Ryan and his "Grancha" - having fun Summer 2004
In the News
Cross Country : Latest book from William Cross
Renfrewshire was our family's launch pad in Scotland over 200 years ago. My paternal family : the Cross family.
We are recorded in a number of guises in the County's local, parish and other records. Cross, Crofs, Cors & Corse
being the most common representations of the surname.
The river Clyde, the wonderful Clyde of the famous song, cuts through this small westerly corner of Scotland. Some say
the river is the land's principal artery, others have likened it to a great, long, sewage pipe. This water channel has conveyed
literally millions of people & hundreds of millions of tons of goods, livestock and produce backwards and forwards for
many, many centuries.
From the ports of Glasgow and Greenock folk have left old lives behind for journeys that started on the Clyde or went
across the seas and oceans to other continents of the world. These ports ended journeys too for those coming home from abroad
after enforced absence, service in foreign wars or just a holiday or a business trip.
The region has been the centre of mass emigration with the bulk of it from the 19th and early 20th centuries. There have
been influxes of people too, from the Irish famines & the Highland clearances. In the 20th century ( as in previous times
too ) people arrived from Europe as refugees fleeing from tyranny. Other folk settled here after the two World Wars, in
some cases after exile, being held as a prisoner of war or following military service.
Emigration has also featured between adjoining Scottish counties. My great great great grandfather, Alexander Cross (
1801-1866 ) left his birth roots of Renfrewshire in 1824 after his marriage to a Lanarkshire girl, Elizabeth Glen, for Dumbartonshire,
on the other side of the river Clyde.
A considerable amount of research has been carried out in Renfrewshire, Lanarkshire and Dumbartonshire, and across the
West of Scotland, & also much further afield. Several past family members have contributed to this work. My late father,
John Cross ( 1929-1989 ), his cousin John Keir Cross ( 1927-1996 ) (known affectionately as The Two Johns ) did much more
than anyone else. My late brother, Charlie Cross (1955-1995) with our mother Margaret ( Daisy ) Bryce (1928-1995) also helped.
This compilation is first dedicated to all of them.
Our mother often accompanied father on trips out in all weathers to advance the research. They became very well known
by the locals, mother often collected herbs by the roadside or summer fruits and berries which she turned into jam : she
always called it jeely. Mother knew her jam, she was head skinner in a jam factory on Lanark's Clydeside before she met
our father. Their trips to churchyards & cemeteries, libraries & other sites gathered all the main links to the family's
past over the last 200 years.
This book is also dedicated to the wider family history contacts too who added to our knowledge of the family's roots.
There are too many folk to name individually, some also now sadly gone.
After leaving Renfrewshire, Alexander Cross ultimately settled on Loch Lomondside at Gartocharn, in the parish of Kilmaronock,
Dumbartonshire from 1830 until 1862, with a few of these years spent by his 2nd son in USA, when my great great grandfather,
Henry Bell Cross, emigrated there between 1852 and 1855. Henry later moved to Glasgow in 1862 and our branch remained there
until after 1888. Henry's son, my great grandfather, John Keir Cross ( 1858-1900 ) was a teacher at Johnstone, Renfrewshire
from 1878-80. John moved the family to Lanarkshire after 1887, where the link continued, but for a few years spent by our
grandfather William Paterson Cross ( 1894-1968 ) in Canada and in England. My late brother Charlie who died in 1995 ended
our own family links with Central Scotland.
I left Lanarkshire, the same day as I left school, in 1972, for London and since 1999 my own family branch, my wife Perry,
2 sons, one daughter in law ( who is Welsh ), two grandchildren ( who are Welsh ) and my 2nd brother, Keir Cross, have all
lived in the valleys of South Wales. I still commute to London to work there.
The Crosses, kin and collaterals have flitted about in the past 200 years including some overseas. Cross Country is not
one single place. However, all roads lead back to our family roots, to one single Scottish county, to Renfrewshire. Renfrewshire
lies in the very heart of Cross Country.