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An excerpt from archives copyright © 2000 - 2016

Origins Available: English, German, Norwegian, Swedish

Schleswig-Holstein, which is the northernmost state in western Germany, is the homeland of the proud surname Carlson. German surnames developed at a time when most of Schleswig, and most of the German provinces, were states of the Holy Roman Empire. At first people used only a single name, but as the population grew and people began to travel, they began to find it necessary to take on an additional name to differentiate themselves. Fairly general principles guided the development of hereditary surnames in Schleswig. Two of the common types of family names found in the Schleswig are patronymic surnames, which are derived from the father's given name, and metronymic surnames, which are derived from the mother's given name. The surname Carlson derived from the Old German personal name Karl, which is derived from the Middle Latin word "carolus," which refers to an adult male.


Spelling variations of this family name include: Karlson, Carlson, Karlsen, Carlsen, Karlsson, Karlssen, Carlsson and many more.

First found in Schleswig-Holstein, where the family rose to prominence early in the mediaeval era. From the 13th century the surname was identified with the great social and economic evolution which made this territory a landmark contributor to the development of the nation.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Carlson research. Another 188 words (13 lines of text) covering the years 1717 and 1827 are included under the topic Early Carlson History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 25 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Carlson Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Carlson Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Thomas Carlson, who landed in New York, NY in 1815
  • Mrs. Carlson, aged 44, arrived in Boston, Massachusetts in 1848
  • Anders Carlson, aged 25, arrived in Boston, Massachusetts in 1848
  • Johan Carlson arrived in New York in 1849
  • Ludwig Theodor Carlson, aged 23, landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1850

Carlson Settlers in United States in the 20th Century

  • Mary S Carlson, who landed in Colorado in 1906
  • Nels Carlson, who landed in Wisconsin in 1907
  • Johan Alfred Carlson, who arrived in Wisconsin in 1914
  • Alfred John Carlson, who landed in Wisconsin in 1920
  • Carl Richard Carlson, who arrived in Alabama in 1923

Carlson Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • Frederick Carlson, aged 37, arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Maori" in 1864
  • Carl Carlson, aged 28, arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "Adamant" in 1874


  • C. Chester Carlson, American Democrat politician, Member of Alaska Territorial House of Representatives 3rd District, 1949-52
  • Chester Floyd Carlson (1906-1968), American inventor, best known for having invented the process of electrophotography
  • Ms C Carlson, American passenger from Los Angeles, California, USA, who flew aboard American Airlines Flight 191 and died in the crash on May 25, 1979
  • Mr. Andrew Carlson (d. 1914), American Third Class Passenger from Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States who was traveling aboard the Empress of Ireland and died in the sinking on May 29th 1914
  • Douglas W. "Doug" Carlson (1939-2013), American veterinarian, beef farmer, and politician, Member of the Minnesota House of Representatives (1971 to 1974) and (1977 to 1990)
  • Richard D. Carlson (1912-1977), American actor, television and film director, and screenwriter
  • Paul Carlson (1928-1964), American physician and medical missionary, best known for his work in the Congo
  • Kelly Lee Carlson (b. 1976), American actress and model
  • Brigadier General Evans Fordyce Carlson (1896-1947), U.S. Marine Corps leader of the World War II "Carlson's Raiders", credited with introducing the term "Gung-ho"
  • Dylan Carlson (b. 1967), American lead guitarist, lead singer of the group Earth



  • Memories, Peter E. Johnson 1855-1926, and the Descendants of Emil Anton Carlson, 1881-1950 by Fritzene Carlson Moore.

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  1. Samuelsen, W. David. New York City Passenger List Manifests Index 1820 - 1824. North Salt Lake, Utah: Accelerated Indexing Systems International, 1986. Print.
  2. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
  3. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  4. Hildenbrand, A.M. Wappenfibel. Handbuch der Heraldik. Neustadt an der Aisch: 1970. Print.
  5. Neubecker, Ottfried. Wappen-Bilder-Lexikon der bürgerlichen Geschlechter Deutschlands, Oesterreichs und der Schweiz. Battenberg, München: 1985. Print.
  6. Oswald, G. Lexicon der Heraldik. Leipzig: 1984. Print.
  7. 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).
  8. Tarneller, Josef. Zur Namenkunde Tirolen Familiennamen. Bozen: Buchhandlung, 1923. Print.
  9. Bahlow, Hans. Deutschlands geographische Namenwelt Etymologisches Lexikon der Fluss- und Ortsnamen alteuropaischer Herkunft. Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 1985. Print.
  10. Jones, George F. The Germans of Colonial Georgia 1733-1783 Revised edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1986. Print. (ISBN 0806311614).
  11. ...

The Carlson Family Crest was acquired from the archives. The Carlson 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 30 October 2015 at 09:56.

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