Cruickshank Genealogy

Cruickshank – with its variants Cruikshank and
Cruikshanks – is
a Scottish surname found in the northeast of the country.
The most likely origin
of the name
is locational – that it comes from the river Cruick
in Kincardineshire where cruick
means a hook or bend in the river and shank means a
point of a hill.
some have suggested that Cruickshank is a nickname for a man with a
crooked leg
or legs.  Cruick here again
means hook or bend and shank a leg-bone.

Cruickshank Resources on

Cruickshank Ancestry

mentions of the name were:

  • Chistin
    Crukschank in the foundation charter of
    Urchany chapel (in present-day Ross and Cromarty) in 1334
  • and
    Cristinus Cruksank
    who was admitted as a burgess in Aberdeen in 1408.

had many variant spellings.  The spelling began to standardize in the
early 1600’s.  Aberdeen had the largest
numbers then.  But the name started to
spread southwards towards Edinburgh later in the century.

Aberdeenshire.  John Cruickshank was
a tenant at Achnahandet in 1671.
  Cruickshanks started to
appear in increasing numbers at Forgue and Drumblade in the 1700’s.  William Cruickshank,
born there in
1776, made his home at Rothiemay across the border in Morayshire.

George Cruickshank married Jean Stewart at
Huntly in 1790.  Another George Cruickshank married
Anne Allen at Longside in 1815.  Both had
descendants who emigrated to Canada.

Edinburgh.  Andrew
Crookshanks was an Edinburgh customs inspector who was dispossessed of
position for his role in the Jacobite uprising in 1745.
His youngest son Isaac left Edinburgh to seek
his fortune in London.

William S. Cruikshank, born in Banffshire in 1856, was
the man who built the King’s Theatre in Edinburgh in 1906.
Cruikshanks continued to run his theatrical firm in Edinburgh until 2006.

England.   Isaac
Cruikshank, who arrived in London in 1783, had within ten years
established himself as one of the leading caricaturists and book
of his day.

His two sons, Robert and
George, followed in his footsteps.
George became even more famous.  His
book illustrations for his friend Charles Dickens and other authors
reached an international audience.  Upon
death in 1878, it was discovered that he had fathered eleven
children with a mistress named Adelaide Attree, his former servant.

America.  There were
Scots Irish Cruikshanks who came to

  • one was Andrew Cruikshank who
    came to Pennsylvania and fought under Captain Samuel Miller in the
    Revolutionary War.  When Miller was
    killed by Indians in 1778, Andrew married Miller’s widow.
    He later became a wagon-master between
    Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.
  • another was
    John J. Cruikshank, born in Dublin, who also came to Pennsylvania, in
    his case
    in 1826.  He headed west in the 1840’s
    and started a lumber business in Hannibal, Missouri in 1856.  His son John became a wealthy lumber baron
    and built himself Rockcliffe

    in Hannibal.

And another Pennsylvania arrival, this time in
1831 from Scotland, was Alexander Cruickshank a stonemason.   He settled in Allegheny.
He soon became a grocer there and his family
turned their attention to producing jams and jellies.
The Cruickshank Brothers Co. was successful
and continued in operation until 1956.

P. Cruickshank
meanwhile had moved to Autuauga county, Alabama
1822.  He was killed there eight years
later.  His son Marcus was an Alabama
politician during the Civil War, his grandson George the newspaper
editor of
the Birmingham Chronicle.

Canada.  Robert Cruickshank came to Montreal from
Aberdeen around the year 1773.  He
established himself as a silversmith and merchant in the town.

Among later Cruickshanks who came to Canada

  • James and Elizabeth Cruickshank
    from Cromdale in Aberdeenshire who emigrated to Musquodoboit, Nova
    the year 1803.  Their descendants later
    settled in Minnesota.
  • Alexander and Elizabeth Cruickshank from Huntly who came
    in the late 1830’s and made their home in Gatineau, Quebec.  Other family members arrived in the 1850’s,
    settling in Ontario.  James Cruickshank
    founded the Cruickshank Carriage Works in Weston.  His
    brother George made his home in
    Heathcote, also starting a carriage works.
  • Robert Cruickshank from Longside
    meanwhile came out to Saskatchewan sometime in the 1890’s.
    He was recorded as a ranch owner in the Moose
    Jaw region in the 1901 census.

Cruickshank Miscellany

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

Cruickshank Names

born in Scotland, was an 18th century

caricaturist who did most of his work in
George Cruikshank, his son, was perhaps even more
famous as a caricaturist
book illustrator.  His book illustrations
for Dickens and other
writers reached an international audience.
was a 19th century American lumber baron whose
operations were
based in Hannibal, Missouri.
Helen Cruickshank
 was a Scottish
suffragette, poet, and focal point of the Scottish Renaissance in
early/mid 20th century

Select Cruickshanks Today

  • 7,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in Aberdeenshire)
  • 2,000 in America (most numerous in New York)
  • 6,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada)



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