Cruise Surname Meaning, History & Origin

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surname is probably derived from the Norman
word cruz meaning “cross.”  Alternatively
it could have derived from a similar-spelt place name, either in
Flanders or Normandy.  The name
appeared in Devon as Cruwes and Cruwys; and in Ireland, after the
invasion, as Cruys and later as Cruise.
Other spellings have been Cruse and Crews.
The pronunciation has always tended to be “cruise.”

Cruise Resources on

Cruise Ancestry

Anglo-Norman name de Cruys began to
appear in Irish administrative records around the year 1200, although
de Cruce – who witnessed a grant by Strongbow of land in Dublin
sometime before
1176 – may have been the earliest recorded member of this family in
Ireland (although
Sir Maurice Cruys who died in 1216 was regarded as the forebear of this
family).  These Cruys had established
themselves at
Naul near Dublin in the early 13th century and may also have taken up
at Cruicetown in county Meath by that time.

Meath became increasingly lawless during the 14th and 15th centuries
one family head, Sir Christopher Cruys (as recounted in The Song of Mary Anne
), paid with
his life.  The Cruys spelling gave way to
Cruise in the
17th century.  But both the Meath and
Dublin branches remained staunch adherents of the Catholic faith.  After taking part in the 1641 rebellion,
their lands were subsequently forfeited.

The main Cruise presence in Ireland by the 19th century was in and
around Dublin.  There was also Cruises in
Roscommon and  Offaly.

evidence suggests that the Cruwyses of Devon and the Cruises of Ireland
related, both originating probably from one Anglo-Norman family.  This family gave its name to the parish of Cruwys Morchard near Tiverton
in north
Devon, where they have been lords of the manor for almost nine hundred
years – from
the 12th century until the present day.

In early records the name was usually spelt Cruwes, Cruys, or Crues.
present spelling of Cruwys was a curious hybrid of these early
spellings, first
appearing in the Cruwys Morchard parish registers in the 1680’s
Cruwys chronicled the village history in her 1939 book A
Cruwys Morchard Notebook)
The Cruse spelling, however, cropped up in Somerset.

Ireland provided most of
the Cruises in America
.  But if
the spelling were Cruse or Crews, England was the more likely origin.  A few Cruise arrivals may have originally been
Kruse from Germany or Denmark.

One Cruise/Crews line dates back to
Halifax county, Virginia in the 1790’s.
Another line, traced in Billy Buckel’s 1993 book Buckels-Cruise
Family History
, followed
Micajah Cruise from colonial North and South Carolina into Mississippi
in 1810.  Many of his descendants still
live in Mississippi, as well as elsewhere in the South.

Irish immigrants were more numerous in the 19th century.  They
included the
forebears of Tom Cruise
the actor who, it is thought, came
to Newark, New Jersey in the early part of the century.


Select Cruise Miscellany

Cruise and Variants Today

Numbers (000’s) Cruise Cruse Cruwys
Ireland    0.5
England    0.9    0.2    0.2
America    0.9    0.2    0.1
Elsewhere    1.1    0.1    0.1
Total    3.4    0.5    0.4

The Song of Mary Anne Cruys.  The Cruys had been in county Meath probably since the time of Strongbow.  In
the 15th century the head of the family was Sir Christopher Cruys who
owned the
estates of Rathmore, Moydorragh and Cruicetown.
He had married late in life and was expecting an heir.  But his nephews were angry as they had
to inherit all his property.

they planned to murder them one evening as
husband and wife were walking up the avenue by Cruicetown lake to the
castle on
their return from Moydorragh.  When
attacked, Sir Christopher ordered his young wife to run to the castle
help.  He stood with his back to a tree
and fought off the ruffians with a sword until he fell riddled with
wounds.  The assassins then chased Lady
Cruys and she only gained sanctuary in the castle by a second.  As the great oak door slammed shut it caught
and tore her mantle streaming out behind her as she ran.
She immediately summoned her servants and
sent them out to help their master.  He
was beyond their aid and so they bore his body back to the castle.

Lady Cruys had her husband buried by torchlight in the Cruicetown
graveyard.  At the time of the funeral
she collected all the Cruicetown plate and jewels and had them sunk in
chests in the lake.  Then, fearing for
her life, she and an old nurse set off secretly for Dublin on horseback
later set sail for London.

after arriving in London, Lady Cruys gave birth
to a daughter Mary Anne.  For several
years they lived on the proceeds of the jewels brought from Ireland.  But when all was sold they became very poor
and had to subsist by washing clothes in the Thames.

the story did have
a happy ending.  Daughter Mary Anne later
married Sir Thomas Plunkett who returned to Ireland with her and
retrieved her
inheritance.  The couple founded and
built a memorial church at Rathmore and both were buried there.  The large effigy of the Norman knight and his
lady, put there in the sacristy recently when the ruined church was
are most likely theirs.  And Mary Anne is
remembered in song in the old Irish ballad The
Song of Mary Anne Cruys. 

The Cruwys Family of Cruwys Morchard.  One of the oldest families in Devon, the Cruwys
Family of Cruwys Morchard near Tiverton, was the subject of a radio
talk in
1944 by Dr. W. G. Hoskins, Lecturer in Economics at University College,

Hoskins entitled his talk “Seven Hundred Years in One
House.”  He stated that the Cruwys
family appeared in records as early as 1175, close to Cruwys Morchard,
and they
came to Cruwys Morchard House soon after 1200.
Family papers date back to the time of Richard I.
The present house dates from 1594 when the
original structure was rebuilt.  The
foundations of the old house showed walls nearly ten feet thick.  A stream ran across the cellar floor – in
under one wall and out under another – to furnish the water supply in
case of
siege.  Manor court rolls date back to 1509.

early member of the family, Sir Robert Cruwys, fought at Crecy and
at the siege of Calais and was knighted in France for his services.  He returned home to Cruwys Morchard and paid
off all his debts in the church porch with the spoils of war. 

Cruise and Other Arrivals in America

Numbers Cruise Cruse Crews
Ireland    72    21     7
England    46    37    37
Scandinavia    12     3
Germany     3     3     7
Total   133    64    51

was probably the American version of Cruwys.  Some Cruise arrivals
have been Kruse,from the German and Danish nickname for someone with
curly hair.

Tom Cruise’s Ancestry.  Actor Tom Cruise was born Thomas Cruise Mapother IV in 1962.  The first Thomas Cruise Mapother was born in Kentucky in 1877.  He was supposedly the
son of Dillon Mapother and Mary Cruise.
However, Dillon had died of food poisoning in 1874 and Mary had
again by that time to an Irishman, Thomas O’Mara.  Their
children nevertheless bore the Mapother

Mary Cruise had been born around 1841 in New Jersey, according to
census records.  It was thought she was
the daughter of Matthew and Rosanna Cruise, immigrants from Ireland who
settled in Newark.


Cruise Names


was a noted Irish physician and writer of the 19th
century.  He was the inventor of the
endoscope in 1865.
Tom Cruise is the well-known
American actor.

Select Cruise Numbers Today

  • 1,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in Lancashire)
  • 1,000 in America (most numerous in California)
  • 2,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Ireland)




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