Both England and Ireland lay some claim to the origin of this surname. Our research indicates that probably the surname occured almost simultaneously in both countries, although from different sources, it is confused by the fact that some Irish nameholders are probably descendants of English 16th century settlers! To take the English nameholders first. The name is recorded in the spellings of Crumly, Crumley, Cromley and Cramley, and as such is clearly locational. However no such place deriving from the Olde English 'crumb-legh' (The crooked clearing) exists in the gazetters. This suggests that the name is from one of the many 'lost' medieval sites, the surname being the only reminder of its former existence. Recordings of the surname taken from church registers include Johm Crumelyea, christened at St Dunstans, Stepney, on August 8th 1709, and Hugh Crumly, who married Mary Mann at St Leonards, Shoreditch, London, on September 13th 1830. In Ireland the origin is claimed to be from O'Cromlaoich, meaning 'The bent hero', although the first recording is confusingly that of Daniell McCromley, at Derry Cathedral, Templemore, Ulster, on February 4th 1654. Mary Crumley, with her children William, John, James, George, Rebecca, Thomas, and Andrew (aged 4), escaped the Irish Famine on the ship 'Miracle of Liverpool', bound for New York, on July 14th 1846. The name however was already in America, John and Harriot Crumley being recorded at Mongaup Valley, Sullivan County, New York, on June 1st 1830. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Cromly, which was dated April 28th 1601, a witness at St Mary Whitechapel, London, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1st, known as 'Good Queen Bess', 1558 - 1603. 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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