Show ContentsCruikshank History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

In Scottish history, few names go farther back than Cruikshank, whose ancestors lived among the clans of the Pictish tribe. They lived at or near the Cruick River in Kincardinshire. The word shank means a point of a hill. Some people mistakenly think the name is a nickname for someone who had crooked shanks or was bowlegged but this was not the case. [1]

Early Origins of the Cruikshank family

The surname Cruikshank was first found in Kincardineshire (Gaelic: A' Mhaoirne), a former county on the northeast coast of the Grampian region of Scotland, and part of the Aberdeenshire Council Area since 1996, where they held a family seat from very ancient times.

"The two counties with which the name is most intimately connected are Kincardine and Aberdeen, and in the former we have the river Cruick rising in the parish of Fearn and joining the North Esk near the Kirk of Stracathro." [1]

Some of the first records of the family include John Crokeshanks, burgess of Haddington, who rendered homage to King Edward I of England in 1296 and Christin Crukschank who is mentioned in foundation charter of the chapel of Urchany in 1334. Later, Cristinus Cru sank was admitted burgess of Aberdeen in 1408, and John Cru sank was one of the burgesses of Aberdeen selected to accompany the provost to the field of Harlaw in 1411. [1]

Early History of the Cruikshank family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Cruikshank research. Another 222 words (16 lines of text) covering the years 1296, 1408, 1411, 1414, 1434, 1452, 1453, 1535, 1550, 1688 and 1644 are included under the topic Early Cruikshank History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Cruikshank Spelling Variations

The arts of spelling and translation were yet in their infancies when surnames began, so there are an enormous number of spelling variations of the names in early Scottish records. This is a particular problem with Scottish names because of the numerous times a name might have been loosely translated to English from Gaelic and back. Cruikshank has been spelled Cruickshank, Cruikshank, Crookshank, Crookshanks and many more.

Early Notables of the Cruikshank family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Cruikshank Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Cruikshank migration to the United States +

This oppression forced many Scots to leave their homelands. Most of these chose North America as their destination. Although the journey left many sick and poor, these immigrants were welcomed the hardy with great opportunity. Many of these settlers stood up for their newfound freedom in the American War of Independence. More recently, Scots abroad have recovered much of their collective heritage through highland games and other patriotic functions and groups. An examination of passenger and immigration lists has located various settlers bearing the name Cruikshank:

Cruikshank Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • John Cruikshank, who landed in New York in 1798 [2]
Cruikshank Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Robert Cruikshank, who settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1851
  • J. Cruikshank settled in San Francisco, California in 1852

New Zealand Cruikshank 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:

Cruikshank Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • J Cruikshank, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1841
  • Mr. Cruikshank, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Josephine Willis" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 5th February 1855 [3]

Contemporary Notables of the name Cruikshank (post 1700) +

  • Marcus Henderson Cruikshank (1826-1881), American politician, Mayor of Talladega, Alabama; Representative from Alabama in the Confederate Congress 4th District, 1864-65 [4]
  • James Cruikshank, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Pennsylvania, 1884 [4]
  • J. P. Cruikshank, American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Iowa, 1908 [4]
  • J. C. Cruikshank (b. 1911), American Democratic Party politician, Member of West Virginia State House of Delegates from Clay County, 1955-62; Defeated, 1962 [4]
  • F. L. Cruikshank, American Democratic Party politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Idaho, 1952 [4]
  • Alfred B. Cruikshank (b. 1847), American Democratic Party politician, United Democracy Candidate for Mayor of New York City, New York, 1897 [4]
  • Alexander M. Cruikshank (b. 1919), American chemist
  • George Marcus Cruikshank (1857-1936), American educator, newspaper editor and historian
  • Marcus Henderson Cruikshank (1826-1881), Confederate States of America politician
  • Burleigh Cruikshank (1890-1982), American football player
  • ... (Another 13 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

The Cruikshank Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Vis fortibus armas
Motto Translation: Strength is arms to the brave.

  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. 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)
  3. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from
  4. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 2) . Retrieved from on Facebook