craig arrived from Ayrshire in Scotland to Glengarry, Ontario
around the
year 1816. Their son James and grandson
both served in the Ontario assembly. Two
other sons were said to have left the area, William to Australia and
Hugh to California.

Many of the other Craigs in Canada were Scots
Irish from Ulster:

  • a
    Craig family from county
    Cavan arrived in two waves, in 1834
    and 1840
    , and settled in Carleton county
    of Ontario,
    making their home in North Gower township.
  • two
    brothers Robert and James Craig from Ballymena
    in Antrim, fleeing the potato famine, came to Walsingham in Norfolk
    county, Ontario
    in the late 1840’s.
  • and
    Craig who grew up in Antrim came to Ontario in the 1860’s.
    was the editor and owner of the Fergus
    which he had purchased with his brother Robert in 1869.

New Zealand. Joseph and
Agnes Craig from Paisley in Scotland came to Auckland with their family
on the Jane
in 1842. Joseph started out
as a
general merchant in the town. When he died
in 1885
his son

Joseph James inherited his merchant and cartage contracting business
expanded it greatly. For the next forty
years nearly every piece of cargo that arrived at the port of
Auckland was carted by a J.J. Craig horse and cart or

Craig built large premises on the city’s
wharves on Auckland Harbor and kept several hundred draught horses in
near the sea. In the 1890s there was an unprecedented demand for
in Australia and J.J. Craig built up an impressive fleet of sailing
ships to
carry wood across the Tasman Sea and bring back coal from New South

Craig came to Auckland from Ahoghill in county Antrim with his two
sisters in 1863

Craig Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for
further stories and accounts:

Craig Names

James Craig

was one of the leading Scottish undertakers of the Ulster plantation in
James Craig
was the 18th century Scottish architect primarily
responsible for the layout of the Edinburgh New Town.
James Craig
, later Lord Craigarvon,
became the first Prime Minister of Northern Ireland in 1921
Daniel Craig is an English
actor who is the present embodiment of James Bond in the Bond film

Select Craigs Today

  • 30,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in Glasgow)
  • 35,000 in America (most numerous in California)
  • 28,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada)



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