Genealogy

The above diagram of the early Crawfurd lineage by Kevan Crawford derives from George Crawfurd's "Laurus Crawfordiana", abbey donation documents, and other primary sources. This diagram may not be completely accurate since some of the sources themselves are contradictory (e.g., Laurus). Most notably conflicting evidence is whether the two Galfridus (one may have been Gualterus) were sons of the Reginald who was son of Swane, or sons of Swane himself, or one the son of Swane and the other the son of the first Galfridus, or they came later in the lineage, or even that both refer to the same person. Also unconfirmed are all the Reginalds, since there are so many; there is some confusion as to who they all were and if any might have been a repetition of another within the lineage. Finally a further confusion was Susanna's attribution as a daughter to the last Sir Reginald Crauford of Loudoun; documentation evidently not known or not taken into consideration by George Crawfurd indicated she was a daughter of Andrew, a brother of this last Reginald who died at Carlisle. Whether Andrew was the oldest or younger than Reginald is also disputed. He appears to have left the girls orphaned when they were toddlers. A further point of contention is whether the Crawford line is actually descended from Thorlongus. Who the daughters of Johannes de Crauford married has also engendered considerable discussion, especially contested is whether one of them married a Lindsay. Circumstantial evidence would be that William Lindsay took over the Barony of Crawfordjohn around 1215, having married a Margery, whether she was a Crauford is unclear; Majorie was also the name of the sister of Robert II who was the wife of the David Lindsay who was made Earl of Crawford, so the confusion might come from there. Finally, at issue is whether the Johannes de Crauford, Dominus, and Of that Ilk was the same as John of Crawfordjohn. The Laurus reconstruction has them as the same, while most scholars have identified them as separate individuals, which raises the issue of a possible confusion by George Crawfurd, the historian, on the issue.

George Crawfurd, 17th century author of Laurus, provided a lineage, which is the one that has most frequently been relied upon. Laurus has only become available in printed form recently since Raymond Crawfurd transcribed the original manuscript and added an annotated commentary that discusses these difficulties. Raymond's reconstruction chooses the Laurus version that George seems to have settled on. His transcription of "Laurus Crawfordiana" has been published under that title by the Association and can be ordered from the CCA series "The House of Crawford" (Volume IV).

Ian Crawford has extensively researched early sources. His results are presented in a book "The Earliest Crawford." He takes the stance that most of the beliefs about Crawfords are not historically accurate, since the sources are suspect. Some of his concerns are reasonable and may be accurate, but many of his conclusions are not carefully reasoned, nor do his references always clearly identify the source. Ian does proffer some information not previously well known. He located another estate granted around the turn of the 12th century to Sir Reginald, 1st Sheriff of Ayr -- Martnaham -- which was adjacent to Ayr, thus much closer than Loudoun. Martnaham (or Lankemerquenoc) was possibly the estate, rather than Crosbie, so central to the story of the Barns of Ayr in Blind Hary's epic drama.

Alex Maxwell Findlater has reconstructed a genealogy of Crawford descendants from John of Crawfordjohn, whom he considers the first documented Crawford, and suggests he might be Flemish given the identity of his step-father. Also, abbey records include earlier Craufords named as witnesses to donations, notably Galfridus and an early Reginald who was not the Sir Reginald of Loudoun who was the first Sheriff of Ayr. Alex does reference source documents in his reconstruction, which should be accurate. However, some of his placements within the genealogy do not ring true. An example of this is that Alex has substituted the John, last Crawford Baron of Crawford (buried at Kelso) for John of Craufurdland as son of the Reginald who was first Sheriff of Ayr. This is confusing for it may imply that Alex erroneously considers both were the same person; the second is a younger son, while the latter is assumed by other reconstructions to be the son of a different Reginald and the last of the senior line. Whether due to unfamiliarity for us, or errors in the chart, the actual descent positions do not seem to be accurate. The sources he cites should be reviewed. One of the problems in doing this is that the donation documents are in Latin and still untranslated. This is a job for an enterprising Crawford who can read Latin! [By increasing the size of the image you should be able to read the details on his genealogy chart.]

How do I get started in genealogy research?

Begin with yourself and move back each generation. Gather documented proof for each fact that you find: birth, marriage, and death certificates; immigration records; mortuary and tombstone records; notations in Bibles; census information; military records; land records; court records; church notices; and so on. The Government of Scotland now offers a series of documents available from on-line government archives. [See http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk/?utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_ca... ].

Fire and other natural disasters happen everywhere -- Scotland, Ireland and abroad -- wreaked havoc with historical archives. Nevertheless, there are still many good resources with lots of data. Today many of them are on-line. Resources with genealogical data are now available, especially in the United States: birth and death data, census records, military records, social security, ship landings, local and state archives, church and adoption records, etc. Nevertheless, be careful using data from Web sites. Such data can be a good place for starting a map, but it is often inaccurate. The first rule is always to check all data (go to the original source if possible). And when a fact is found always record in your notes where it was found.

Census records began in the United States in 1790. From 1790–1840, only the head of household was listed. Gradually, the age range of the family became more detailed. 1850 is the beginning of the listing of the entire family, including ages and birthplaces. From 1850–1930, the census became more detailed with each decade. (For more information, see the Web site of the US Census Bureau.) 1790 is basically the cutoff point for birth and death records in most US states. Before 1790, the cutoff point varies for each state. For example, the 1790–1830 censuses of New Jersey were destroyed, and almost all of the 1890 census was destroyed in a fire. Kentucky is another state where the first two censuses were destroyed, but other sources were used to create a like record for 1790 and 1800. The 1880 census Soundex index is good only for families who had children under age ten. (A Soundex index is based on the sound of a surname rather than on its spelling.)

Do not accept family traditions as fact! They are traditions, often combining fact with fiction. Don’t discard a tradition, but attach a note stating that it is family tradition. Traditions can be good guides to help find other data. Remember that Celtic recordkeeping was done orally.

An excellent place to start researching on the Internet is the Family Search Internet Genealogy Service. This site is maintained by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It is a direct link into the Family History Library — the largest genealogical library in the world — in Salt Lake City, Utah. Note: The pedigrees of Crawford Society members from 1973 to 1995 can be found scattered in the Ancestral File at the Family History Library. However, never treat data from this site as fact. It is a useful starting point but no more. Always check the data with real records, originals if possible. Ancestry [Ancestry.com ] is another site to investigate, but you have to pay for the service. It is a private enterprise but that has the largest online data base available. Many of the sources are government and other official sites that you can access directly. Ancestry offers two-weeks free before requiring a paid subscription. It may be worth checking out.

Another site is ANCESTORS at the PBS Web site, www.pbs.org/kbyu/ancestors. In 1997 and 2000, PBS broadcast two series on family history and genealogy research.

For those of you researching your direct Scottish ancestry, Scotland People is a very solid resource. Again it is a paid service, but a very affordable and highly reliable source of information with over a 100 million online records available for researching your family lines. The following is a set of useful tips for researching these records: http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk/

Scottish Parish Registers (from earliest 1555 to 1854)

BIRTH-BAPTISMS – recorded by the local Church Parish clerk. Spelling of names and locations can vary but dates normally accurate (if only one date given expect it to be the baptism date)

PROCLAMATIONS & MARRIAGES - again spelling of names can vary on older records, but dates are accurate (if only one date is given it is likely to be the first date of proclamation of banns)

DEATHS AND BURIALS - very few Parishes kept any death or burial records before 1855. But where they do exist there is no reason to doubt their veracity. Statutory Registration (from 1855 to 2013) – compulsory registration of births, marriage and deaths with the civil authority.

BIRTH CERTIFICATES – Name, time, date and exact place of birth must be informed to the Registrar, normally within a few hours or days of birth. A parent is the usual informant and signs the information as correct.

MARRIAGE CERTIFICATE – Registrar records the place and date of marriage, witnesses names etc. Bride and groom require to state their names, ages, status (single, widowed) and parents’ names to the Registrar. Until relatively recent times there was no checking of birth certificates etc. by the Registrar so there is the potential for error if bride or groom was uncertain of their age, or for example they name parents who were not actually their birth parents, but brought them up. But for the vast majority of marriage certificates the information can be relied on

DEATH CERTIFICATES – The time, date and cause of death is recorded by the Registrar, and normally by a medical practitioner, within hours or a few days of death, and can be wholly relied on. Where uncertainty can lie with death certificates is in the quality of information provided by the informant for the death, usually a family member. For example a son or daughter has to provide an age for the parent (normally without recourse to a birth certificate) and give full names and occupation for the deceased’s parents (ie grandparents who the child may never have known). So always look at parental and age information on death certificates with a critical eye, if they differ from what the marriage and birth certificates of the person state.

CENSUS RECORDS – (1841 to 1911) – Hugely valuable information but with the biggest potential of all for misinformation. The Census enumerator visited households and asked the head of family and his spouse to provide the necessary information on his /her age, occupation, and place of birth, and for all the children in the family. Again there was no checking of certificates by the enumerator. So the lady of the house (or the man !) could suggest an age 5 years younger than their birth certificate proves, an Irish emigrant could claim they were born in Scotland , and someone might believe they were born in a particular parish, but it later transpires they had lived there as a child (but been born elsewhere ). In addition to this the 1841 Census in any case rounded adult ages up or down by 5 years.
And finally on Censuses beware of website transcriptions – for example on Ancestry.com and other Online Tree’s, transcriptions are often awful with errors on ages, places, and occupations.

GRAVESTONES – Again very valuable information where they exist (most families could not afford such a luxury for the departed) but bear in mind that they would often be commissioned by a family member months or years after the events they commemorate so there can occasionally be errors in dates or ages (if in doubt then you should believe the death certificate)

Additional Genealogy Resources