Cranston History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Scotland with its rugged terrain and rich ancestry was the beginning of the ancient family tree of the Cranston family. In Scotland, hereditary surnames were adopted according to fairly general rules and during the late Middle Ages, names that were derived from localities became increasingly widespread. Local names originally denoted the proprietorship of the village or estate. The Cranston family lived in "the lands or barony of the name in Midlothian, the 'tun of Cran or Cren.' Certain individuals of this name are mentioned in early charters but it is not now possible to establish their connection with one another. ' " [1]

Early Origins of the Cranston family

The surname Cranston was first found in Edinburghshire, a former county, now part of the Midlothian council area where Eric de Cranston witnessed a charter by William the Lion in the 12th century. An Andrew de Cragestone of Edinburghshire rendered homage to King Edward of England during his brief conquest of Scotland in 1296. It is thought that this name was actually Cranestone, as his seal bore the 'Cranstoun' crane. "Another Andrew de Cranstoun, dominus de eodem, apparently the first so styled, was dead before 1338. Thomas de Cranstoun, provost of Edinburgh, 1423. [1]

Cranston a parish, in the county of Edinburgh. "The name of this place is said to be derived from an Anglo-Saxon word, signifying 'the crane's district,' and applied on account of the number of cranes that formerly resorted to the place. In the 12th century, the parish was divided into two manors called Upper and Nether Cranston, in the latter of which the church was situated. Early in the reign of William, Upper Cranston was possessed by Elfric de Cranestun, who derived his surname from the manor, and whose descendants retained the property till the time of Charles II., when William, the third lord Cranstoun, sold it to Sir John Fletcher, the king's advocate. Nether Cranston, which was the larger of the two manors, was granted by Earl Henry to Hugh Ridel, from whom it obtained the name of Cranston-Ridel, which it retained till recent times. " [2]

Early History of the Cranston family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Cranston research. Another 191 words (14 lines of text) covering the years 1296, 1338, 1423, 1603, 1627, 1648, 1620, 1664, 1625, 1680, 1678, 1680, 1659, 1727, 1689, 1727 and are included under the topic Early Cranston History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Cranston Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Cranston, Cranstoun, Cranstown and others.

Early Notables of the Cranston family (pre 1700)

Notable among the family at this time was William Cranstoun, 1st Lord Cranstoun (died 1627), a Scottish Lord of Parliament, known for his work in the pacification of the Anglo-Scottish border; and his son, John Cranstoun, 2nd Lord Cranstoun (died c. 1648), a Scottish Lord of Parliament; and his son, William Cranstoun, 3rd Lord Cranstoun (c. 1620-1664), a Scottish Lord of Parliament and a...
Another 63 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Cranston Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Cranston family to Ireland

Some of the Cranston family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 59 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Cranston migration to the United States +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Cranston Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • John Cranston, who arrived in America in 1680 [3]
  • Samuel Cranston, who arrived in Rhode Island in 1698 [3]
Cranston Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • James Cranston, who settled in Maryland in 1775
Cranston Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Alexander Cranston, who settled in Philadelphia in 1839
  • William Cranston, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1844 [3]
  • James Cranston, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1846 [3]
  • Mary Cranston, aged 7, who landed in New York, NY in 1850 [3]
  • Million Cranston, aged 2, who arrived in New York, NY in 1850 [3]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Cranston migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Cranston Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

New Zealand Cranston migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Cranston Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. J. Cranston, Scottish settler travelling from Glasgow aboard the ship "Three Bells" arriving in Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 13th July 1858 [6]
  • Mrs. Cranston, Scottish settler travelling from Glasgow aboard the ship "Three Bells" arriving in Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 13th July 1858 [6]
  • Mrs. Jane Cranston, (b. 1828), aged 33, British settler travelling from Bristol aboard the ship "Matoaka" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 10th February 1862 [7]
  • Mr. John Cranston, (b. 1830), aged 31, British shepherd travelling from Bristol aboard the ship "Matoaka" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 10th February 1862 [7]
  • Mr. Frederick Cranston, (b. 1858), aged 3, British settler travelling from Bristol aboard the ship "Matoaka" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 10th February 1862 [7]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Cranston (post 1700) +

  • Brigadier-General Joseph Alfred Cranston (1898-1973), American Assistant Commanding General 2nd Division (1946-1947) [8]
  • Bryan Cranston (b. 1956), American Emmy award winning actor, voice actor, writer and director
  • Alan Cranston (1914-2000), American journalist and Democratic Senator from California
  • Thomas Cranston, American politician, Speaker of the Rhode Island House of Deputies, 1748-49, 1750-57, 1760-62 [9]
  • Royal Cranston, American politician, Member of South Dakota State House of Representatives 21st District, 1893-94 [9]
  • Robert Bennie Cranston (1791-1873), American Republican politician, Speaker of the Rhode Island State House of Representatives, 1846-47; Mayor of Newport, Rhode Island, 1853; Presidential Elector for Rhode Island, 1864 [9]
  • R. F. Cranston, American politician, Member of South Dakota State House of Representatives 43rd District, 1911-12 [9]
  • John Cranston, American politician, Speaker of the Rhode Island House of Deputies, 1716 [9]
  • Henry Young Cranston (1789-1864), American politician, Speaker of the Rhode Island State House of Representatives, 1835, 1839-41, 1854, 1855; U.S. Representative from Rhode Island 1st District, 1843-47 [9]
  • Earl M. Cranston, American politician, U.S. Attorney for Colorado, 1901-08 [9]
  • ... (Another 4 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

HMS Hood
  • Mr. Aylmer N J Cranston (b. 1920), English Stoker 1st Class serving for the Royal Navy from Ewshott, Hampshire, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [10]
RMS Lusitania
  • Mr. George Cranston, English Night Watchman from Bootle, Lancashire, England, who worked aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking and was recovered [11]


  1. ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  2. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of Scotland. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  3. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  4. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2014, November 24) Agincourt voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1844 with 226 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/agincourt/1844
  5. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) CANDAHAR 1851. Retrieved http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1851Candahar.htm
  6. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  7. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  8. ^ Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2011, November 23) Joseph Cranston. Retrieved from http://generals.dk/general/Cranston/Joseph_Alfred/USA.html
  9. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 13) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  10. ^ H.M.S. Hood Association-Battle Cruiser Hood: Crew Information - H.M.S. Hood Rolls of Honour, Men Lost in the Sinking of H.M.S. Hood, 24th May 1941. (Retrieved 2016, July 15) . Retrieved from http://www.hmshood.com/crew/memorial/roh_24may41.htm
  11. ^ Lusitania Passenger List - The Lusitania Resource. (Retrieved 2014, March 6) . Retrieved from http://www.rmslusitania.info/lusitania-passenger-list/


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