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

Origins Available: Danish, English, Scottish, Swedish

Where did the English Johnson family come from? What is the English 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 of ancient Norman origin. It arrived in England with the Norman Conquest of 1066. Johnson is a name that comes from the given name John and the name literally means "son of John." The given name John is derived from the Hebrew name Johanan, which means Jehovah has favored. The name was extremely popular in the Middle Ages as a result of the numerous connections between the name John and the Christian Church.


Anglo-Norman names are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. When the Normans became the ruling people of England in the 11th century, they introduced a new language into a society where the main languages of Old and later Middle English had no definite spelling rules. These languages were more often spoken than written, so they blended freely with one another. Contributing to this mixing of tongues was the fact that medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, ensuring that a person's name would appear differently in nearly every document in which it was recorded. The name has been spelled Johnson, Joneson, Jonson, Joynson and others.

First found in Lincolnshire, where the Johnson family had been granted lands by Duke William on his conquest of England in 1066.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Johnson research. Another 245 words(18 lines of text) covering the years 1296, 1375, 1503, 1629, 1675, 1644, 1713, 1680, 1689, 1659, 1719, 1689, 1719, 1688, 1775, 1682, 1735, 1717, 1719, 1797 and are included under the topic Early Johnson History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 219 words(16 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 139 words(10 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


For many English families, the political and religious disarray that plagued their homeland made the frontiers of the New World an attractive prospect. Thousands migrated, aboard cramped disease-ridden ships. They arrived sick, poor, and hungry, but were welcomed in many cases with far greater opportunity than at home in England. Many of these hardy settlers went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations in which they landed. Among early immigrants bearing the name Johnson or a variant listed above were:

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.

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  1. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
  2. Markale, J. Celtic Civilization. London: Gordon & Cremonesi, 1976. Print.
  3. 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).
  4. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  5. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
  6. Lennard, Reginald. Rural England 1086-1135 A Study of Social and Agrarian Conditions. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1959. Print.
  7. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  8. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  9. Thirsk, Joan. The Agrarian History of England and Wales. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 7 Volumes. Print.
  10. 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.
  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 21 October 2014 at 15:37.

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