Origin, Meaning and Family History of the Craig Name
Origins of Name:
The surname of Craig is derived from a Scottish locational surname. This means that this surname was given to people who lived near or in a certain town or place. These surnames were both given to the Lord or owner of the land, and the people who worked there, as well as people who have migrated from this place. Those who migrated from the place and were seeking work were given this surname because it was easy to group and identify them by the place of their birth. For the surname of Criag these places were in North East Forfarshire, and South Ayrshire. The actual derivative of this surname can be found in the Old Gaelic “creag” which can be translated to mean “rock” a word that comes from the Middle English “crag.” It is also possible that this surname is topographical, meaning that someone who originally bore this name lived near or by a man-made or natural element. In this instance, those who bore the surname of Craig may have lived in a residence near or on a steep or precipitous rock.
More common variations are:
Craige, Craigg, Cragg, Craggs, Craigo, Caraig, Creaig, Craieg, Craaig, Wcraig, Craigw, Crag, Crig
The first recorded spelling of the surname of Craig was found in the country of Scotland in the year 1165. One person by the name of Johannes del Crag was recorded as a witness in the Early Records of Scotland, under the reign of King William. King William of Scotland was known as “The Lion” and ruled from the year 1165 to the year 1214. Those who bore this surname of Craig and live in the country of Scotland can be found in most of this country, while the highest concentrations are in Ayrshire, Lanarkshire, Midlothian, and Renfrewshire.
Those who bear the surname of Craig can be found in the northern region of England, such as in the counties of Durham, Yorkshire, Lancashire, and the city of London.
United States of America:
During the European Migration, settlers across Europe decided to leave their homes, and sought after a better life. This new life was largely available in the United States of America, which at that time was referred to as The New World, or The Colonies, and promised freedom from religious persecution, new fulfilling and largely available work, and land. However, during the long voyages that it took to make it to the United States, the vessels of travel were cramped, allowing for the spread of disease among much of the traveling population. This not only left some travelers deceased en route to their new life, it also caused many of the emigrating passengers to arrive in the New World ailed by disease. Because of this spread of disease, or lack of recording, there are only a few members of the Craig family who made it to America. The first of these people is Magnus Craig, who arrived in the state of Virginia in the year 1713. Those who bear the surname of Craig can be found in high concentrations in the states of New York, Illinois, California, Texas, Ohio, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Missouri and the state of Arkansas within the entire United States of America.
United States 104,211
Southern Africa 5,844
Northern Ireland 3,124
New Zealand 3,067
William Craig (1918-2016) who was a German-born academic and philosopher who taught at the University of California at Berkley
Yvonne Joyce Craig (1937-2015) who was a ballet dancer and actress who was best known for her role as Batgirl from the 1960’s TV series Batman and her portrayal as the Orion Slave girl Marta in Star Trek
William Craig (1807-1869) who was a frontiersman and trapper from America
General Malin Craig (1875-1945) who was the Chief of Staff of the US Army from the year 1935 to the year 1939
Major-General Louis Aleck Craig (1891-1984) who was an Inspector-General of the Army from the year 1948 to the year 1952
Lieutenant-General Howard Arnold Craig (1897-1977) who was an American Inspector-General at the Headquarters of the U.S. Air Force in Washington D.C. from the year 1949 to the year 1952
Brigadier-General Charles Frost Craig (1895-1982) who was the American Chief of Staff of the 37th Division
Harmon Craig (1926-2003) who was a geochemist who was awarded the Balzan Prize for Geochemistry in 1998
Craig Coat of Arms Meaning
The three main devices (symbols) in the Craig blazon are the fesse, crescent and chevalier. The three main tinctures (colors) are ermine, sable and gules .
Ermine is a very ancient pattern, and distinctive to observe. It was borne alone by John de Monfort, the Earl of Richmond and Duke of Brittany in the late 14th century It has a long association with royalty and the nobility in general and hence represents “Dignity” wherever it is found . The ermine pattern is white with, typically, a three dots and a dart grouping representing the tail of the furred creature.. The ermine spot is sometimes found alone as a special charge on the shield.
Sable, the deep black so often found in Heraldry is believed to named from an animal of the marten family know in the middle ages as a Sabellinœ and noted for its very black fur . In engravings, when colors cannot be shown it is represented as closely spaced horizontal and vertical lines, and appropriately is thus the darkest form of hatching, as this method is known . Although it may seem a sombre tone, and does indeed sometimes denote grief, it is more commonly said to represent Constancy .
The bold red colour on a heraldic shield is known as gules. It has a long history within heraldry, it is known that one of those who besieged the scottish castle of Carlaverock in 1300 was the French knight Euremions de la Brette who had as his arms a simple red shield.. The word gules is thought to come from the Arabic gule, or “red rose” . Later writers associated it with the precious stone ruby and the metal iron , perhaps because of the red glow of iron in the heat of the blacksmith’s forge.
The fesse (also found as fess) is one of the major ordinaries to found in heraldry, being a bold, broad, horizontal band across the centre of the shield. It may originally have arisen from the planks of which a wooden shield can be constructed, the centremost plank being painted a different colour . It is instantly recognisable as a symbol, for example the arms of COLEVILLE granted during the reign of Hery III are simply or, a fesse gules. With this clear association with the construction of the shield itself, Wade believes that the fesse can be taken to be associated with the military, as a “girdle of honour”.
For easy recognition of the items on a coat of arms, and hence the quick identification of the owner, bold simple shapes are best. Hence, simple geometric shapes are often used for this purpose xz`, and the crescent Is a typical example of this, and can appear in any of the main heraldic tinctures. Some common is this device that there are special names for its appearance in various orientations – whilst it lies normally with points upward, the decrescent points to the sinister side, and the increscent to the dexter . The allusion, obviously is to the shape of the moon in the sky (indeed, the French have a version “figuré” which includes a face!) and has been said to signify both “honour by the sovereign” and “hope of greater glory” .
Heraldry is a human art, by and for people and it is not surprising that people themselves are frequently depicted in arms . Often these are images of knights and men-at-arms, or individual limbs, such as the “three armoured right arms argent” shown in the arms of Armstrong . As well as the nobility however, we also see both the mundane, ploughmen, fishermen and reapers; and the exotic in the form of club wielding savages and the Moorish or Saracen gentleman with his decorative wreathed turban . The knight is a typical example of this use of the human figure.