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

Origins Available: English, Scottish

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

Watson is an ancient Anglo-Saxon name that is derived from Wat, which is a diminutive form of Walter. This Old German name, which literally means mighty army, was introduced into England during the reign of Edward the Confessor and became one of the most popular personal names in that country following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The surname also features the suffix -son, which superseded other patronymic suffixes in popularity during the 14th century and was most popular in the north of England.


Watson has been spelled many different ways, including Before English spelling became standardized over the last few hundred years, spelling variations in names were a common occurrence. As the English language changed in the Middle Ages, absorbing pieces of Latin and French, as well as other languages, the spelling of people's names also changed considerably, even over a single lifetime. Wattson, Walterson, MacWattie and others.

First found in the county of Rutland, where they were Lords of the manor of Rockingham, from ancient times.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Watson research. Another 271 words(19 lines of text) covering the years 1392, 1450, 1493, 1593, 1685, 1620, 1686, 1617, 1683, 1659, 1660, 1683, 1637, 1717, 1687, 1699, 1687, 1710, 1686, 1722, 1630 and are included under the topic Early Watson History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 163 words(12 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Watson Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Watson family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 167 words(12 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


In an attempt to escape the chaos experienced in England, many English families boarded overcrowded and diseased ships sailing for the shores of North America and other British colonies. Those families hardy enough, and lucky enough, to make the passage intact were rewarded with land and a social environment less prone to religious and political persecution. Many of these families became important contributors to the young colonies in which they settled. Early immigration and passenger lists have documented some of the first Watsons to arrive on North American shores:

Watson Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century

  • John Watson who settled in Virginia in 1620
  • George Watson, who arrived in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1631
  • Abraham, Alice, Elizabeth, Francis, Joe, Margaret, and William Watson, all settled in Virginia in 1635
  • Alice Watson, aged 30, landed in Virginia in 1635
  • Christopher Watson, aged 21, arrived in St Christopher in 1635

Watson Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • Anna Watson, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1701
  • Charles Watson, who landed in New England in 1711
  • George Watson settled in Georgia in 1775 with his wife and four children
  • Andrew Watson, aged 21, arrived in Georgia in 1775
  • Ann Watson, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1776

Watson Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • Daniel Watson, aged 35, landed in North Carolina in 1812
  • Edward Wm Watson, aged 29, landed in St Louis, Missouri in 1847
  • Felton Watson, aged 33, landed in St Louis, Missouri in 1848
  • Esther Watson, who arrived in Illinois in 1850
  • Elizabeth Watson, who arrived in New Orleans, La in 1852


  • Arthel Lane "Doc" Watson (b. 1923), American guitar player, songwriter and singer who has won seven Grammy awards as well as a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award
  • Thomas Augustus Watson (1854-1934), American assistant to Alexander Graham Bell, best known as the person who heard the first words on a telephone "Mr. Watson - Come here - I want to see you"
  • Michael Barrett "Barry" Watson (b. 1974), American actor
  • John Broadus Watson (1878-1958), American psychologist
  • James Dewey Watson (b. 1928), American biologist awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1962, the National Medal of Science in 1997, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom
  • Private Wilson Douglas Watson (1921-1994), United States Marine who was awarded the Medal of Honor
  • Thomas John Watson Jr. (1914-1993), President of IBM from 1952-1971 and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom
  • Gerry Lester "Bubba" Watson Jr (b. 1978), American professional PGA golfer, two-time winner of the Masters Tournament (2012 and 2014)
  • Thomas Sturges "Tom" Watson (b. 1949), American professional golfer, two-time winner of the Masters Tournament (1977, 1981)
  • Foster Watson (1860-1929), English historian



  • The American Family of John Watson of the Narragansett County, Rhode Island by George C. Davis.
  • Ancestors and Descendants of John and Hannah (Goodwin) Watson of Hartford, Connecticut and Associated Families by Ralph Arthur Watson.
  • Genealogy and History of the Watson Family by Samuel E. Watson.

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: Mea gloria fides
Motto Translation: Fidelity is my glory.


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  1. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
  2. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1790. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  3. Crispin, M. Jackson and Leonce Mary. Falaise Roll Recording Prominent Companions of William Duke of Normandy at the Conquest of England. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  4. Elster, Robert J. International Who's Who. London: Europa/Routledge. Print.
  5. Hanks, Hodges, Mills and Room. The Oxford Names Companion. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Print. (ISBN 0-19-860561-7).
  6. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  7. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin . Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  8. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  9. Lennard, Reginald. Rural England 1086-1135 A Study of Social and Agrarian Conditions. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1959. Print.
  10. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
  11. ...

The Watson Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Watson 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 23 October 2014 at 11:38.

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