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.

Cross Resources on

Cross Ancestry

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

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
, 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

John Crosse name
recurred in Liverpool over the 16th and 17th centuries.
They were for a time a
Catholic recusant
They 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
from a Scotsman named William Cross who had come south in 1785 and made
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
  • while Crosses of the
    next generation departed for America (New England and
    maybe Maryland).

By this time the Crosse family back
Somerset had moved to Fyne Court in Broomfield.
Andrew Crosse, k
to locals in the early 19th century as Wizard Crosse, was an amateur
with a particular interest in electricity.
Ironically, the main hall of Fyne Court burned down

.  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
later came Ely’s first tea room.  Another
family line began with the marriage of Thomas Cross and Mary Butty in
Ely in

Scotland.  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
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
    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.

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.  

John Cross, from Suffolk, arrived in
Wells, Maine in 1643.  He and his son
John were killed by Indians in 1676.

William 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 –
Elijah, William and Zachariah – left Maryland for what would become
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.

Australia.  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
    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.

Cross Miscellany

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

Cross Names

Robert Cross was knighted by Queen
Elizabeth for the role he played in the burning of the Spanish fleet at
and in the defeat of the Spanish Armada.

A. Cross
a Conservative
who served as British Home Secretary

between 1874
and 1880 and again in 1885.
Alfred E
started his ranch, the A7 Ranche, in Alberta in
1885 and became one of the leading cattlemen of the Canadian West
, 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)



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