1,477,415 Willson members around the world
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Willson Family History
Family spelling variants include Willson, Willison.
There are approximately 1,477,415 Wilson family members around the world. In general you can double this figure to include those related to the Wilson names to allow for those connected to the name through maiden name connections.
It is estimated that the largest group of Wilson family members live USA with 1,014,419 (68.7%) members, England with 195,933 (13.3%), Canada with 82,770 (5.6%), Australia with 77,643 (5.3%), Scotland with 43,437 (2.9%), South Africa with 33,852 (2.3%), Ireland with 15,238 (1%), New Zealand with 8,048 (0.5%) and Wales with 6,075 (0.4%).
An English relationship name from the Middle English personal name Will + patronymic -son meaning ‘son of Will ’.
The root is 'wil' an Old Germanic word which has passed into modern German and English as 'will' with perhaps the original meaning of 'desire' (for power, conquest etc).
Early bearers of the surname include: Robert Willeson, 1324 in Wakefield Court Rolls (Yorks); Robert Wilson, 1341 in Kirkstall Coucher Book (Yorks); John Willison, 1366 in Subsidy Rolls (Lancs); Hugo Wyllesone, 1377 in Poll Tax (Mucklestone, Staffs); Adam Wyllson’, 1379 in Poll Tax (Kettlewell, WR Yorks); Johannes Wyllyson’, 1379 in Poll Tax (Skibeden, WR Yorks); Thoma Wylson’, 1379 in Poll Tax (Brough with Stainmore, Westm); Thomas Wylson’, 1381 in Poll Tax (Ince Blundell, Lancs); Johannae Wilson, 1538 in IGI (Alstonefield, Staffs); Christopher Wilson, 1539 in IGI (Morland, Westm); Tho. Wilson, 1544 in IGI (Croston, Lancs); Hannah Wilson, 1670 in IGI (Emswell, Yorks).
In 1891, there were 107,942 occurrences in England and Wales and a further 30,528 in Scotland.
In 1881, the surname was widespread and particularly frequent in the Southern county of Kent with 2,692 occurrences.
In 1881, Farmer, Coal Miner and Labourer were the top 3 reported jobs worked by Wilson. The most common occupation was a Farmer and a less common occupation was Agricultural Labourer.
The noted, Michael Anthony Willson was born in 1963 in Dartford, Kent, a former professional sportsman best known for his role as Cobra on the British TV show Gladiators from 1992–2000.
1881, 1891 Census
1881 Census in Kent
Dictionary of American Family Homes, P Hanks OUP 2003
Homes of Family Names in Great Britain, H.B. Guppy, London 1890
The Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain and Ireland, P.Hanks, Coats, McClure OUP 2016
1860 Lower, Mark A Patronymica Britannica: a dictionary of the family names of the United Kingdom, London: J.R Smith. Public Domain
1857 Arthur, William An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names. New York: Sheldon, Blakeman. Public Domain
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