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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2016


The Crenshaw name has descended through the generations from the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture. Their name comes from having lived in the village of Cranshaw (Cronkshaw) in Lancashire. The name is derived from the Old English "cran(uc)" which means "crane" + "sceaga" which means "grove" or "thicket." [1] Another source claims the name literally means "the twisting or winding shaw (wood.)" [2]

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The surname Crenshaw was first found in Lancashire at Cranshaw (Cronkshaw) in the parish of Rochdale or Bury. One of the first records of the name was William de Crounkeshawe who was listed there in 1412. [3] Cranshaws Castle or Cranshaws Tower is a 15th-century pele near the village of Cranshaws in Berwickshire, Scotland. The castle is thought to be the inspiration for "Ravenswood Castle", home of Edgar, the hero of Sir Walter Scott's tragedy the Bride of Lammermoor.

Only recently has spelling become standardized in the English language. As the English language evolved in the Middle Ages, the spelling of names changed also. The name Crenshaw has undergone many spelling variations, including Crawshaw, Crawshay, Crawshawe, Cranshaw, Crankshaw and many more.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Crenshaw research. Another 231 words (16 lines of text) covering the years 1590, 1610, 1667, 1612 and 1649 are included under the topic Early Crenshaw History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 135 words (10 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Crenshaw Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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To escape the unstable social climate in England of this time, many families boarded ships for the New World with the hope of finding land, opportunity, and greater religious and political freedom. Although the voyages were expensive, crowded, and difficult, those families that arrived often found greater opportunities and freedoms than they could have experienced at home. Many of those families went on to make significant contributions to the rapidly developing colonies in which they settled. Early North American records indicate many people bearing the name Crenshaw were among those contributors:

Crenshaw Settlers in United States in the 20th Century


  • Mrs L. Crenshaw, who landed in America, in 1904
  • Nannie Crenshaw, who emigrated to the United States, in 1906
  • John Crenshaw, aged 21, who settled in America from Belfast, Ireland, in 1907
  • Ellen Crenshaw, aged 2, who landed in America, in 1909
  • Caroline Crenshaw, who emigrated to America, in 1910


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  • Marvin Crenshaw (b. 1952), former American football offensive tackle for the Nebraska Cornhuskers (1972-1974)
  • Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw (b. 1959), American scholar in the field of critical race theory
  • Ben Daniel Crenshaw (b. 1952), nicknamed Gentle Ben, an American professional golfer, winner of the Masters Tournament in 1984 and 1995
  • Ander Crenshaw (b. 1944), American politician, U.S. Representative for Florida (2001-)
  • Steve Crenshaw (b. 1971), American blues guitarist
  • Leon Crenshaw (b. 1943), American former defensive tackle in the National Football League
  • Roberta P. Crenshaw (1914-2005), Austin-area philanthropist and civic pioneer
  • Anderson Crenshaw (1783-1847), American jurist
  • John Hart Crenshaw (1797-1871), American landowner, salt maker, and slave trader
  • Marshall Crenshaw (b. 1953), American singer, songwriter and guitarist

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  1. ^ Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges, A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8)
  2. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  3. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)

Other References

  1. Bardsley, C.W. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6).
  2. Innes, Thomas and Learney. The Tartans of the Clans and Families of Scotland 1st Edition. Edinburgh: W & A. K. Johnston Limited, 1938. Print.
  3. Sanders, Joanne McRee Edition. English Settlers in Barbados 1637-1800. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  4. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  5. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  6. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  7. Humble, Richard. The Fall of Saxon England. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-987-8).
  8. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  9. Dunkling, Leslie. Dictionary of Surnames. Toronto: Collins, 1998. Print. (ISBN 0004720598).
  10. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  11. ...

The Crenshaw Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Crenshaw Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 2 December 2015 at 13:59.

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