The origin of the family has not been definitely determined. Those who first settled in America came from Yorkshire, England. I learned through correspondence that a family of Croasdailes has lived in Westmoreland, England, for seven or eight hundred years. Westmoreland as well as Lancaster form a part of the original earldom or County of ? so that this section of country has evidently been the English home of the family since its occupation by the Normans.
The name is not a common one and I am told it is one of the most uncommon names among the old families in the United Kingdom. The consensus of opinion among those whom I have asked in this country (America) and in England, is that all the branches of the family now living in both countries can be traced to a common ancestor and
house (?) are more or less related to each other. My investigation of the American ? families of this name tend to confirm this opinion. There is a tradition in certain branches of the family that it is of French origin. While this is doubted by other members of the source branch. I have reason to believe from information received elsewhere (although not actually confirmed) that this tradition is founded upon fact and that the family is of Norman-French origin and can be traced to the time of the Norman conquest of England.
The use of strictly hereditary surnames as a distinguishing mark of a family was unknown in England before the Norman Conquest and seems to have been still a novelty in Normandy but a novelty which was fast taking root. In the latter country it had begun to be looked on as a needful badge of noble birth. Along with the foreign fashion of hereditary surnames, a new set of Christian names came into England with the Norman Conquest in where were personal names more purely
Teutonic than they were in England up to the time of the Conquest that is to say. England was especially slow in adopting either scriptural names or Greek or Latin names of the saints. All this stands in marked contrast to Scandinavia where we find scriptural names from the first moment of conversion and to Scotland where names of every class seem to have found common shelter. The authority for this paragraph is “Freeman’s History of the Norman Conquest”.
The name of Croasdaile is now spelled in three forms, and the family may be said to be divided into three great branches.
The first of these is the English Branch or those descendants which have remained in England. Among these the name is spelled Croasdale, Croisdale or Croasdell the first being the more common.
The Second great branch of the family left England on account of political troubles in the early part of the 17th Century during the
reign of Charles the first and took up large tracts of land in Ireland, this branch of the family used the exclusive form of “Croasdaile” in spelling the name.
The Third great branch of the family is the American Branch – which left England in the latter part of the 17th Century on account of religious persecutions. They have used both forms – vis “Croasdale” and “Croasdill” but at the present time the former seems to be the most universally used. Many of the earlier generations of this branch have used the termination “dill” and insisted that it was the proper form of spelling the name and that “dale” was a new-fashioned adoption. I am convinced, however, that the variations in spelling the name are largely due to ? in writing and keeping the early records rather ? the possibility of the different ancestors. This is shown by ? of the early American families – Thomas and Agnes Croasdaile who came to America with William Penn, are recorded in the “Settle Meeting of Yorkshire, England” as “Croasdaile”.
The same spelling is used in the American records of their six children – four appear on the American records as Croasdale, one as Croasdill and one as Crosdill (?). The father of the other American family brought a Certificate from Brighthouse meeting Bradford, Moorside, Yorkshire with his name spelled Croasdill and the certificate signed by mime other “Croasdills”. This in the year of 1685 and Exia was a single ?. The record of births of Bradford Moorside ? but one (Exia?) who was born in 1655 and was the son of Wm and Grace at his birth the name is recorded as Croysdal. His sister recorded two years later as Croysdale. I have > record of the spelling of the last name of the other children but the death of his sister in 1679 is recorded under the name of “Croasdall”. William who was probably his father was buried at Bradford in 1691 under the name of Croasdall. These records also show the change of name that occurred in
one family in twenty five years, as well as the common use of all forms of spelling. In addition to the above the name appears on the same English records as “Croasdell” in 1662. “Croasdale” in 1693 and “Croasdill” in 1700. The marriage of Thomas and Agnes mentioned previously is recorded in 1664 under the name of “Croasdall”. I have not been in a position as yet to go back to the records of the “Society of Friends” which began about 1650. As seen above the form of “Croys” (for the first half of the name was still in use previous to 1660 with the various corruptions in the terminations) probably came from the French “Croise” meaning Cross. According to one authority who has followed his own family back through the same countries and has made a study of the Norman-French origin and was originally Creuxthaile meaning in a free translation
“Defender of the Cross”
From this it changed with the language to “Croisthaile”. This was probably the name in the 12th Century or at the time of the Conquest and this particular ?
evidently received the grant of land in Yorkshire. From this the name changed to “Croisdale” and there to “Croysdaile” which brings it up to the ? form recorded by the Society of Friends. This evolution of the name can no doubt be readily traced through the proper English and French records and properly confirmed when the opportunity permits, but the statements are so plausible and there is so little difference between forms of spelling as used by the Irish branch of the family and the form of the Normans(?) together with the Christian significance of the name which is indicative of Norman blood or influence that it seems as if there could be little doubt as to the correctness of this statement as to the origin of the family. Two coats-of-arms belong to the Croasdaile family. One of these clearly belong to the English branch and I suppose the American branch from England can trace a title to it. My authority on the origin of the name says the latter coat-of-arms is distinctly Norman.
The former was not submitted to him but must be Norman also. In regard to this I again quote from “Freeman’s history of the Norman Conquest” as follows. Here again we must look on the introduction of knighthood in the special s? of heredity ? and the whole range of these ideas connected with ? as the result of the Norman Conquest, but its ideas and outward badges ? in France but also in Germany. It seems to me that the Coat of Arms also tends to confirm the Norman origin of the family. The arms of the Irish branch of the family is as follows:
A silver shield with one chevron of blue. On the shield are three ? cocks – two above and one below the chevron. The motto “alert” the ? is a cock like those on the shield with alert on a strap above.
The arms of the English branch is a shield of Azure blue with these chevrons of gold. At the centre of each chevron is a mullet on st? ? figure in red. There is no motto. The crest is a knight in armour with open visor. Note: Mullets are used in heraldry to denote the 3rd son.
While those members of the American branch were called Yeomen there is but little doubt that the original branch or family occupied a prominent position in Yorkshire at one time.
There is an old grouse moor in that country that is still called Croasdale Moor situated in the north part of Lancashire.