This ancient surname is English but arguably of Roman (Latin) pre Cristian origins. It derives from the word 'crucis' meaning 'cross'. There are several potential origins, the most popular being that it was originally a habitational name for a person who lived at one of the many places called Cruc or Cros. These were named after a 'cross' which was set up to mark a tribal eeting place or perhaps a market, with little or no religious significance. In many cases particularly in Southern Europe, the surname was semi-religious.It denoted a lay person, that is to say, not a member of the clergy as they were celibate, who carried a cross in the festivals of the Christian Church. Every European country has its own forms of the surname, and examples of these include Cross and Crosse (English), Grose (French), Cruz and Cruces (Spanish), to Kreuze and Kreuziger (German) and Vercruysse (Flemish), as just some of the spellings. Early examples of the surname recordings taken from authentic civil and religious registers include Richard del Crosse, in the Assize Court Rolls of Lancashire, England, in the year 1285, and William atte Cros, in the Subsidy Rolls of Suffolk in 1327. Francisco Lopez Cruz was recorded at Nuestra Senora de la Antugua, Valladolid, Spain, on March 2nd 1566, John Crocken, apparently a diminutive form of Crock, was recorded at St Dunstans in the East, Stepney, on December 13th 1639, whilst Tomas de la Cruz was born at Santa Barabara Mission, California, on December 3rd 1799. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Humfrey de Cruce, which was dated 1273, in the Hundred Rolls of Oxfordshire, England, during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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