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

Origins Available: Danish, English, Scottish, Swedish


Johnson is a name whose roots are found in the clans of the Boernician people of ancient Scotland. The Johnson family lived in any of several place names in Scotland. Most instances of the name are thought to come from the barony of John's Town in Annandale, Dumfriesshire. The place name comes from the personal name John, and the Middle English tone or toun, meaning "a town." Other places so named in Scotland include St. John's Toun (now the city of Perth).

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The surname Johnson was first found in Dumfries (now part of the region of Galloway) where they held the barony of John's Town. There is a heraldic similarity with the Kirkpatrick family coat of arms, leading to the belief that John was a descendant of Gospatrick, Earl of Northumberland. Gilbert, son of John received a parcel of land in southern Annandale from William Bruce, Lord of Annandale, some time between 1195 and 1214.

Scribes in the Middle Ages simply spelled according to sound. The result is an enormous number of spelling variations among names that evolved in that era. Johnson has been spelled Jonsoom, Jonstoombe, Johnson, Johnstome, Jonstoom, Jonstoomb, Johnstolm, Jonsome, Johnstume, Jonstolm, Jonsolm, Jonstum, Jonstome, Jonsom, Jonsum, Jonstume, Jonsomb, Jonsombe, Jonsoombe, Jonsoomb and many more.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Johnson research. Another 477 words (34 lines of text) covering the years 1296, 1611, 1663, 1625, 1672, 1664, 1721, 1701, 1602, 1653, 1687, 1730, 1697, 1772, 1743, 1754, 1711, 1700 and are included under the topic Early Johnson History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 185 words (13 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Johnson Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Johnson family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 133 words (10 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Most of the Boernician-Scottish families who came to North America settled on the eastern seaboard of what would become the United States and Canada. Families who wanted a new order stayed south in the War of Independence, while those who were still loyal to the crown went north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. In the 20th century, the ancestors of these families have gone on to rediscover their heritage through Clan societies and other patriotic Scottish organizations. Research into the origins of individual families in North America has revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Johnson or a variant listed above:

Johnson Settlers in 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 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 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 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

Johnson Settlers in Canada in the 17th Century


  • Thomas Johnson, who sailed to St. John's, Newfoundland in 1666

Johnson Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century


  • James Johnson, who was living in Lower Island Cove, Newfoundland in 1768
  • Mr. John Johnson U.E. who arrived at Port Roseway [Shelburne], Nova Scotia on December 13, 1783 was passenger number 465 aboard the ship "HMS Clinton", picked up on November 14, 1783 at East River, New York
  • Mr. Jonas Johnson U.E. who settled in Canada c. 1784
  • Mr. George Johnson U.E. who settled in Charlotte County, New Brunswick c. 1784 he was part of the Port Matoon Association
  • Mr. Henry Johnson U.E. who settled in Canada c. 1784


Johnson Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century


  • Bridget Johnson, who arrived in Quebec in 1825
  • Joseph Johnson, aged 22, a labourer, arrived in Saint John, NB aboard the ship "Billow" in 1833

Johnson Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • John Johnson, English convict from Staffordshire, who was transported aboard the "Ann" on August 1809, settling in New South Wales, Australia
  • John Johnson, English convict from Middlesex, who was transported aboard the "Almorah" on April 1817, settling in New South Wales, Australia
  • John Johnson, English convict from Chester, who was transported aboard the "Almorah" on April 1817, settling in New South Wales, Australia
  • Joseph Johnson, English convict from London, who was transported aboard the "Almorah" on April 1817, settling in New South Wales, Australia
  • Robert Johnson, English convict from Middlesex, who was transported aboard the "Almorah" on April 1817, settling in New South Wales, Australia


Johnson Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • James Johnson landed in Bay of Islands, New Zealand in 1836 aboard the ship Success
  • Thomas Johnson landed in Auckland, New Zealand in 1840
  • W Johnson landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840 aboard the ship Adelaide
  • Dav Johnson landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840 aboard the ship Bengal Merchant
  • Edward Johnson landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840 aboard the ship Martha Ridgway


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  • President Andrew Johnson (1808-1875), 17th President of the United States (1865 to 1869), succeeding to the Presidency upon the assassination of Abraham Lincoln
  • Ed Lee Johnson (1945-2016), American former professional basketball player
  • Ralph C. Johnson (1953-2016), American politician and businessman, Member of the North Carolina House of Representatives (2015-2016)
  • David Stifler Johnson (1945-2016), American computer scientist specializing in algorithms and optimization
  • John "Mr. J" Johnson (1917-2016), American athletic trainer for the New York Giants (1948-2008)
  • William Dean "Bill" Johnson (1960-2016), American World Cup gold medalist alpine ski racer at the 1984 Winter Olympics
  • John Howard Getty "J.J." Johnson (1947-2016), American NBA basketball player
  • George Clayton Johnson (1929-2015), American science fiction writer, best known for his Twilight Zone episodes, co-writing the novel Logan's Run which was made into a film and for the story on which the 1960 and 2001 films Ocean's Eleven were based
  • Joseph "Smokey" Johnson (1936-2015), American drummer
  • Rikke Van Johnson, American politician, Candidate for Mayor of San Bernardino, California, 2013

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  • 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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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: Nunquam non paratus
Motto Translation: Never unprepared

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  1. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  2. Browne, James. The History of Scotland it's Highlands, Regiments and Clans 8 Volumes. Edinburgh: Francis A Niccolls & Co, 1909. Print.
  3. Scots Kith and Kin And Illustrated Map Revised 2nd Edition. Edinburgh: Clan House/Albyn. Print.
  4. Fulton, Alexander. Scotland and Her Tartans: The Romantic Heritage of the Scottish Clans and Families. Godalming: Bramley, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-86283-880-0).
  5. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  6. Leyburn, James Graham. The Scotch-Irish A Social History. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0807842591).
  7. Martine, Roddy, Roderick Martine and Don Pottinger. Scottish Clan and Family Names Their Arms, Origins and Tartans. Edinburgh: Mainstream, 1992. Print.
  8. Markale, J. Celtic Civilization. London: Gordon & Cremonesi, 1976. Print.
  9. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  10. Holt, J.C. Ed. Domesday Studies. Woodbridge: Boydell, 1987. Print. (ISBN 0-85115-477-8).
  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 May 2016 at 14:47.

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