Select Crawford Surname Genealogy

The Crawford surname takes its name from the barony of Crawford in Lanarkshire (Crawford also appeared as a place name in Lancashire and Dorset, but with less significance).  One root of the word in Scotland is said to be the Gaelic cru or "bloody" and ford or "ford" and may signify an early site of battle.  Alternatively "craw" could have come from the Lowland Scots craw or "crow." 

The spelling may appear as Crawford, Crawfurd or Craufurd in Scotland, but mostly Crawford elsewhere.

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Select Crawford Ancestry

Scotland.  The surname came from the place name of Crawford in the upper ward of Clydesdale in Lanarkshire.  Tradition has it that a Sir George Crawford saved King David I from a wild stag in the park of Holyrood Abbey in 1127.  A daughter married David Lindsay whose descendants became the Earls of Crawford and Balcarres. 

Thyere were various subsequent Crawford lines:
  • the Crawfords of Auchinames in Renfrewshire and the Craufords of Craufurdland in Lanarkshire descend from Sir Reginald Crawford the Sheriff of Ayr in the early 1300's. 
  • a third line, the Crawfords of Kilburnie in Ayrshire, emerged around 1500. 
  • while Thomas Crawford of Jordanhill attracted national attention in 1571 with his storming of Dumbarton Castle against the forces of Mary, Queen of Scots.
The Crawford biscuit business started in 1813 with William Crawford opening a little shop in Leith near Edinburgh.  The business remained small until 1897 when Williamís sons James and Archibald established a large biscuit-making factory in Liverpool.  Sir Douglas Crawford inherited this business and it remained under family control until the merger with McVities in the 1960ís.

Ireland.  George Crawford was one of the fifty Scottish undertakers of the Ulster plantation.  As a son-in-law of the chief undertaker, Andrew Stewart, he was granted 1,000 acres of land in county Tyrone. Although he sold the property within ten years, many of the Crawfords he brought over from Scotland remained.  They settled in Antrim, Fermanagh, Down, and as far west as Donegal.

Andrew Crawford took possession of land in county Down around 1625.  This land, the Crawfordburn estate, stayed with the family until 1947.  One branch of this family were founders of the brewing firm of Beamish & Crawford in Cork in the 1790's.  

England.  The Crawford name in England, generally of Scottish origin, was mainly to be found in the north - in Lancashire, Durham, and Yorkshire. 

The Crawford Arms crops up as a pub name in Wigan.  The Earls of Crawford were landowners and, by the late 1700's, industrialists there.  Crawford was also a name in Durham mining history.  William Crawford was Secretary of the Durham Miners' Association and rose to become MP for Durham in 1885.

.  Early Crawfords, either Scots or Scots-Irish, entered via Virginia mainly. 
  • John Crawford had arrived with his son David from Ayrshire in 1643 and they became landowners and tobacco farmers.  John was killed during Bacon's rebellion of 1676.  David survived.  This family later built their home at Tusculum in Amherst county.  It was here that William H. Crawford, the Senator for Georgia and 1824 Presidential candidate, was born.  
  • another Crawford family settled in Grayson county, Virginia.  A descendant, Dr. George Crawford, was an early pioneer in Oregon. 
  • and a William Crawford from Orange county, Virginia was a combatant in the Revolutionary War.  But he was brutally tortured and burnt at the stake by Indians before the war was over.
Colonel John Crawford settled in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  Robert and Catherine Crawford of this family lived through the oil boom times of NW Pennsylvania in the late 19th century.  Herbert Crawford, the President of the Crawford Coal Company, was a well-known mining man in West Virginia in the early 20th century.  His forebears had originally come to Pennsylvania from Scotland.

A Crawford family in the South traces back to William Crawford who had arrived as a young boy in Charleston, South Carolina in 1779.  Many Crawfords later moved onto Georgia and then to Texas.  Those who made it to Texas included:
  • William Carrol Crawford, who was the last surviving signer of the Texas Declaration of Independence.
  • ET Crawford and his five brothers, cotton farmers who settled in Panolo county.
  • Jesse and Hannah Crawford, who settled in Nacogdoches county.
  • William H. and Charles F. Crawford, sons of Jesse Crawford, who settled in Tyler county.
  • William Nelson Crawford, who moved to Texas in the 1840's and after whom Crawford in McClennan county is probably named.
  • Thomas and Martha Crawford, who arrived in Texas in the 1860's.  Their son Lewis later took over their cattle ranch in Day county, Oklahoma.
Photos of the Crawford ranch in Oklahoma, dating back to 1877, are to be found at the Dickinson Research Center of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City.

In 1827 John Crawford had migrated west from Kentucky to Missouri where he started a farm along Spring Fork Creek.  His son James, born there, enlisted in the Union army in the Civil War and later moved with his wife Margaret to Colorado.  He built a small cabin there near the Yampa river in 1876.  It was the first permanent structure in what became Steamboat Springs.  His family established the first school, the first library and the first newspaper for the community.

Canada.  Perhaps the first Crawford arrival was the Empire Loyalist William Redford Crawford who had fought on the British side in the Revolutionary War and later operated as a merchant in Kingston, Ontario.  His family had been in America since 1672 when they had settled in Middletown, New Jersey.

Scots and Scots-Irish Crawfords entered via New Brunswick and Nova Scotia in the early decades of the 19th century.  James Crawford, for instance, came in 1820 and was granted land in Goshen settlement.  John and Margaret Crawford settled in Pokenshaw, New Brunswick in the 1840's.  A Crawford descendant, Samuel Crawford, was a farmer in Queens county at the turn of his century and left his diary, The Country Diary of Samuel Crawford, which was published in 1988.

Australia and New Zealand.  Edward Crawford had set up a brewery in Hindmarsh, Adelaide in the 1840's. His business failed and he moved onto Victoria where he ended his life in relative poverty.  But his grandson Sidney Crawford later succeeded in the motor trade and ended up as one of Australia's most progressive businessmen in the post-war era.  

James Coutts Crawford came to New Zealand in 1839 and, based in Wellington, became a noted explorer and geologist there.  A later arrival, from Ireland, was William Crawford who had a varied career as a storekeeper, brewer, photographer, and was, in 1877, the first mayor of Gisborne near Auckland.      

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

Select Crawford Names

Sir William Crawford
fought with William Wallace in the wars for Scottish independence against the English in 1298.
George Crawfurd
was the Scottish historian who wrote The History of the Family of the Stuarts in 1710.
William H. Crawford was US Secretary of the Treasury from 1816 to 1825 and a candidate for US President in 1824.
William Sharman Crawford was a radical politician from county Down who founded what was to become the Tenant League of Ireland.
Isabella Valancy Crawford,  originally from Ireland, was a 19th century Canadian poet. 
Joan Crawford the Hollywood actress was born Lucille Fay LeSueur.
Wynter Crawford was a Barbadian publisher and politician who was instrumental in his country's rise to independence in 1966.
Michael Crawford is an English actor and singer, best known for his performance in The Phantom of The Opera.
Cindy Crawford has adorned more magazine covers than any other model in history.

Select Crawfords Today
  • 30,000 in the UK (most numerous in Lanarkshire)
  • 56,000 in America (most numerous in Texas)
  • 32,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada)

PS.  You might want to check out the surnames page on this website.  It covers surname genealogy in this and companion websites for more than 800 surnames.

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