Other Craton Lines

(Not Related to Thomas Howell Craton)

It is a fact that when two Cratons meet, there is a very good possibility that they are somehow related. The Craton name, sans y, is a rather rare appellation as anyone who has searched for records of our family can attest.

As discussed in the section on spellings, it is my belief that most Cratons, Craytons, Creightons, and Crichtons probably all stem from a common ancestor or locale from the distant past. The Dutch Creyghton line seems to bear this out. Nevertheless, my research has introduced me to a few other Craton families who are in no way related to our line. Their stories are included below both to alert other researchers of their existence and to recognize them for wearing such a noble name.

Dutch Creyghtons

Several years ago I made the acquaintance of some Creyghtons in the Netherlands who, while not being descended from Thomas Howell Craton, appear nevertheless to have descended from the same ancient stock. As best I have learned, this branch left England/Scotland for Holland in the 17th or 18th century. On a trip to Holland in 2006 I was privileged to meet with one of these Creyghtons, and I can say without hesitation that the Dutch branch of our family is as warm and friendly as the American.

Armenian Cratons

There is a family of Cratons, most of whom live in California, who are descended from Armenian immigrants whose original name was Giridlian.

As the gentleman who related this story to me explained, at the time of the Crusades his ancestors were priests who lived in the Roman-built city of Kayseri (known as Caesarea in ancient times) in Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey). When the Crusades came they left Kayseri to join the Crusaders and moved to the Isle of Crete, which at the time was a jumping-off place to the Holy Land.

The family ended up staying on Crete for several generations and earned their living in the cattle business. When at last they returned to Kayseri they were no longer priests but cattlemen and butchers. Asia Minor by that time was no longer Christian, having been conquered by the Turks, and the returning cattlemen became known as “those people from Crete,” Girid being the Turkish word for Crete — hence Giridlian.

The immigrant father of the Armenian Cratons was sickly as a boy and did not go into the family business but instead was apprenticed to a tailor. When he came to America in the early 1900’s, he wanted to fit in and did not wish to retain the Giridlian name which was of Turkish origin. Since new citizens were allowed to change their names, he opted to do so. Given that the name Creighton sounded very much like the word Cretan, he adopted that name. Later he decided that Creighton had too many letters, so he had it changed again to Craton. This was done “for a small fee.”

I do not know how many descendants of this Giridlian/Craton there are, but I know there are more than a few.

Polish Cratons

I have also encountered a Craton who was of Polish descent and whose story, though not as elaborate, was similar to the above. Unfortunately my conversation with this young Craton lady was over the telephone, and I do not have a written record of her history. I have since misplaced her number, but I believe she was living in Florida at the time of our conversation.

She related to me that her father had immigrated to America as a young man and tried to establish a business that wasn’t very successful. Supposedly someone told him that he should change his name to something more American. (He had one of those Polish names impossible for most Americans to spell or pronounce.) She said her father chose the name Craton, although it bore no resemblance whatever to his original name. She related that she wasn’t sure why he picked the name, but believed he either knew someone named Craton whom he respected, or else simply picked it at random. Knowing that there are a number of our Cratons in Florida (and that all Cratons are honorable!), it seems likely he chose the name based on his acquaintance with one of our kin.

To the best of my memory this young lady told me she was an only child, so this line is not likely to be encountered in research.

French Cratons

A few years ago I received an e-mail from a Craton in England who told me that his family immigrated to that country from France during the French Revolution. According to him, these Cratons were members of the minor nobility in France and fled in order to escape the guillotine. It is not known whether there is any connection with this family and our line of Cratons. Whatever connection there may be, it seems evident that this is not a direct line since our ancestors were already in America by the time of the French Revolution.

If you know of other Craton families we could include here, please write to me.
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