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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2016

Origins Available: English-Alt, English


Dawson is a name that came to England in the 11th century wave of migration that was set off by the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Dawson family lived in Westmorland (now part of Cumbria). The family was originally from Osonvilla, near Dieppe, Normandy, and it is from the local form of this name, D'Oson, which means from Oson, that their name derives.

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The English language only became standardized in the last few centuries. For that reason, spelling variations are common among many Anglo-Norman names. The shape of the English language was frequently changed with the introduction of elements of Norman French, Latin, and other European languages; even the spelling of literate people's names were subsequently modified. Dawson has been recorded under many different variations, including Dawson, Daweson and others.

First found in the West Riding of Yorkshire at North Bierely, a township, in the parish and union of Bradford, wapentake of Morley. "Royds Hall [in North Bierely], which has been for many years the residence of the Dawson family, was originally built by the Rookes." [1]


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Dawson research. Another 333 words (24 lines of text) covering the years 1170, 1466, 1531, 1541, 1607, 1797 and are included under the topic Early Dawson History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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More information is included under the topic Early Dawson Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Dawson family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 183 words (13 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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To escape the uncertainty of the political and religious uncertainty found in England, many English families boarded ships at great expense to sail for the colonies held by Britain. The passages were expensive, though, and the boats were unsafe, overcrowded, and ridden with disease. Those who were hardy and lucky enough to make the passage intact were rewarded with land, opportunity, and social environment less prone to religious and political persecution. Many of these families went on to be important contributors to the young nations of Canada and the United States where they settled. Dawsons were some of the first of the immigrants to arrive in North America:

Dawson Settlers in United States in the 17th Century


  • William Dawson settled in Virginia in 1607
  • Will Dawson, who landed in Jamestown, Va in 1607
  • Owen Dawson, who arrived in Virginia in 1622-1623
  • George Dawson settled in Virginia in 1623
  • Georg Dawson, who arrived in Virginia in 1623


Dawson Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • Gregory Dawson, who landed in Virginia in 1701
  • Richd Dawson, who landed in Virginia in 1703
  • Margt Dawson, who arrived in Virginia in 1704
  • Thomasin Dawson, who landed in Virginia in 1713
  • Nicho Dawson, who landed in Virginia in 1714


Dawson Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • W Dawson, aged 28, arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1803
  • Eliza Dawson, aged 38, landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1805
  • Patrick Dawson, aged 22, arrived in New York in 1812
  • William Dawson, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1812
  • Washington Dawson, who landed in New York, NY in 1815


Dawson Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century


  • Thomas Dawson was a merchant in Harbour Grace, Newfoundland in 1771
  • Capt. George Dawson U.E. who settled in Parr Town [Saint John], New Brunswick c. 1784 he served in the King's Orange Rangers
  • Mr. George Dawson U.E. who settled in Charlotee County, New Brunswick c. 1784 he was part of the Penobscot Association
  • Mr. James Dawson U.E. who settled in Kingston, Ontario c. 1784
  • Michael Dawson was a fiddler in St. John's, Newfoundland in 1794

Dawson Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century


  • Catherine Dawson from county Kilkenny was married in St. John's Newfoundland in 1824
  • Catherine Dawson, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1826
  • James Dawson from Kilkenny settled in Port de Grave, Newfoundland in 1844
  • J Dawson, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1848
  • J A Dawson, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1848

Dawson Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century


  • Miss N Dawson, who arrived in St John, New Brunswick in 1907

Dawson Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • George Dawson, English convict from Middlesex, who was transported aboard the "Agamemnon" on April 22, 1820, settling in New South Wales, Australia
  • Richard Dawson, a blacksmith, arrived in Van Diemenís Land (now Tasmania) sometime between 1825 and 1832
  • James Dawson arrived in Van Diemenís Land (now Tasmania) sometime between 1825 and 1832
  • Flora Dawson arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "City Of Adelaide" in 1839
  • Archibald Dawson arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Fairfield" in 1839


Dawson Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • G F Dawson landed in Wanganui, New Zealand in 1841
  • T F Dawson landed in Auckland, New Zealand in 1841
  • William Dawson, aged 24, a farm servant, arrived in Otago aboard the ship "Phoebe Dunbar" in 1841850
  • Mary Dawson, aged 23, arrived in Otago aboard the ship "Phoebe Dunbar" in 1841850
  • C. Dawson arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Ashmore" in 1856


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  • Glen Dawson (1912-2016), American California rock climber, mountaineer, antiquarian bookseller, publisher and environmentalist
  • John R. Dawson (1950-2003), American politician, U.S. Ambassador to Peru, 2002-03
  • JaJuan Dawson (1977-2015), American NFL wide receiver who played from 2000 to 2003
  • Mr. Walter Dawson, American 3rd Class passenger from Lowell, Massachusetts, USA, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and survived the sinking
  • George Dawson (1898-2001), American author who didn't learn to read until the age of 98
  • Major General Donald S. Dawson (1908-2005), American lawyer best remembered as the presidential aide who marshaled Harry S. Truman's crucial whistle-stop tour in the 1948 election campaign
  • Archie O. Dawson, American politician, Delegate to New York convention to ratify 21st amendment, 1933
  • Arch F. Dawson, American Democrat politician, Member of West Virginia State House of Delegates from Monongalia County, 1945-46; Defeated, 1942
  • Allan Dawson (1903-1949), American politician, U.S. Vice Consul in Rio de Janeiro, 1925-26; Bahia, 1926-27; U.S. Consul in Hamburg, 1937-39; La Paz, 1940
  • Alfred J. Dawson, American Democrat politician, Alternate Delegate to Democratic National Convention from California, 1972

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  • Dawsons in the Revolutionary War and Their Descendants by Carol Ruth Dawson.
  • The Families of Ruebsamen, Spear, Dawson, Burley by Neil Newayne Ruebsaman.
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  1. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.

Other References

  1. Bardsley, C.W. A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6).
  2. Dunkling, Leslie. Dictionary of Surnames. Toronto: Collins, 1998. Print. (ISBN 0004720598).
  3. Markale, J. Celtic Civilization. London: Gordon & Cremonesi, 1976. Print.
  4. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  5. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  6. Reaney P.H and R.M. Wilson. A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X).
  7. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  8. Marcharn, Frederick George. A Constitutional History of Modern England 1485 to the Present. London: Harper and Brothers, 1960. Print.
  9. Leeson, Francis L. Dictionary of British Peerages. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-1121-5).
  10. 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).
  11. ...

The Dawson Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Dawson 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 29 March 2016 at 13:26.

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