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

Origins Available: Danish, English, Scottish, Swedish

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

Johnson is a name whose roots are found in the clans of the Boernician people of ancient Scotland. The Johnson family lived in any of several place names in Scotland. Most instances of the name are thought to come from the barony of John's Town in Annandale, Dumfriesshire. The place name comes from the personal name John, and the Middle English tone or toun, meaning "a town." Other places so named in Scotland include St. John's Toun (now the city of Perth).


Scribes in the Middle Ages simply spelled according to sound. The result is an enormous number of spelling variations among names that evolved in that era. Johnson has been spelled Jonsoom, Jonstoombe, Johnson, Johnstome, Jonstoom, Jonstoomb, Johnstolm, Jonsome, Johnstume, Jonstolm, Jonsolm, Jonstum, Jonstome, Jonsom, Jonsum, Jonstume, Jonsomb, Jonsombe, Jonsoombe, Jonsoomb and many more.

First found in Dumfries (now part of the region of Galloway) where they held the barony of John's Town. There is a heraldic similarity with the Kirkpatrick family coat of arms, leading to the belief that John was a descendant of Gospatrick, Earl of Northumberland. Gilbert, son of John received a parcel of land in southern Annandale from William Bruce, Lord of Annandale, some time between 1195 and 1214.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Johnson research. Another 477 words(34 lines of text) covering the years 1296, 1611, 1663, 1625, 1672, 1664, 1721, 1701, 1602, 1653, 1687, 1730, 1697, 1772, 1743, 1754, 1711, 1700 and are included under the topic Early Johnson History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 185 words(13 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Johnson Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Johnson family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 133 words(10 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


Most of the Boernician-Scottish families who came to North America settled on the eastern seaboard of what would become the United States and Canada. Families who wanted a new order stayed south in the War of Independence, while those who were still loyal to the crown went north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. In the 20th century, the ancestors of these families have gone on to rediscover their heritage through Clan societies and other patriotic Scottish organizations. Research into the origins of individual families in North America has revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Johnson or a variant listed above:

Johnson Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century

  • Davy Johnson, who arrived in Massachusetts in 1630
  • Choyce Johnson, who landed in Virginia in 1635
  • Edmond Johnson, aged 23, landed in New England in 1635
  • Eliz Johnson, aged 18, arrived in Virginia in 1635
  • Alice Johnson, who settled in Virginia in 1635

Johnson Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • Catherine Johnson, who landed in Virginia in 1703
  • Arthur Johnson, who arrived in Virginia in 1713
  • Anne Johnson, who arrived in Virginia in 1714
  • Adam Johnson, who landed in New England in 1738
  • Abraham Johnson, who landed in New England in 1760

Johnson Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • Bryan Johnson, aged 25, arrived in New York in 1812
  • Archibald Johnson, aged 21, arrived in Maryland in 1813
  • Deborah Johnson, who landed in Massachusetts in 1813
  • Michael Johnson, who was living in New York in 1818
  • Ellen Johnson, aged 40, landed in America in 1822

Johnson Settlers in the United States in the 20th Century

  • Christ Johnson, who arrived in New York, NY in 1905
  • Alfred Johnson, who arrived in Wisconsin in 1914
  • Arnold Johnson, who landed in Wisconsin in 1917


  • President Lyndon Baines Johnson (1908-1973), 36th President of the United States and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom
  • Robert Johnson (1911-1938), influential American blues singer and guitarist
  • Michael Johnson (b. 1967), American gold medal winning sprinter
  • Carol Diahann Johnson (b. 1935), original name of Diahann Carroll, an American award-winning actress and singer
  • Caryn Elaine Johnson (b. 1950), original name of Whoopi Goldberg, American actress, comedian, singer-songwriter, activist, and media personality
  • James Price Johnson (1894-1955), African-American pianist and composer
  • Willie Gary "Bunk" Johnson (1879-1949), prominent early New Orleans jazz trumpet player
  • Elizabeth McCardle Johnson (1810-1876), 22nd First Lady of the United States and the wife of President Andrew Johnson
  • Allen Kenneth Johnson (b. 1971), American athlete who Olympic Gold in the 110 meter high hurdles at the 1996 games
  • Merle Johnson Jr. (1936-2001), original name of Troy Donahue, an American actor and teen idol of the late 1950s and early 1960s



  • The Johnson Family by Ruby Wiedman.
  • Some Johnsons of Southern Maryland by Leona A. Cryer.
  • Those Handy Nordics by Ethel Marie Johnson Taylor.
  • The Descendants of William and John Johnson.

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Nunquam non paratus
Motto Translation: Never unprepared


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  1. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  2. Bloxham, Ben. Key to Parochial Registers of Scotland From Earliest Times Through 1854 2nd edition. Provo, UT: Stevenson's Genealogical Center, 1979. Print.
  3. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Scotch Irish Pioneers In Ulster and America. Montana: Kessinger Publishing. Print.
  4. Browne, James. The History of Scotland it's Highlands, Regiments and Clans 8 Volumes. Edinburgh: Francis A Niccolls & Co, 1909. Print.
  5. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  6. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
  7. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  8. Skene, William Forbes Edition. Chronicles of the Picts, Chronicles of the Scots and Other Early Memorials of Scottish History. Edinburgh: H.M. General Register House, 1867. Print.
  9. Bell, Robert. The Book of Ulster Surnames. Belfast: Blackstaff, 1988. Print. (ISBN 10-0856404160).
  10. Paul, Sir James Balfour. An Ordinary of Arms Contained in the Public Register of All Arms and Bearings in Scotland Second Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1903. Print.
  11. ...

The Johnson Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Johnson 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 20 October 2014 at 23:47.

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