Crawford Surname Genealogy

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.

Crawford Resources on

Crawford Ancestry

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

  • 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
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
with McVities in the 1960’s

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 &

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
    , the Senator for Georgia and 1824 Presidential
    candidate, was
  • 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

Photos of the Crawford ranch in Oklahoma, dating back to 1877, are to
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
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
, 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

Select Crawford Miscellany

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

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.
Valancy Crawford, 
originally from Ireland, was a 19th
century Canadian poet.
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)



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