Select Cross Genealogy

The Cross surname appears to have been topographical, describing someone who lived near a stone cross (kross in Old Norse) by a roadside or in a marketplace.  From the Latin crux it may also have had Christian cross connotations.  However, the usual word for someone who carried the cross in church processions was Crozier. 

Early spellings were de Crucem in Lincolnshire and de Cruce in Oxfordshire in the 1273 rolls.  Crosse and Cross later emerged as surnames.  The Crosse spelling has faded away, although Edmond Crosse did give his name to the Crosse & Blackwell food brand in the 19th century

Select Cross Resources on The Internet

Select Cross Ancestry

EnglandHenry Guppy in his 1890 book Homes of Family Names in Great Britain had the following to say about the Cross surname:

“Rare or absent in the northern counties and in the south coast counties.  Mostly confined to the east centre of England and to the adjacent coast counties between the Wash and the Thames.”

In this case he probably got it wrong.  The 1891 census showed almost 20% of the Crosses in England were to be found in the county of Lancashire.  History also supported these Cross numbers in Lancashire.

.  A Crosse family, thought to have originated in Wales, appeared at Aught near Wigan in the early 1200's.  Richard del Crosse came to Liverpool in the early 1400's.  His son John Crosse was mayor of Liverpool in 1469. 
The family then held Crosse Hall in Liverpool and Chorley and the Ledsham manor in Cheshire.

The John Crosse name recurred in Liverpool over the 16th and 17th centuries.   They were for a time a Catholic recusant familyThey then took the oath of abjuration and had their property and status restored to them. Descendant lines were:
  • the Red Scar line in Preston, from whom came R.A. Cross, the British Home Secretary in the 1870’s.  
  • a branch of the family at Eccle Riggs in Broughton-in-Furness.
  • and there were also Crosses at Shaw Hill near Chorley.  
Unrelated was the Cross family of Bolton.  This descended from a Scotsman named William Cross who had come south in 1785 and made his home in Nantwich, Cheshire.  His grandson John married into the Kynaston cotton-spinning family.  Their son John Kynaston Cross inherited the family business and later became an MP for Bolton.

.  There was another early Crosse family, this one based at Charlinch in Somerset.  Their numbers included:
  • Sir William Crosse who was killed at the Battle of Agincourt in 1415
  • Sir Robert Cross who fought with both Drake and Raleigh and was knighted in 1602 for his heroism at the time of the Spanish Armada.  
  • while Crosses of the next generation departed for America (New England and maybe Maryland).   
By this time the Crosse family back in Somerset had moved to Fyne Court in Broomfield.  Andrew Crosse, known to locals in the early 19th century as Wizard Crosse, was an amateur scientist with a particular interest in electricity.  Ironically, the main hall of Fyne Court burned down in 1894 after his death.

.  The Cross name figured in the fenland town of Ely in Cambridgeshire.  One family record there dated back to 1669 and the Ely baptism record for Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas and Ann Cross.  During the 19th century Frederick Cross opened a bakery and confectionery shop, from which later came Ely’s first tea room.  Another family line began with the marriage of Thomas Cross and Mary Butty in Ely in 1828.

  The Cross name in Scotland is associated mostly with Glasgow.  Robert Cross was one of five sugar merchants working in the 1670’s in the Gallowgate area of Glasgow.  William Cross was a seed merchant there in the 1830’s.  His grandson Sir Alexander Cross started the Cross Trust in 1943 “to encourage young people of Scottish birth or parentage to extend the boundaries of their knowledge of human life.”

  The Cross name in Ireland was an English implant, found primarily in Cork and Armagh: 
  • Colonel Sylvester Cross, said to have been a Manxman, arrived with the English invaders in 1599.   He was the father of Epinetus Cross, a Cork merchant who served as High Sheriff of Cork in 1680 and made his home at Carrigrohane castle. 
  • while there was another Cross family in Armagh, beginning in Tynan parish around 1611.  Their home was Dartan Hall.  Maxwell Cross of this family served as High Sheriff of Armagh in 1847.
AmericaRobert and John Cross, possibly related, departed Ipswich in England for the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1634 – Robert on the John & Mary and John with his wife Anne on the Elizabeth.
  • Robert made his home in Ipswich, Massachusetts where he farmed.  He had his problems with the law.  His son Stephen, a mariner, gave his name to Cross Island off the Massachusetts coastline.
  • while John settled in Methuen, Massachusetts.  Eight generations of Cross were said to have lived in his home there.  
Another John Cross, from Suffolk, arrived in Wells, Maine in 1643.  He and his son John were killed by Indians in 1676.

MarylandWilliam Crosse came to Talbot county, Maryland from London in 1663.  He was by some accounts a hundred years of age when he died in 1679.  His descendants settled in Baltimore in the early 1700’s.

John Crosse came as an indentured servant to Baltimore county, Maryland in 1685.  Almost a hundred years later, in 1772, four Cross brothers - Abraham, Elijah, William and Zachariah - left Maryland for what would become Sullivan county, Tennessee.

Zachariah did not stay long.  He had married Easter Johnston, the niece of Daniel Boone, and moved to Kentucky.  One other branch, descendants of Abraham, also settled in Kentucky, arriving there after the Civil War.  Others remained.  Elijah’s son the Rev. W.K. Cross became known as the Pioneer Mountain Parson of Tennessee.

.  Early Crosses in Australia were convicts – John Cross from Wiltshire on the First Fleet (the Alexander) in 1788 and Charles Cross from Somerset on the Second Fleet (the Neptune) in 1790.  Both received their conditional pardons, farmed and raised families:
  • John Cross settled in the Hawkesbury area of NSW.  John’s son David, born in 1799, built the Victoria Inn at Wiseman’s Ferry.  He outlived his son John Cross who tragically died on the Hawkesbury river in 1859.
  • Charles Cross meanwhile married in Parramatta six months after his arrival in Australia, one of the earliest convict marriages there.  He farmed in Wilberforce, NSW.  He and his wife Rose raised six children there.  Charles died in 1835 at the good old age of 86.
Select Cross Miscellany

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

Select Cross Names

Robert Cross was knighted by Queen Elizabeth for the role he played in the burning of the Spanish fleet at Cadiz and in the defeat of the Spanish Armada.
R. A. Cross
was a Conservative politician who served as British Home Secretary between 1874 and 1880 and again in 1885.
Alfred E Cross started his ranch, the A7 Ranche, in Alberta in 1885 and became one of the leading cattlemen of the Canadian West.
Stan Cross, American born, was a popular cartoonist in Australian newspapers from the 1930’s to the 1960’s.

Select Crosses Today
  • 34,000 in the UK (most numerous in Lancashire)
  • 26,000 in America (most numerous in California)
  • 21,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia)

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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