Crawfords of the Scottish Diaspora

Crawfords of the Scottish Diaspora

If you have anything to contribute to this summary description, please send the information to Joanne or Peter for consideration for inclusion. Please send a photo or two of immigrants from your family. Understanding that the situations your Crawford ancestor immigrants have gone through may be a sensitive subject for you, we feel it is very important that those of you from the places of settlement provide the information you would like to see posted here about your own country. If you have inspiration to write more fully we will be providing links for extended essays on the Crawford experience of the diaspora. We welcome your contribution.

A diaspora (from Greek διασπορά, "scattering, dispersion") is a scattered population whose origin lies within a smaller geographic locale. Diaspora can also refer to the movement of the population from its original homeland. Diaspora has come to refer particularly to historical mass dispersions of an involuntary nature, such as the expulsion of Jews from Judea, the fleeing of Greeks after the fall of Constantinople, the expulsion of Jews and Muslims from Spain during the reign of the Catholic Kings Isabel and Fernando, the African Trans-Atlantic slave trade, the southern Chinese or Hindus of South Asia during the coolie trade, the Irish during and after the Irish famines, and the displacement of Palestinians in the 20th century.

Recently, scholars have distinguished between different kinds of diaspora, based on its causes such as imperialism, trade or labor migrations, or by the kind of social coherence within the diaspora community and its ties to the ancestral lands. Some diaspora communities maintain strong socio-political ties with their homeland. Other qualities that may be typical of many diasporas are thoughts of return, relationships with other communities in the diaspora, and lack of full integration into the host country.


Scotland's export of so many millions of its own population has been described as a diaspora. From the Great Diaspora Tapestry Project has issued an effort to involve communities around the world in the celebration of Scottish heritage and culture, and the people and places connecting Scotland to its global diaspora. The Great Diaspora Tapestry is a large embroidery, 164 metres (538 ft) in length, crafted from 305 panels that were embroidered in 34 countries. Scots have migrated all over the world and have often had a profound impact on the areas where they settled. This project brought together stories from many of such communities, documenting their Scottish connections. It is a remarkable and heart-felt homage to the determination, courage and achievement of Scottish migrants and their descendants across the centuries. The tapestry square above this paragraph is the logo for the Great Diaspora Tapestry. Below is a focus on the piece that permits appreciation of the texture provided by the embroidery.

Scots have emigrated from Scotland to seek a better life since prehistory. This in and of itself may be no more unusual than it has been in general throughout human history. Some found a better life; some found misfortune since conditions of the new life were often harsh and unforgiving. But over-all Scottish emigrants have been able to prevail in distant lands. The first places Scots emigrated to were England and Ireland. Many Crawfords braved the new worlds -- ancient to their own inhabitants -- but new for the Scots-Irish emigres. They are known as Scots-Irish, since many if not the majority of Scots who left Scotland during the 17th though 19th centuries did so via Northern Ireland, a point of migration since the 16th century.

Since prehistory, there has been a lively exchange of people between Ireland and Scotland, early, in the 5th century, in the direction of Scotland, and due to population pressures, in the 16th century on, in the direction of Ireland. The closest land points between Scotland and Ireland are 12 miles (19 km) apart, between the Mull of Kintyre, the southwestern most tip of the Kintyre Peninsula in southwest Scotland (below left), and Fairhead (Bhinn Mhór) in County Antrim on the northeast coast of Ireland (below right). The ferry from Belfast to Cairnryan in Scotland, ten miles from the Mull of Kintyre, takes only just over two hours.

In the early 1600s James VI of Scotland (Ist of England) established the Plantation of Ulster in Northern Ireland to which many noble families sent members. They received generous grants of land. One such was Alexander Crauford, younger brother of John Crauford of Greenock (of the Kilbirnie line). John actually received the grant, but sent his brother in his stead. Alexander's line may have descendants still there, though many may have migrated on to the North American continent and some maybe even to Australia and New Zealand. Baidland Crawfords also settled in Ireland on plantation lands during that period.

During the 1600 and 1700s, many Crawfords went over to Northern Ireland to set up businesses such as in the linen trade and work agricultural lands in the nine Ulster counties (Armagh, Down, Antrim, Londonderry, Tyrone, Donegal, Fermanach, Monaghan, and Cavan). Some were Baidland Crawfords, others were from Auchenames, and undoubtedly also from junior Crawford lines. Among them were the sons of James C. of Ardmillan whom he set up in business.

After the mid-1600s Scots flocked to American shores. When the United States won its independence from Great Britain (1776) and immigration to its shores dropped off, Australia and later New Zealand opened up. By the late 1800s, emigration from the UK to its actual and former colonies was extensive. Scots were an integral component of this migration, Crawfords included. During the late 1800s and early 1900s, there was large scale advertisement in the UK for settlers to emigrate from there to the colonies of Great Britain. Below are notices from the British Office announcing opportunity to settle in British territories, notices which undoubtedly some of our Crawford ancestors in both England, Ireland and Scotland responded to.

During the 17th and 18th centuries the Scottish Highlands had been emptied in what is known as the Clearances. Watson and Allen defined the Highland Clearance as "an enforced simultaneous eviction of all families living in a given area such as an entire glen" [in "Depopulation by clearances and non-enforced emigration in the north-east Highlands", Northern Scotland 10 (1990), Edinburgh University Press]. The Highland Clearances responded to complex reasons and lasted over 100 years. Beginning in the 19th century these same Scots left Scotland fleeing the poverty and deprivation of Glasgow's urban slums, which had for most been their first stop after being evicted from the Highlands.

Lowland dwellers were similarly displaced by population pressures. Younger sons did not often inherit land. They typically had to fend for themselves; some became soldiers, others clergy of the church. When they could, parents set younger sons up in business in the larger town such as Glasgow and Edinburgh and many in Ireland, where the linen trade had become profitable. That was the destiny of the younger sons of James Crawfurd of Ardmillan from whom some of us descend. Eventually in Scotland, most estates were sold or passed out of Crawford hands. A considerable number of Crawford men went over to the Continent to fight as mercenaries in European wars. Scottish soldiers were valued for their bravery and fierceness. The Crafoords of Sweden, who descend from the Craufords of Fedderate, came from one such soldier. The picture below portrays Jacob Johan Kraffert (who signed his surname that way), a descendant of the original immigrant Jacob, who spent ten years in a Russian prison camp, but ultimately returned to Sweden. He sired a son, also named Jacob Johan, assuring the continuation of the Crafoord line (spelling he adopted at the end of his life and remained the chosen spelling for the surname in Sweden). Next to his picture is a page from his notebook diary kept during the early years of the war. There is an article on Jacob Johan by John P. Crafoord in the August 2011 issue of the CCA Newsletter. [The picture is used with the author's permission.]

Another destination point was South Africa, first actually among the Boers. Dutch immigrants included Craffords who had gone from Scotland to The Netherlands, both as sailors and then as mercenaries in the European wars during the 17th and 18th centuries. Those who went on to South Africa mainly settled as farmers in the interior, though some stayed on in Cape Town and Johannesburg and became part of the professions. Below are well-known paintings of Boer settlers en route to the Transvaal to establish farms. In the last couple of centuries English soldiers and pioneers settled all over the Africa continent, predominantly in South Africa and what were then other British colonies, such as what was previously known as Rhodesia. Our members Abre and Carel Crafford both descend from Dutch lines. More recently after South Africa was taken over by the British, Crawfords from England and Scotland came as soldiers and later settlers.

There was some immigration to South America, especially the West Indies, Brazil, Argentina and Chile, but except for the first mentioned, only in small numbers. The West Indies received an influx of penal Scots, including Crawfords in the 1800s, just before the opening of New Zealand as a destination for immigration. In Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, is found the Haseley Crawford stadium, named for Hasely Joachim Crawford who was born in 1950 in the city of San Fernando. At the 1976 Olympics in Montreal, Canada he won the 100m finals becoming Trinidad and Tobago's first Olympic gold medalist. Most Scottish immigrants to Argentina went to Patagonia. In Chile most ended up in the Magellan's region in the far south. Notable was a military hero in Chile, Lord Dundonald. Gaston Kroff in Chile is one of these descendant of an immigrant, whose Crawford ancestor came over as a miner from Ireland a couple hundred years ago. In this case his descendants live in the north.

By far the largest migration came to the North American shores. Some went to Canada. The first documented Scottish settlement in the Americas was in Nova Scotia (New Scotland) in 1629. Many Scots came to New England, some others landed in Virginia, but the largest number disembarked on the Delaware coast, first stopping in Philadelphia. These travelled south down the Shenandoah Trail. It took them into the then territories of Virginia and the Carolinas, today the states of Virginia, West Virginia, North and South Carolina, Kentucky and Tennessee. One of the great challenges for American settlers was the danger of attacks by the various indigenous tribes. A couple, Alexander Crawford and Mary McPheeters, immigrants from Ireland -- Alexander was probably a great-grandson of James Crawford of Ardmillan -- were massacred by the Sioux in Augusta County, Virginia, on September 29, 1764, upon their return to their homestead to gather personal belongings. They had many children (19), neighbors and the older siblings took in the younger ones. Their descendants proliferated around the US and now have even made their way to other continents. William Crawford (of California) and his daughters Syd and Christie descend from them. The Alexander Crawford family according to Y-DNA analysis belongs to the Ardmillan line.

Another martyr was Col. William Crawford, Revolutionary War soldier and surveyor. He fought initially with General Washington, then in 1776 was transferred to the Western Department of the Continental Army. Later he settled in eastern Ohio. Below is a painting of his torture and burning by the Delaware people in retaliation for a massacre earlier in the year of 96 innocent Christian Native American men, women and children by the Pennsylvania Militia. Though he was not involved in this atrocity, he was leading the American forces who had been organized to go against the Delaware and their English allies. They were routed by a somewhat superior force and surrendered when surrounded. The Delaware treated them savagely and particularly went against William as the leader of the contingent. The American frontier was a dangerous place for the early settlers.

Nevertheless, most prospered, and the movement west began after the first quarter of the 19h century. The movement west accelerated after the Civil War, mainly moving through Kentucky and Tennessee. After first settling in Tennessee, Joanne and Brian's ancestors went to Illinois (around Palmyra in southern Illinois). A couple of generations later, some descendants moved to Oregon. Many more Crawfords moved to California from locations in the east. California has one of the largest number of Crawford of any US state, except perhaps Texas. Below are four generations of the Henry Crawford family in the 1800s.

Another large family is formed by the descendants of John Crawford who came from Scotland via Northern Ireland in the first quarter of the 17th century. John came to America in about 1650 accompanied by his son David. He lived in Virginia and established a plantation. John died in 1676 at Jamestown, Virginia, reportedly killed in Bacon's Rebellion. From David stem the I2b Crawfords including our members Harden Lake Crawford III from New Jersey and Karen Crawford from Texas.

[reserved for photo of descendants of John Crawford]

Most Scots-Irish were Presbyterian. With few churches, settlers often joined the accessible local parish. In the Southern US there was a predominance of Baptist churches. Clear Fork Baptist Church in Tennessee was founded in 1802 by pioneers settlers, including two families of Crawfords (Joseph & Edward), ancestors of Kevan Crawford and of Joanne and Brian Crawford respectively, and probably also of Mary Crawford. The small rebuilt church below -- Clear Fork Baptist Church -- is a copy of the old church and representative of the early log-cabin sites of worship of the early settlers in the US.

Prior to 1840, it was mainly whalers, sealers, and missionaries who came to New Zealand. For most Europeans New Zealand was an unappealing prospect, a strange and lonely land reached after 100 days on dangerous seas. Its coasts were thought treacherous, its inhabitants bloodthirsty. Only exceptional reasons led people to set off for such a distant corner of the globe. Some had come most of the way against their will to the Australian convict settlement of Sydney. Many of New Zealand’s early immigrants first spent time in Australia, and most of them were only temporary visitors in search of items to trade. Until 1839 there were only about 2,000 immigrants in New Zealand; by 1852 there were about 28,000. The decisive moment for this remarkable change was 1840. In that year the Treaty of Waitangi was signed. This established British authority in European eyes, and gave British immigrants legal rights as citizens. Most emigrants to New Zealand boarded at Greenock (near Glasgow), London or Plymouth and Liverpool. Embarking was often a confusing, stressful experience. This engraving shows emigrants bound for Canterbury in New Zealand, waiting on the docks at Gravesend, London, in September 1850. Some of the people are in lengthy queues, waiting to board the four ships visible in the background.

Scottish migrants came largely from areas close to Edinburgh and especially Glasgow, which was near the port of Greenock. Sarah Annie Haywood, the great-grandmother of Peter Crawford left the port of South Hampton, September 1876, on the Jesse Osborne, a full-rigged vessel of 1058 tons, under the captaincy of Captain Falconer, which sailed for New Zealand from Liverpool (via New Haven) on 13 September, 1876, arriving in Auckland on 19 December 1876. Whilst the Haywoods didn't migrate to become farmers, a number of other people had negotiated with the New Zealand government for a large area of land to be made available in the Bay of Plenty, Waikato and North Auckland parts of the North Island. Land was allocated to the new settlers by the drawing of lots". Sarah married Archibald Crawford, Peter's great-grandfather, a Scots/Irish master mariner that had emigrated from Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland, to NZ in the autumn of 1881. They married in 1885 in Auckland and preceded to manage their own land grant in the north of Auckland. There is an article by Peter on his family in the CCA Newsletter for February 2013, page 10.

While Auckland offered assisted passages to domestic servants and builders, its main energies went into offering land to those who could pay their own way – 40 acres (16 hectares) per person aged 18 or over, and 20 acres for those aged 5 to 18. Agents were established in Britain and Ireland, and also in Canada and Cape Town. In the years the scheme was operating (1858–68) 14,516 land orders were issued, accounting for probably half of Auckland’s immigrants in those years. Conditions were made more attractive for United Kingdom immigrants. From 1873 the fare of £5 per adult was waived and travel was free. In addition, New Zealand residents could nominate friends and relatives to come and join them. The London office sent out public speakers and recruited local people – book sellers, grocers, schoolteachers – to spread the message. By 1873 there were 53 New Zealand government immigration agents in England, 78 in Scotland, and 46 in Ireland. Newspaper advertisements and posters called for married agricultural labourers and single female domestic servants, provided they were ‘sober, industrious, of good moral character, of sound mind and in good health.'

[Additional pictures and notes will be added on Crawfords who settled in Australia and hopefully also from our South African members.]