Welcome to the website of the Clan Crawford Association (CCA). The Association was incorporated in 2006 and is also legally registered under the name The House of Crawford. We are a member of the Council of Scottish Clans and Associations. In 2012 we were issued Letters Patent from the Court of the Lord Lyon granting a coat of arms that integrates the designs of the two main branches of the House, Crawfordjohn and Dalmagregan. At the bottom of this "About" page, you can download a copy of the most recent Newsletter. This will give you additional information about CCA. To receive it regularly and access past issues, you will need to join the Association. If you are a Crawford or a descendant of one, you are welcome to do so.
Read through this web site to learn more about the Association and what it does for its members. If you would like to become a member of the Association then you will find more information on the membership page. It is not necessary that your surname be Crawford, however you do need to be a Crawford descendant. Members of the Association now include a very international membership of Crawfords from around the world. Among them are Crawfurds of Ardmillan, Crafoords of Sweden, Craffords of South Africa, Crawfords of Kilbirnie, Crawfords of Newfield, Craufurds of Craufurdland, as well as the Baronet of Kilbirnie (Craufurd of Auchenames via the Newfield cadet). We have a board of directors, which has representation from eleven world regions within which Crawfords of the Scottish diaspora have settled.
The Crawford Surname
The Crawford surname is of Scottish origin, being traced to the upper Clyde River Valley in Lanarkshire, historically represented by the towns of Crawford and Crawfordjohn, and in its early history, the Barony of Crawford. The surname goes back to the late 1000's when the Barony of Crawford is noted in local, royal, and ecclesiastic records. The first reference to an individual being "of Crawford" was in the reign of Malcolm IV (1153-65). This surname is recognized as an independent House of Scotland with two unique arms designs, continually maintained since before 1196 (surviving seals of the Lord of Loudon Castle who was also Sheriff of Ayr) and 1319 when the Crawford blazon appeared with the oldest surviving colored Scots blazons on the Scottish National Treasure, the Bannatyne Mazer. Members of this independent House of Scotland have contributed in important ways to the establishment and reunification of Scotland as a nation. Indeed, the House of Crawford has become an integral part of the colorful weave in the tartan that makes up Scotland. You will see this from the photo below of the Mazer, historically known as the Bannatyne Mazer, but also referred to as the Bute Mazer for its most recent proprietor (the Marquis of Bute). The Crawford arms ("gules, a fess ermine") are at 12 o'clock, behind the head and shoulders of the lion, widely accepted as representing King Robert I, The Bruce, with the shields identifying six Southern Scottish nobles closely aligned with him.
As a Southern Upland House the Crawfords followed Lowland traditions, as opposed to the Highland ones. However, like all surnames, the spelling has undergone the effects of different linguistic traditions. One general rule is that the use of 'u' is Scots and the use of 'w' is English. The most common surname spelling worldwide is the English 'Crawford' with the Scottish 'Craufurd' mostly in Scotland a distant second. Variations include Craw-Cra-Crau-Crow-Cro-Cran-Kra-/-f--ff-/-ord-urd-erd-ird-oird-ort-oot-oord. The House of Crawford considers all of these variations as equivalent. The original pronunciation may have been something close to 'Krafort'.
The House of Crawford has been without representation on the Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs, a recent development (1952). The last unofficial Chief of Crawfords (Hugh Ronald George, b 1873) died in Calgary, Alberta, Canada in 1942 after having sold all of his heritable property in 1903, leaving nothing to unite around but historic legacy. The Court of the Lord Lyon recognizes the Crawford surname as an independent armigerous House with a Senior Line (unofficial Chiefs) having for centuries registered Arms showing no differencing -- except internal to cadets of the House and an honorary augmentation -- or allegiance to another clan, house, or surname.
Here you will learn of the significance of the history of the House of Crawford. This Association (for the present) and Clan Crawford (in the future) does and will continue to maintain this distinguished history of Scottish nation-building and re-unification. It would be a significant loss to Scottish national heritage if this important and documented contribution to Scottish national history were not preserved or should be misrepresented. We are proud of our Crawford history and heritage. This pride has motivated our establishment of the Association and bringing together in the on-line Archive (available to members) the records and reports of the history and traditions associated with our surname.
We invite you to look around this site for information that may catch your interest, and we welcome your comments. We encourage notices and articles regarding local and regional Clan activities to be submitted to the CCA Newsletter editor at firstname.lastname@example.org. Genealogical search is also welcome. You may subscribe to the e-Newsletter by joining the Association. You will also have access as a member to our extensive on-line historical archive of Crawford related documents. If you have suggestions for which you wish to volunteer to coordinate your activities with the Association, we recommend that you email the appropriate regional representative as accessed by the administrative link on the top of this "About" page.
A Clan Chief for the House of Crawford
Below is a statement by Vice-President Raymond Crawford who was given charge over the research by the House of Crawford for the search for the most senior Crawford, who would be the eligible candidate to be chief of Crawfords. This has been a long process carried out over some ten years of genealogical research culminating in a petition to the Lord Lyon for a family convention to have been held this last spring (2016), request that was withdrawn due to conflicts between a small number of clan members regarding how it was to be carried out:
Many Scottish Clans have a Chief, chosen by the Clan and officially recognized by Lord Lyon King of Arms in Edinburgh. The title of Chief is hereditary, so that, wherever possible, it passes from the Chief to the next of kin, as long as the new Chief retains the surname and demonstrates honorable personal characteristics acceptable to the clan. For centuries, the Chief of the Crawfords was the Laird of Auchenames, the senior branch of the Crawford family, and the title passed down, father to son or brother, until the last Laird, Hugh Ronald George Craufurd who sold the Auchenames estate and emigrated to Canada where he died in 1942 and his direct line died out. However, research showed that there was at least one branch of the Auchenames line that had survived and which led to Sir Robert Craufurd, 9th Baronet of Kilbirnie.
Although Auchenames was recognized by several authorities over the centuries as the Chiefly line, this had never been officially authenticated by Lord Lyon. So it was to achieve that official approval that the Association petitioned Lord Lyon in February 2015 to set in motion the process for the recognition of a Chief for our Clan. Unfortunately, though the Association had tried to follow Lord Lyon's regulations, his Supervising Officer was not satisfied with the way we were conducting the process, so as a result we felt obliged to withdraw the Petition.
That we hope is not the end of the story. Lord Lyon accepts that we are an ancient, large and historic Clan with the right to have our own Chief. We will have to wait, probably for a few years, before we can submit another Petition, but that we will certainly do some time in the future, and our Clan Chief will one day take his or her rightful place alongside the other Chiefs of Scotland. The Ardmillan Crawfurds have a motto - "Durum patientia frango" - I overcome difficulty with patience.
The statement below from the Executive of the Clan Crawford Association, seeks to address two common misunderstandings about the origins of the Clan Crawford and the role that the House of Crawford plays in today’s global communities:
Is there a connection between Clan Crawford & Clan Lindsay?
Apart from a connection between both our Clans through marriage only, we have completely separate origins. Through a few intermarriages between the families, women passed from one family to the other as wives as a means to providing mothers to the other clan. However, what most proves the separateness of the lineages is that both Y-DNA genealogical lineages proceed from very different haplogroups even as both surnames proceed from several diverse haplogroups. That is, they do not seem to have even one or two haplogroups in common.
Why does the Chief of Clan Lindsay use the title, The Earl of Crawford?
This has been a confusing question that has led to considerable misunderstanding. In today’s modern online world, there is a lot of misinformation. The Crawfords held the extensive lands of Crawford in Lanarkshire from the time of Thorlongus, his sons and grandsons granted by the successively ruling sons of King Malcolm “Canmore” III. That is where we resided and from where we took our surname of Crawford. Crawford history attributes the Lindsay acquisition of the Crawford Barony by William Lindsay’s marriage around 1215 to the younger daughter of Sir Johannes Crawford, knight, who died in 1248.
Earl of Crawford
The title of Earl of Crawford, was given by Robert II to David Lindsay when he created the Peerage in 1398. Robert II was Robert the Bruce’s grandson by his daughter Marjorie and Walter Stewart, the 6th High Stewart of Scotland. David Lindsay had married Robert II’s daughter Elizabeth. The line of the Earl of Crawford has changed through the Lindsay line on several occasions from one related line to another. Two Lindsays took the surname Lindsay-Crawford (21st and 22nd Earls) required by John Crawford when they inherited his lands and the Crawford lands of Greenock. The Earl of Crawford’s 2nd son Patrick Lindsay had married John Crawford’s daughter and heiress Margaret. The Earldom’s Lindsay line later defaulted onto their descendants. The Earls of Crawford for a large part of their history have simultaneously held secondary titles as Earls of Balcarres as well as Earls of Lindsay. The present holder of the Earldom is the 29th Earl of Crawford, Robert Alexander Lindsay. So why does the Chief of the Lindsays use his primary title Earl of Crawford and not Earl of Lindsay? The answer is that the lands of Crawford were larger and richer than the lands of Lindsay — in fact they were arguably the richest in Scotland, so the title of Earl of Crawford gave him greater status.
But let this be clear.
Crawfords are an independent House of Southern Scotland. We have never been a part of the Lindsay Clan, nor sworn allegiance to the Lindsay clan or the Earl of Crawford. He has never been our chief. We have had our own Head of House, the Laird of Auchenames, which is the senior line of Crawford (or Craufurd — which is the traditional spelling in Scotland of our surname).
Our Origins in the Town of Crawford at the Ford of the River Clyde
To conclude this introduction to the Clan Crawford Association (The House of Crawford), below are two photos of the ford of the River Clyde next to the town of Crawford, which defined our surname. A pre-7th Century nickname for crow, "crawa" may provide its toponym. The trees around the ford of Crawford abound with crows — thus giving meaning to "Craw ford” as the ford of crows! The ford's shallow waters teem with fish as much today as they undoubtedly did in the distant past. When the crows are disturbed, literally thousands fly up from the trees. A more dramatic though less common interpretation of 'craw' is 'creu', a term for blood in old Gaelic, suggested because the ford was the scene of many bloody battles during ancient times and undoubtedly also responding to the resemblance between the two terms. A Gaelic translation of "cattle-passage" has been suggested as a further origin for the term, likely derived from 'ford', which classically identifies a river crossing, though the association of 'craw' or 'crau' to cattle remains unclear. The word 'cattle' derives from the Middle English 'catel', previously from Anglo-French 'katil', also 'chatel' as personal property; derived from Medieval Latin 'capitale', from Latin, neuter of 'capitalis' of the head; the term 'cattle' is first known to have been used in the British Isles during the 14th century. The name Crawford dates from at least the 11th century and likely earlier, thus an explanation of origins relating Crawford to 'cattle passage' is unlikely and probably a Norman introduction. The Gaelic term for "cattle' is 'eallach', unrelated to anything sounding like 'craw'. One term for 'passage' in Gaelic is 'pasáiste', unrelated to 'ford'; another is 'áth', thus unlikely to have any relationship to the name.
We'd like to acknowledge the contributions of many of our members to the development of this new website. Mention is made below of those who have most provided for the development of the current CCA website: Peter Crawford, our Secretary, who provides over-sight for this website. Julian Crawford, Web-master, designed the new site. Raymond Crawfurd, Vice-President, extensively edited the text under the tabs 'History' and 'Heraldry' and carried out the research on the chiefly line, and with Allen Crawford is developing the CCA project on Crawford heraldry. Bruce Crawford, chief administrator of the Crawford Surname Y-DNA Project, is directly responsible for the web-page dedicated to Y-DNA project results, and with Dave Nicolson, is Co-Adminstrator of Y-DNA project, both making an important contribution to the discussion of our Y-DNA results, and especially helping us towards an increased understanding of the Y-DNA implications for Crawford genealogy. Don Crawford III and Patrick Crawford, as members of the website committee, have contributed ideas and material to its development. Kevan Crawford, past-president, who provided the design, text, and set up of the original website -- currently inactive -- was author of some of the text used in the new site. Finally, yours truly, Joanne Crawford, current President of the Clan Crawford Association, has contributed to the writing and editing on both sites.
Finally, but not insignificantly I'd like to recognize contributions to our newsletter and books that have found their way also onto this new website. Both Sir Robert ("Robin") and especially Georgina Craufurd have contributed in inspiration, material and editorial effort towards our website and publications. Another person whose many contributions over the years I'd like to recognize are those of Col. John P. Crafoord's to both the newsletter and in his book on the history of our cousins the Swedish Crafoords, originally deriving from the Fedderate cadet in northeast Scotland. An additional note of thanks goes to talented photographers of the pictures used on the new website. For her many photos of castles and other Scottish scenes, Eleanor Moore's work is particularly valued; she also contributed photographs of Crawford sites for inclusion in our volumes of "The House of Crawford". The photo of the Bannatyne (or Bute) Mazer is from the Museum of Scotland collection; it graces the cover of Volume two of The House of Crawford, with the permission of the Marquis of Bute. Many others have provided shots; most are from members' personal collections.