This is an English locational surname. Recorded as Crannam and Cranham it originates from the village of Cranham in the county of Essex, a village first recorded in the famous Domesday Book of 1086 as 'Craonhu'. The place name, and hence the later surname, is believed to translate either as the place of the crane (birds), or the place of the crows. The former would seem to be the more likely as crows are common, whilst cranes have always been rare in the British Isles, even in ancient times when the climate was quite different, and apparently much warmer.Locational surnames are usually 'from' names. As such yhey were names either given to the local lord of the manor and his descendants, or to people who for whatever reason left their former homes to move somewhere else. In so doing, they either took or were given, as their surname the name of their former homestead, this being the easiest way to identify 'strangers'. This surname perhaps not too surprisingly, is well recorded in the early surviving church registers of the city of London. These recordings include Mary Crannam who married Lawrence Leadbetter at the famous church of St Dunstans in the East, Stepney, on September 1st 1603, and later that of William Cranham, who married Elizabeth Brian at the equally famous St Mary-le-Bone, on February 28th 1780.
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