History of the Crawfords of Donegal

This (originally 55-page) family history, published at the end of the 19th Century, traces the Crawfords (or Crawfurds) from Scotland in about the year 1140; starting with Johannes de Crawfurd of Crawford-John in Clydesdale (Lanarkshire). With the Plantation of Ulster starting in 1610, various Crawford relatives settled in Co. Donegal, Ireland around that time. From there, the family flourished and intermarried with a number of other families including Cochrane, Kincaid, Little, Purviance, Riky, Stubbs and Warren. There are instances of emigration to Canada, India, Mautitius, New Zealand, South Africa, Trinidad, USA and West Africa.

Image of Crawford booklet
Front Cover (140mm × 213mm)




In extending and completing as far as possible the work of compiling an account of the Crawfords of Donegal I am merely continuing a task which my father, the late Samuel Crawford, took up, unfinished, from the generation preceding him, and carried on with the greatest interest and perseverance throughout his long life, until he had exhausted all the materials within his reach.
Exceptional facilities for examining the rich stores of information in relation to the Scotch Settlement in Ireland to be found in the library of Trinity College, Dublin, induced me to go on with the work from the point at which he had left off. Nor did I restrict myself to that field of investigation. In Scotland and in Ireland, wherever it was likely that information on the subject could be obtained, I have had search made to try and discover anything bearing even remotely upon it. The results of these united labours I have embodied in the account given in the following pages, in the preparation of which I have endeavoured to make carefulness and accuracy my guiding principles.
Where I differ on any point from the version given by the authorities generally held in highest esteem on genealogical matters, it will be found upon examination that I have done so after carefully considering the arguments for and against the view which has been put forward. The reader in such cases will have sufficient materials laid before him to enable him to form his own opinion as to whether the conclusions I have arrived at are correct. At all events, he may feel certain that throughout my task I have been actuated, not by a desire to support any preconceived ideas or theories, but by the wish to arrive at the correct history of that branch of the Crawford family that settled in the county Donegal in the early part of the seventeenth century.
The fact of the name being differently spelt by different authorities is no bar to identification, as it is a canon of genealogical research that difference in the spelling of proper names is of little importance in such matters. Members of the same family frequently write their names differently at the present day; and this was still more common in ancient times. The inheritors of the Barony of Crawfurd, or Crawford, adopted the latter form, which was followed by the Irish branches of the family; while in Scotland Crawfurd, Craufurd, and Craufuird prevailed. A still greater diversity in spelling this name is due, no doubt, to the variety of taste or perhaps the limited knowledge of writers unconnected with the family.
I have but a few words to add in explanation of why I consider this matter of such importance as to commit it to print. There are many members of our somewhat numerous family who are desirous to possess all the information they can obtain concerning not only their living relatives, but also as to the ancestors from whom they are descended; and it is by printing this contribution to family history that I can alone comply with their wishes.


September, 1886.




Since the first edition of these family records was printed, further information has come into the possession of the writer, which it is desirable to incorporate with the original contribution, in order to make it as complete as circumstances will admit of.
Important Wills have been discovered, throwing new light upon the period immediately following the settlement of Alexander Crawford (XVI.) in Donegal, and closing the space between him and his descendant - Hugh Crawford of Drumark - which was left in some uncertainty before, as to whether they were separated by one or by two generations.
Besides this, the march of events made it desirable that all information should be brought down to the present time.
These circumstances combined, have led to the reprinting of the pamphlet in its present form.


November, 1897.




The ready availability of computers and the enormous volume of genealogical information being shared on the Internet have provided a strong incentive to produce an electronic version of this pamphlet. Consequently, I have scanned the original document and converted it, initially to "Microsoft Word 2000" format, using the "TextBridge Pro98" OCR program, and ultimately to the "Adobe PDF" format.
The use of computers allows text to be searched rapidly for any word or phrase. To simplify the reader's task in finding a particular place or family name, I have also taken the opportunity to produce an index, derived from an appropriate concordance. In particular, this index concentrates on emigration, family names, home names, place names and some key events like the Plantation of Ulster.
With a few exceptions listed below, no attempt has been made to extend the genealogical information in the original pamphlet. That will have to wait for the next edition. For the main body of text in this edition, "pages 9 to 53" correspond to "pages 7 to 52" in the 1897 edition; so an appropriate allowance will have to be made in converting references to the earlier edition. A few minor changes have been made; for example, the odd typographical error has been corrected and a few (non controversial) words inserted to clarify the text. However, spellings of historical interest have not been changed. In a few instances, a slight alteration to the layout has been made where, for example, several generations appear on the same page. The original layout was sometimes confusing and it is hoped the new layout will make it easier to see which children belong to which parents. In order to show the link with the Henderson Family, a new section has been added in the Appendices, entitled "Link between Crawford and Henderson". A second, new section has been added; giving relevant gravestone inscriptions from St Anne's Church, Ballyshannon, where many family members are buried. Within the main text, references to such graves are given as, for example, [Grave 123]. For any reader who, like me, is slightly weak on geographical and historical facts, further appendices contain dates of the relevant kings and queens and the principal townlands in Ireland which are mentioned in the text. Finally, where dates are unknown, I have added "estimated" dates for the key ancestors [indicated e1476], which should usually be accurate to within ±15 years.
The author of the original pamphlet, Robert Crawford, died on 31st May 1914 and is buried at St Anne's Church, Ballyshannon. The inscription on his family grave reads:

Sacred to the memory of David Crawford, Esq., J.P., who departed this life the 8th Nov.,1825, Aged 64 years. A kind husband and affectionate father and a steady friend. Also to the memory of Mrs. Sarah Crawford, otherwise Caldwell, his wife, who died the 18th of Feb. 1853, Aged 84 years. Also their grandson Robert Crawford, C.E., D.L., of Stonewold, born 2nd June, 1831. Entered into rest 31st May 1914, and his son, Henry Arthur, husband of Mollie Crawford, died the 3rd of June 1939.


October, 2003.


The complete 66-page booklet is now available as a large Adobe Acrobat PDF file (900K) to view or print. Depending on your Browser, you will probably need to LEFT-CLICK to view within your Browser, or RIGHT-CLICK, etc to download the file:

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Revised on 30 January 2008