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

Origins Available: English, Irish, Scottish

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

The saga of the name Wilson begins among the Viking settlers who arrived in Scotland in the medieval era. The name Wilson is derived from the personal name William. The name literally was derived from the patronymic expression son of William or son of Wil. [1]


Contemporary spellings of ancient Scottish names often bear little resemblance to the original recorded versions. These spelling variations result from the fact that medieval scribes spelled words and names alike according to their sounds. Wilson has been spelled Wilson, Willson, Wilsone, Wulson, Wilsoun and others.

First found in Berwickshire an ancient county of Scotland, presently part of the Scottish Borders Council Area, located in the eastern part of the Borders Region of Scotland, where John Wulson was a merchant in the service of Sir John of Montgomery in 1405. Michael Wilsoun was Burgess of Irvine in 1418, and John Wilson was Burgess of Berwick in 1467. [1]


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Wilson research. Another 333 words(24 lines of text) covering the years 1563, 1603, 1685, 1680 and 1750 are included under the topic Early Wilson History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 89 words(6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Wilson Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Wilson family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 143 words(10 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


The colonies on the fertile east coast of North America soon had many farms run by Scots. These hardy settlers provided a backbone for the great nations of the United States and Canada that would emerge in the next centuries. Early North American immigration records have revealed a number of people bearing the Scottish name Wilson or a variant listed above, including:

Wilson Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century

  • Clement Wilson, who landed in Virginia in 1622
  • John Wilson, who settled in Virginia in 1623
  • Andrew Wilson, who arrived in New England in 1651
  • Andrew Wilson, who arrived in Boston, Massachusetts in 1651
  • Christopher Wilson, a Scotch prisoner sent to Boston in 1651

Wilson Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • Cornelius Wilson, who landed in Virginia in 1712
  • David Wilson, who came to Virginia in 1719
  • Anne Wilson, a bonded passenger, who arrived in Maryland in 1724
  • Alexander Wilson, a Scotch-Irish settled in Boston sometime between 1730 and 1736
  • Elizabeth Wilson, who landed in Augusta County, Va in 1740

Wilson Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • Samuel Wilson, who arrived in New York from Londonderry in 1803 aboard the "Independence"
  • Joseph Wilson of Belfast, who arrived at Philadelphia in 1803, aboard the "Snow George"
  • Eleanor Wilson, aged 36, arrived in Pennsylvania in 1803
  • James Wilson, who arrived in New York in 1806 aboard the "Augusta" from Dublin
  • Brown Wilson, who landed in Ohio in 1807


  • Olin Chaddock Wilson (1909-1994), American astronomer, stellar spectroscopist, awarded the the Henry Norris Russell Lectureship in 1977 and the Bruce Medal in 1984
  • President Thomas Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924), American politician, the twenty-eighth President of the United States
  • James Harrison Wilson (1837-1925), Union Army general in the American Civil War, railroad executive, and author
  • Ellen Louise Axson Wilson (1860-1914), first wife of Woodrow Wilson, First Lady of the United States from 1913 until her death
  • Edith Bolling Galt Wilson (1872-1961), second wife of President Woodrow Wilson, First Lady of the United States (1915-1921)
  • Gahan Wilson (b. 1930), American cartoonist
  • Tom Wilson (b. 1931), American cartoonist
  • Edmund Wilson (1895-1972), American literary critic and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom
  • Edmund Beecher Wilson (1856-1939), American zoologist
  • Edward Osborne Wilson (b. 1929), American biologist and two-time winner (1979 and 1991) of the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction and the 1976 National Medal of Science



  • A Brief Account of the Wilsons by Emery Small Wilson.
  • The DeMay Family and the Wilson Family by Ida DeMay Wilson.
  • The Family of Samuel & Jean Love Wilson by Sara Stewart Hinckley.

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: Vincit qui se vincit
Motto Translation: He conquers, who conquers himself.


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  1. ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)

Other References

  1. Dorward, David. Scottish Surnames. Glasgow: Harper Collins, 1995. Print.
  2. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  3. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  4. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  5. Bloxham, Ben. Key to Parochial Registers of Scotland From Earliest Times Through 1854 2nd edition. Provo, UT: Stevenson's Genealogical Center, 1979. Print.
  6. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  7. Barrow, G.W.S Ed. Acts of Malcom IV 1153-65 Volume I Regesta Regum Scottorum 1153-1424. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1960. Print.
  8. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Scotch Irish Pioneers In Ulster and America. Montana: Kessinger Publishing. Print.
  9. Catholic Directory For Scotland. Glasgow: Burns Publications. Print.
  10. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  11. ...

The Wilson Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Wilson 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 18:58.

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