The English and Scottish surname Crane is of nickname origin, most likely for a tall, thin man with long legs, from Middle English cran ‘crane’ (the bird), Old English cran, cron. The term included the heron until the introduction of a separate word for the latter in the 14th century. The first written reference occurs in 1177 when Osbert Crane was recorded in the Pipe Rolls of Cambridgeshire. Richard Crane aged 32 yrs., who embarked from London on the "Thomas" bound for Virginia in 1635 was an early emigrant to the New World.
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