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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2014

Origins Available: English-Alt, English, Irish

Where did the English Dawson family come from? What is the English Dawson family crest and coat of arms? When did the Dawson family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Dawson family history?

Dawson is a name that came to England in the 11th century wave of migration that was set off by the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Dawson family lived in Westmorland (now part of Cumbria). The family was originally from Osonvilla, near Dieppe, Normandy, and it is from the local form of this name, D'Oson, which means from Oson, that their name derives.


The English language only became standardized in the last few centuries. For that reason, spelling variations are common among many Anglo-Norman names. The shape of the English language was frequently changed with the introduction of elements of Norman French, Latin, and other European languages; even the spelling of literate people's names were subsequently modified. Dawson has been recorded under many different variations, including Dawson, Daweson and others.

First found in Westmorland where they held a family seat from very early times and were granted lands by Duke William of Normandy, their liege Lord, for their distinguished assistance at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 A.D.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Dawson research. Another 333 words(24 lines of text) covering the years 1170, 1466, 1531, 1541, 1607, 1797 and are included under the topic Early Dawson History in all our PDF Extended History products.


More information is included under the topic Early Dawson Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Dawson family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 183 words(13 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


To escape the uncertainty of the political and religious uncertainty found in England, many English families boarded ships at great expense to sail for the colonies held by Britain. The passages were expensive, though, and the boats were unsafe, overcrowded, and ridden with disease. Those who were hardy and lucky enough to make the passage intact were rewarded with land, opportunity, and social environment less prone to religious and political persecution. Many of these families went on to be important contributors to the young nations of Canada and the United States where they settled. Dawsons were some of the first of the immigrants to arrive in North America:

Dawson Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century

  • William Dawson settled in Virginia in 1607
  • Will Dawson, who landed in Jamestown, Va in 1607
  • Owen Dawson, who arrived in Virginia in 1622-1623
  • George Dawson settled in Virginia in 1623
  • Georg Dawson, who arrived in Virginia in 1623

Dawson Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • Gregory Dawson, who landed in Virginia in 1701
  • Richd Dawson, who landed in Virginia in 1703
  • Margt Dawson, who arrived in Virginia in 1704
  • Thomasin Dawson, who landed in Virginia in 1713
  • Nicho Dawson, who landed in Virginia in 1714

Dawson Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • W Dawson, aged 28, arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1803
  • Eliza Dawson, aged 38, landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1805
  • Patrick Dawson, aged 22, arrived in New York in 1812
  • William Dawson, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1812
  • Washington Dawson, who landed in New York, NY in 1815


  • William Dawson Jr. (1885-1972), American diplomat, US ambassador to four South American countries, and 1st US ambassador to the Organization of American states (OAS) in 1948
  • Richard Dawson (1920-2012), English-born, American actor and television game show host, best known for his role as Corporal Peter Newkirk on Hogan's Heroes
  • Major General Donald S. Dawson (1908-2005), American lawyer best remembered as the presidential aide who marshaled Harry S. Truman's crucial whistle-stop tour in the 1948 election campaign
  • George Dawson (1898-2001), American author who didn't learn to read until the age of 98
  • Air Chief Marshal Sir Walter Lloyd Dawson KCB, CBE, DSO, RAF (1902-1994), British officer and a senior commander in the Royal Air Force in the 1950s
  • Bertrand Edward Dawson (1864-1945), English physician
  • Charles Dawson (1864-1916), amateur British archaeologist who is credited and blamed with discoveries that turned out to be imaginative frauds, including that of the Piltdown Man
  • Henry Dawson (1811-1878), English landscape painter
  • Colonel James Lennox Dawson VC (1891-1967), Scottish recipient of the Victoria Cross
  • Sir Daryl Dawson (b. 1933), Australian judge and naval officer, Justice of the High Court of Australia from 1982 to 1997



  • Dawsons in the Revolutionary War and Their Descendants by Carol Ruth Dawson.
  • The Families of Ruebsamen, Spear, Dawson, Burley by Neil Newayne Ruebsaman.

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  1. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  2. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds. Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  3. Bardsley, C.W. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6).
  4. Fairbairn. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  5. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  6. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  7. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  8. Burke, Sir Bernard. Burke's Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry: Including American Families with British Ancestry. (2 Volumes). London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
  9. Marcharn, Frederick George. A Constitutional History of Modern England 1485 to the Present. London: Harper and Brothers, 1960. Print.
  10. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
  11. ...

The Dawson Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Dawson Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 9 September 2014 at 17:12.

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