Craighead Surnames Origin
This Scottish locational surname is shown in various records as CRAIGHEAD, CRAIGHEID, CRAGHEDE. The name is also spelt CRAIGIE, CRAGGY, CREAGHEAD and CRAGHEAD.
Locational surnames are usually by their very nature "from" names. That is to say names given to people after they had left their original homes, often in search of work, and who had moved elsewhere. One of the easiest ways to identify a stranger, was to call him or sometimes her, by the name of the place from whence they came.
The first people in Scotland to acquire fixed surnames were the nobles and great landowners, who called themselves, or were called by others, after the lands they possessed. Surnames originating in this way are known as territorial.
Formerly lords of baronies and regalities and farmers were inclined to magnify their importance and to sign letters and documents with the names of their baronies and farms instead of their Christian names and surnames. The abuse of this style of speech and writing was carried so far that an Act was passed in the Scots parliament in 1672 forbidding the practice and declaring that it was allowed only to noblemen and bishops to subscribe by their titles.
It originates from either Craighead, a village and manor near Bothwell in Lanarkshire, or from Craighead with Barrhead, in the former county of Renfrew, or as another possibility Craighelder, an area and mountain near the town of Newton Stewart, in Kircudbrightshire. In all cases the basic meaning is the "top of the hill" from the Celtic and Olde English pre 7th century words "crag-heafod."
Spelling over the centuries was at best erratic, and local dialects very thick, often lead to the development of "sounds like" spellings. In this case early recordings include those of David CRAIGHEAD appears as a witness in Aberbrothok in the year 1546, and William CRAIGHEID was a baxter in Aberdeen in the year 1613. A certain John CRAIGHEID was recorded in Fidesbeig in 1633.
Hereditary surnames were originally imported from France into England during the Norman Conquest of 1066. In the two centuries or so after the Conquest surnames were acquired by most families of major landholders, and many landed families of lesser importance.
There appears to have been a constant trickle of migration into Britain between about the years 1200 and 150O, mostly from France and the Low Countries, with a small number of migrants from Scandinavia, Germany, Italy and the Iberian peninsular, and occasional individuals from further afield. During this period groups of aliens settled in this country as for example, the Germans who from the late 15th century onwards settled in Cumbria to work the metal mines. Immigration during this time had only a small effect on the body of surnames used in Britain. In many cases, the surnames of immigrants were thoroughly Anglicised.
The late sixteenth century saw the arrival, mostly in London and the south-coast ports of large numbers of people fleeing from the war regions of France.
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