The Name Croom: Its Likely Origins

CROOMS in Early North Carolina: Searches on the Internet quickly find several personal web pages and postings on genealogy forums proclaiming that CROOM descendants of Daniel CROOM, who died in 1734 on his plantation along the James River in Virginia, was born in Ireland. Some go so far as to say that Daniel was a son of Joel CROOM, who was born in Ireland. This writer states that there is absolutely no known evidence to support such claims. If that is surprising to some, they may be surprised to know that for many years prior to the 1930s, many CROOM families of eastern North Carolina believed they were of SWISS DESCENT. This notion had its origins in the early part of the twentieth century in a publication by a respected North Carolina professor who stated that the progenitor of the CROOM line was a HERMAN GRUM, who is documented as being among Swiss passengers in the party of Baron Christoph de Graffenreid. This group from the Palatinate area of the Rhine Valley landed in 1710 in North Carolina and shortly afterwards named their settlement Newberne in honor of Berne Switzerland. The "e" was later dropped and name finally changed to New Bern in 1897)  This belief of Swiss descent was discredited during the early 1930s by the discovery of a number of public records, which pointed the way back to Virginia. Ample evidence proved that after Daniel CROOM of Goochland County, Virginia, died in 1734, his three sons migrated to an area along the Neuse River just to the west of what is now Kinston in Lenoir County, North Carolina. Abel CROOM, Major CROOM and their half-brother, Jesse CROOM, are the respective progenitors of many CROOMS living today across the United States. There may yet be some merit, however,  in a separate, but smaller CROOM or GROOM line descending from HERMAN GRUM, the Swiss immigrant and that possibility remains under study by this web site author.

CROOM Arrivals in the Colonies in the 1600s, There continues to be much speculation and misinformation pertaining to the origins of the first people named Croom, who came to America. England, Ireland and, more specifically, Croom in County Limerick can be found again and again in family lore and a number of books and articles. Finding some proof, however, continues to be challenging.

In the latter part of his life, my late father became seriously involved in learning more about his CROOM ancestry. Croom Sisters & Irish FriendPersonal computers and the Internet were still in the future. In addition to writing and exchanging many letters, he traveled extensively around the United States, chasing down descendants, roaming through many cemeteries and visiting many courthouses. He and my late mother made six trips to Ireland. The initial trip was expressly to search for information on Croom families. They both liked Ireland so much that they revisited the country five more times for pleasure traveling as well as genealogy sleuthing. One site of particular interest was the little town of CROOM in County Limerick, not far from the airport in Shannon where they landed. In the small town, they easily made friends on their first visit and were invited to be houseguests of one particular family on subsequent trips. On their fifth trip to Ireland, they were accompanied by my two oldest daughters, who were then teenagers. The two girls are shown in the photo to the right with the daughter of their hosts, who lived in the town of Croom. They are standing in front of a road sign as you enter the small town. CROOM in Gaelic is spelled CROMADH and both are displayed on the sign and in other parts of the town. One thing my father did NOT find in the town of Croom, County Limerick, or in his travels in Ireland,was a person named CROOM! He did find a number of CROOM names listed in telephone directories in several cities throughout England.

Was There Ever Anyone Named Croom in Ireland?

Quite possibly there were people named Croom, who lived in Ireland at one time. There are plenty named Croom living in England today. If there were any Croom families in Ireland, what happened to them? According to some historians, many families in Ireland changed their names to escape persecution and generally the prospects of death from first Danish invaders over many generations and later from the English, most notably Cromwell who defeated the Irish in the battle of Dunbar 3 September 1650. According to at least one researcher writing in 1929, families with the name Croom were among those altering or just outright changing the spelling and pronunciation of their names to save their lives. From my studies of other writings of this particular researcher, I don't give his opinion much credence.

What is the Derivation of the Name Croom?

In her 1956 book, The Croom Family, the late Doris Croom Outlaw, author and compiler, included the text of several letters in the which the writer stated numerous times that the CROOM families of America could trace their roots back to Ireland. She offered no proof or records, however. Over the past forty-plus years, excerpts of Mrs. Outlaw's book have been widely circulated, especially the section referring to the Irish connection. Searches by many genealogists continue to be  unsuccessful in finding any proof that Daniel CROOM, the progenitor of most, if not all, of the  CROOM families in early eastern North Carolina had ties to Ireland, and certainly not to the town of Croom in County Limerick, as asserted by many who rely on family folklore.

Some genealogists believe the name CROOM is of Anglo-Saxon origins and most likely was derived from the an early Gaelic word meaning curved, bent or crooked, like the shape of the curved moon. The early Druids of England were known to have worshiped the moon. Here in America, some CROOM family searchers have sought to tie the name of Croom, Maryland, a small town not for from Washington, DC, to a possible early settler named CROOM. To my knowledge, no one named CROOM has been discovered who lived in this town. A number of residents living there paint quite a different story as to how the town got its name. An article appearing in the Washington Post on November 5, 1988 entitled Croom Fights to Stay a Country Haven, describes the village of Croom as being once a part of the estate of Thomas John Claggett, the first Episcopal bishop consecrated in America. The article also contains this passage: "Croom, the name of Claggett's estate, comes from the Old English by way of Latin and means 'crooked.' Locals are quick to note that the name refers to the meandering, deep-cut roads, some of them built during colonial times, and not to their ethics."

A CONCLUSION: After years of study, this writer has not discovered the names of the parents of DANIEL CROOM of Virginia. It is my opinion that he most likely was of English descent.

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This page was last revised on 4 December 2014
 

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