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

Origins Available: English, Scottish


Watson is an ancient Anglo-Saxon name that is derived from Wat, which is a diminutive form of Walter. This Old German name, which literally means mighty army, was introduced into England during the reign of Edward the Confessor and became one of the most popular personal names in that country following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The surname also features the suffix -son, which superseded other patronymic suffixes in popularity during the 14th century and was most popular in the north of England.

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The surname Watson was first found in the county of Rutland, where they were Lords of the manor of Rockingham, from ancient times. This was home to "a castle was erected by William I., on the summit of a hill, for the protection of the extensive iron-works at that time carried on in the adjacent woodlands. During the war in the reign of Charles I., the castle was garrisoned for the king by Sir Lewis Watson, afterwards created Lord Rockingham, and was besieged by the parliamentarian forces, who at the same time destroyed the tower and part of the nave of the church: the only remains of the castle are the two massive bastions that defended the entrance gateway." [1]

Watson has been spelled many different ways, including Before English spelling became standardized over the last few hundred years, spelling variations in names were a common occurrence. As the English language changed in the Middle Ages, absorbing pieces of Latin and French, as well as other languages, the spelling of people's names also changed considerably, even over a single lifetime. Wattson, Walterson, MacWattie and others.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Watson research. Another 271 words (19 lines of text) covering the years 1392, 1450, 1493, 1593, 1685, 1620, 1686, 1617, 1683, 1659, 1660, 1683, 1637, 1717, 1687, 1699, 1687, 1710, 1686 and 1722 are included under the topic Early Watson History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 163 words (12 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Watson Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Watson family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 167 words (12 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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In an attempt to escape the chaos experienced in England, many English families boarded overcrowded and diseased ships sailing for the shores of North America and other British colonies. Those families hardy enough, and lucky enough, to make the passage intact were rewarded with land and a social environment less prone to religious and political persecution. Many of these families became important contributors to the young colonies in which they settled. Early immigration and passenger lists have documented some of the first Watsons to arrive on North American shores:

Watson Settlers in United States in the 17th Century


  • John Watson who settled in Virginia in 1620
  • George Watson, who arrived in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1631
  • Abraham, Alice, Elizabeth, Francis, Joe, Margaret, and William Watson, all settled in Virginia in 1635
  • Alice Watson, aged 30, landed in Virginia in 1635
  • Christopher Watson, aged 21, arrived in St Christopher in 1635


Watson Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • Anna Watson, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1701
  • Charles Watson, who landed in New England in 1711
  • George Watson settled in Georgia in 1775 with his wife and four children
  • Andrew Watson, aged 21, arrived in Georgia in 1775
  • Ann Watson, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1776


Watson Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Daniel Watson, aged 35, landed in North Carolina in 1812
  • Edward Wm Watson, aged 29, landed in St Louis, Missouri in 1847
  • Felton Watson, aged 33, landed in St Louis, Missouri in 1848
  • Esther Watson, who arrived in Illinois in 1850
  • Elizabeth Watson, who arrived in New Orleans, La in 1852


Watson Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century


  • Henry Watson, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1749
  • Brooks Watson, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Francis Watson, aged 18, landed in Fort Cumberland, Nova Scotia in 1775

Watson Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century


  • Margaret Watson, aged 16, arrived in Saint John, NB aboard the ship "Salus" in 1833
  • James Watson, aged 3, arrived in Saint John, NB aboard the ship "Salus" in 1833
  • Rick Watson, aged 2, arrived in Saint John, NB aboard the ship "Salus" in 1833
  • James Watson, aged 18, arrived in Saint John aboard the ship "Ranger" in 1834
  • John Watson, aged 17, arrived in Saint John aboard the ship "Ranger" in 1834

Watson Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • James Watson, English convict from York, who was transported aboard the "Ann" on August 1809, settling in New South Wales, Australia
  • Richard Watson, English convict from Lancaster, who was transported aboard the "Ann" on August 1809, settling in New South Wales, Australia
  • William Watson, English convict from Middlesex, who was transported aboard the "Agamemnon" on April 22, 1820, settling in New South Wales, Australia
  • Edward Watson, English convict from Hertford, who was transported aboard the "Adamant" on March 16, 1821, settling in New South Wales, Australia
  • George Watson, English convict from Middlesex, who was transported aboard the "Arab" on July 3, 1822, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Austraila


Watson Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • James Watson landed in Auckland, New Zealand in 1841
  • R Watson landed in Auckland, New Zealand in 1841
  • T. H. Watson arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Harrington" in 1841
  • Louisa Watson arrived in Port Nicholson aboard the ship "Jane" in 1841
  • Sidney Watson landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1842 aboard the ship Clifford


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  • Elizabeth "Betty" Jane Watson (1921-2016), American actress and singer
  • Thomas Philip "Phil" Watson (1933-2015), American politician and minister of the Church of Christ
  • Thomas Sturges "Tom" Watson (b. 1949), American professional golfer, two-time winner of the Masters Tournament (1977, 1981)
  • Gerry Lester "Bubba" Watson Jr (b. 1978), American professional PGA golfer, two-time winner of the Masters Tournament (2012 and 2014)
  • Thomas John Watson Jr. (1914-1993), President of IBM from 1952-1971 and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom
  • Thomas Augustus Watson (1854-1934), American assistant to Alexander Graham Bell, best known as the person who heard the first words on a telephone "Mr. Watson - Come here - I want to see you"
  • James Dewey Watson (b. 1928), American biologist awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1962, the National Medal of Science in 1997, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom
  • Private Wilson Douglas Watson (1921-1994), United States Marine who was awarded the Medal of Honor
  • John Broadus Watson (1878-1958), American psychologist
  • Michael Barrett "Barry" Watson (b. 1974), American actor

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  • The American Family of John Watson of the Narragansett County, Rhode Island by George C. Davis.
  • Ancestors and Descendants of John and Hannah (Goodwin) Watson of Hartford, Connecticut and Associated Families by Ralph Arthur Watson.
  • Genealogy and History of the Watson Family by Samuel E. Watson.
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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: Mea gloria fides
Motto Translation: Fidelity is my glory.

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  1. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.

Other References

  1. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  2. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  3. 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).
  4. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  5. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
  6. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  7. Cook, Chris. English Historical Facts 1603-1688. London: MacMillan, 1980. Print.
  8. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
  9. 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.
  10. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1790. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  11. ...

The Watson Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Watson 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 26 May 2016 at 09:30.

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