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

Origins Available: English, German, Scottish

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

The surname Matheson is a patronymic name derived from the well known first name Matthew. This name is ultimately derived from the Hebrew personal name "Mattathaigh," meaning "gift of Jehovah;" it was Latinized as Matthaeus and Mathaeus. It was introduced to England by the Normans, and quickly became quite a popular name.


A multitude of spelling variations characterize Norman surnames. Many variations occurred because Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England also had a pronounced effect, as did the court languages of Latin and French. Therefore, one person was often referred to by several different spellings in a single lifetime. The various spellings include Matthew, Matthews, Matthewson, Matheson, Mathew, Mathews and many more.

First found in the Domesday Book in 1086, listed as Mathiu and Matheus. They family came to England following the invasion of William the Conquerer in 1066.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Matheson research. Another 147 words(10 lines of text) covering the years 1260, 1273, 1273, 1395, 1546, 1628, 1577, 1655, 1790, 1856, 1863, 1941, 1824, 1889, 1797 and are included under the topic Early Matheson History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 121 words(9 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Matheson Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Matheson family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 203 words(14 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


Many English families left England, to avoid the chaos of their homeland and migrated to the many British colonies abroad. Although the conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and some travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute, once in the colonies, many of the families prospered and made valuable contributions to the cultures of what would become the United States and Canada. Research into the origins of individual families in North America has revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Matheson or a variant listed above:

Matheson Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • Alexander Matheson, who arrived in Boston in 1736
  • Farquhar Matheson, who arrived in America in 1774
  • Hugh Matheson, who settled in Wilmington, North Carolina in 1774
  • Hugh and Kathrine Matheson came to Wilmington, North Carolina in 1774
  • Hugh Matheson, aged 32, arrived in Wilmington, North Carolina in 1774

Matheson Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • Rodk Matheson, who landed in South Carolina in 1811
  • Duncan Matheson, who landed in Georgia in 1811
  • Murdoch Matheson, aged 22, arrived in Georgia in 1812
  • William Matheson, who arrived in Georgia in 1850
  • Donald Matheson, who arrived in Mississippi in 1892

Matheson Settlers in the United States in the 20th Century

  • Alexander Carmichael Matheson, aged 38, who emigrated to the United States from London, England, in 1907
  • Alexander Matheson, aged 44, who settled in America from Glasgow, Scotland, in 1911
  • Alexandrina Matheson, aged 21, who landed in America from Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1912
  • Adam George Matheson, aged 22, who settled in America from Glasgow, Scotland, in 1918
  • Aeneas Matheson, aged 19, who landed in America from Lockinvar, Scotland, in 1923


  • Scott Milne Matheson (1929-1990), American politician, 12th Governor of Utah (1977-1985)
  • Max Matheson, American Chemist
  • Timothy Lewis "Tim" Matheson (b. 1947), American actor, director, and producer, best known for his role in the 1978 comedy National Lampoon's Animal House
  • Richard Burton Matheson (1926-2013), American author and screenwriter, probably best known for his work "I am Legend" and his Twilight Zone screenplays, recipient of the World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement in 1984 and the Bram Stoker Award for Lifetime Achievement
  • Roderick Nicol Matheson (1824-1862), American commanding officer in the Union Army during the American Civil War
  • Sir James Adam Louis Matheson (b. 1912), British academic and university administrator in Australia
  • Sir James Nicolas Sutherland Matheson (1796-1878), Scottish businessman, opium trader, politician, made 1st Baronet Matheson in 1851
  • Karen Matheson (b. 1963), Scottish folk singer
  • John Ross Matheson OC, CD (b. 1917), Canadian lawyer, judge, and politician
  • Sir Alexander Perceval Matheson (1861-1929), Australian, member of the Senate of Australia, 3rd Baronet Matheson



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  1. Reaney P.H and R.M. Wilson. A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X).
  2. MacAulay, Thomas Babington. History of England from the Accession of James the Second 4 volumes. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1879. Print.
  3. Hitching, F.K and S. Hitching. References to English Surnames in 1601-1602. Walton On Thames: 1910. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0181-3).
  4. Shirley, Evelyn Philip. Noble and Gentle Men of England Or Notes Touching The Arms and Descendants of the Ancient Knightley and Gentle Houses of England Arranged in their Respective Counties 3rd Edition. Westminster: John Bowyer Nichols and Sons, 1866. Print.
  5. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  6. Bardsley, C.W. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6).
  7. Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
  8. Bede, The Venerable. Historia Ecclesiatica Gentis Anglorum (The Ecclesiastical History Of the English People). Available through Internet Medieval Sourcebook the Fordham University Centre for Medieval Studies. Print.
  9. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1790. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  10. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  11. ...

The Matheson Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Matheson 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 3 April 2014 at 11:00.

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