CROASDELL FAMILY HISTORY & GENEALOGY

 

 

NAME ORIGINS

 

DERIVATION OF THE NAME OR THE SURNAME DICTIONARIES GOT IT WRONG!

 

CROASDELL is my family variant of the more common form of Croasdale. It is the name I grew up with and the one I still use professionally.

 

Towards Croasdale
The main surname dictionaries give the derivation as a locational or habitational name formed from the two words "cross" (Old Norse kross) and "dale" (Old Norse dalr) a valley. The suffix dale is commonly used in Northern counties adapted from Scandinavian pre-conquest settlers.

 

 

The dictionaries say it derives from Crossdale in Cumbria/Cumberland and is also to be found in Lancashire.

BUT I believe that it's incorrect to say the name derives either from the village of Crossdale, or from Cumbria.

My theory is supported by the statistical evidence found under Name Variants. It is almost certain that the name derives from an area known as the Bowland Fells or Bowland Forest on the Yorkshire/Lancashire borders, just north of Slaidburn, where there is today a Croasdale Fell, Croasdale Brook and two old farmsteads known as Croasdale House and House of Croasdale. It is said that the pedestal of an ancient cross remains near Woodhouse in Slaidburn on the road up the valley and this is shown on the Ordnance Survey map.

Croasdale Fell covered with heather
View over Croasdale Fell in August

 

 

 

Evidence from the Records

Early parish registers of this area, particularly of Waddington, show a greater density of CROASDALEs and variants than anywhere else in the country, or indeed in the Northern counties. This is echoed in early probate records.

In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries movement can be seen in two directions. The majority of Croasd*l*s generally migrated southward to the growing industrial towns on both sides of the Pennines, but primarily to those in Lancashire.

A single migrant left Waddington to go north to Furness and his descendants account for the majority of people who use the variant CROASDELL in this part of Lancashire, and later in Cumberland and Westmoreland. This person was my direct ancestor Henry Croasdell (bap 1695) and a settlement document of 1723 is evidence of his origins and journey.

The change of suffix from dale to dell is representative of the pronunciation in this part of North Lancashire - often sounding more like "dle" with the "a" being swallowed up and represented by the less determinate "e".

Modern telephone directory entries for Croasdell can be linked back to this one source, plus one other person first found in 18th century London. See where are we now

 

BT Telephone entries for Croasdell

Modern Day Evidence

The most common of the variants, CROASDALE, is still primarily concentrated in NW Lancashire. The variants CROSDALE and CROSSDALE are found most frequently in the Manchester and Oldham areas and CROISDALE occurs around Leeds and Bradford. From separate research I have found that The CROASDAILEs in England mainly seem to have origins in Ireland although there is a link several generations back with the town of Waddington which needs to be explored. This branch also has links with Essex and the West Indies.

See where are we now.

 

BT Telephone entries for Croasdale BT Telephone entries for Croasdell BT Telephone entries for Variants

 

Where is the Evidence for Cumbrian origins?

There is no record that I have found to date that indicates anyone with the name Croasdale or its variants ever lived in or near the village of Crossdale in Ennerdale in Cumbria, the source cited in the dictionaries.

There are no parish register entries, no census returns and no probate records from that area which indicate the presence of anyone living there with the name of Cro*sd*l*.