Is your Surname registered?

Our 2,766 members have registered
2,405 study surnames with us
and a further 6,120 variant names.

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About the study

Some time ago I started a one-name study of the COSSAR and CROSSER surname, including COSSER, COSSOR, CROSSAR and CROSSOR. This study is registered with the Guild of One-Name Studies in London England.

I have many Scottish trees in my records and a number of large English bushes.

I am seeking references all around the world, in all time periods and am always interested to hear from people researching these names.

Variant names


Name origin

The surname seems to have originated in Scotland, although I am exploring the possibility that it was a mishearing of CROSS, CROSSIN, CROSER or CROZER.

Historical occurrences of the name

James CROSSER (c.1845-1915) from family 12 was a Lanarkshire coal miner who managed to train as a medical doctor. His son Robert CROSSER (1874-1957) studied law at Columbia University and served in the US Congress as a Democrat (1913-1954).

In 1959 Drs MUIR and COSSAR discovered that aspirin causes intestinal bleeding (Muir A., Cossar I.A.: Aspirin and gastric haemorrhage. Lancet 1:539-€“541, 1959 Mar 14). Dr Cossar is a CROSSER also from family 12.

Name frequency

CROSSER as a surname is almost extinct in the British Isles (an estimated 17 living people in England, Wales and the Isle of Man). (Figures are not available for Scotland or other countries, as far as I am aware - although I would love to be proved wrong). In my experience, those commercially-available census indexes with CROSSERs or CROPERs in Wales and the English Midlands are actually mistranscriptions of PROSSER, ROPER or CROKER.

Distribution of the name

In USA, things are very different. CROSSER is a common name especially amongst people whose origins are in Germany and Central Europe.

Many CROSSER descendants are today using the surname COSSAR and are to be found in UK, New Zealand, Australia and North America.

If you are, or know, Robert Hunter Brown from Motherwell, descended from Richard Roberts LIGHTBODY, I have some Crosser news for you. Please kindly get back in touch.


Sources researched include:

  • GRO S Scottish birth, marriage and death civil registration certificates from 1855
  • GRO English & Welsh birth, marriage indexes from 1837
  • Scottish testament calendars and testaments
  • English & Welsh wills from 1858
  • 1841 British census index and England & Wales images
  • 1851 British census index and images
  • 1861 British census index and images
  • 1871 British census index and images
  • 1881 British census index and images (does not include Ireland)
  • 1891 British census index and images
  • 1901 British census index and images
  • 1911 England & Wales census index and images
  • Some Australian birth, marriage and death civil registration indexes
  • Some US birth, marriage and death civil registration indexes
  • Recent telephone directory entries for the UK, Australia, South Africa and USA

Currently working on:

  • Scottish census images 1911
  • 19th and 20th century USA censuses
  • New Zealand birth, marriage and death civil registration indexes
  • US censuses 1900-1930.


I have recently started a DNA project here

and would like to hear from anyone interested in participating.