Davidson History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The history of the Davidson family begins among the Pictish clans ancient Scotland. The name Davidson comes from the personal name David. Davidson is a patronymic surname, which belongs to the category of hereditary surnames. This surname comes from the religious naming tradition, and was adopted from the popular biblical surname, David, which means beloved. This surname is believed to date as far back as the 15th century, BC, and to have come to Scotland from Brittany, with the Picts. The first Chief of the Clan Davidson, David Dubh, was of Pictish descent. He was the fourth son of the chief of Clan Chattan, of which the Davidsons became a part.

Early Origins of the Davidson family

The surname Davidson was first found in Perth, where, in 1219, Johnannes filius Davidis, a merchant in Perth, is mentioned. Some accounts suggest that around 1000 AD the Catti (Chattan) Clan, from whom the Davidson Clan descends, broke into two distinct factions, the MacKintosh and the MacPherson Clans.

The Davidson Clan was part of the MacPherson element, but always considered itself to be the senior Clan of the Chattan group. Records from the Ragman Rolls show Adami fiz Dauid of Forfarshire and Johan le fiz David of Berwickshire rendering homage to King Edward I of England in 1296.

The first estates of the Clan Davidson were at Invernahaven, a small estate in Badenoch, where they were said to be found from the mid 14th century.

Early History of the Davidson family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Davidson research. Another 219 words (16 lines of text) covering the years 1396, 1411, 1408, 1500, 1466, 1670, 1411, 1549, 1603, 1549 and are included under the topic Early Davidson History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Davidson Spelling Variations

In the Middle ages, spelling and translation were not yet regulated by any general rules. spelling variations in names were common even among members of one family unit. Davidson has appeared Davison, Davidson, Davisint, Davisyn, Debison, Dawysone, Dawyson, Davysone, Davyson, Davitson, Dawysown, Davisoun, Davisend, Davidsone, Davidson, Daveysone, Daveyson, Dauyson, Dawysume, Dauysum and many more.

Early Notables of the Davidson family (pre 1700)

Another 50 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Davidson Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Davidson family to Ireland

Some of the Davidson family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 80 words (6 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Davidson migration to the United States +

Faced by this persecution and the generally unstable political climate of those days, many Scots chose to leave their homeland for Ireland, Australia, and North America in search of greater opportunity and freedom. The colonies across the Atlantic were the most popular choice, but a passage there was neither cheap nor easily suffered. Passengers arrived sick and poor, but those who made it intact often found land and more tolerant societies in which to live. These brave settlers formed the backbone of the burgeoning nations of Canada and the United States. It is only this century that the ancestors of these families have begun to recover their collective identity through the patriotic highland games and Clan societies that have sprung up throughout North America. Research into early immigration and passenger lists revealed many immigrants bearing the name Davidson:

Davidson Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Charles Davidson, who was sent to Virginia in 1666
  • Elizabeth Davidson, who landed in Maryland in 1667 [1]
  • George Davidson, who arrived in Maryland in 1675 [1]
  • Peter Davidson, who settled in Maryland in 1684
  • Hen Davidson, who arrived in Virginia in 1698 [1]
Davidson Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • David Davidson, who landed in Virginia in 1703 [1]
  • Alexander Davidson, who arrived in Maryland in 1710
  • Owen Davidson, a prisoner sent to Yorktown, VA in 1716
  • Andrew Davidson, who landed in Maryland in 1716 [1]
  • William Davidson, who settled in Maryland in 1716
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Davidson Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • James Davidson, who arrived in America in 1804-1805 [1]
  • Robert Davidson, who arrived in America in 1804-1805 [1]
  • Eliza Davidson, who arrived in America in 1804-1805 [1]
  • Eliza Davidson, aged 40, who landed in New York, NY in 1804 [1]
  • Eliza Davidson, aged 48, who arrived in New York, NY in 1805 [1]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Davidson Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Louis Davidson, who landed in Mississippi in 1903 [1]
  • Walter Septimus Davidson, who landed in Alabama in 1919 [1]
  • Archibald Davidson, who arrived in Wisconsin in 1922 [1]

Canada Davidson migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Davidson Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Capt. Davidson, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Capt Davidson, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • James Davidson, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Ewer Davidson, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • James Davidson, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1775
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Davidson Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Thomas Davidson, who arrived in Canada in 1820
  • William Davidson, aged 22, a labourer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1834 aboard the schooner "Sarah" from Belfast, Ireland
  • Sarah Davidson, aged 20, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1834 aboard the schooner "Sarah" from Belfast, Ireland
  • Catherine Davidson, aged 45, who landed in Quebec in 1835
  • Catherine Davidson, age 45 who arrived in Quebec in 1835
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Davidson Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century
  • J G Davidson, who landed in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1907

Australia Davidson migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Davidson Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • William Davidson, English convict from Cumberland, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on September 3rd, 1820, settling in New South Wales, Australia [2]
  • Mr. Josiah Davidson, British convict who was convicted in Norfolk, England for life, transported aboard the "Asia" on 29th September 1831, settling in New South Wales, Australia [3]
  • Ann Davidson, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Fairfield" in 1839 [4]
  • Charlotte Davidson, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Fairfield" in 1839 [4]
  • George Davidson, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Fairfield" in 1839 [4]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Davidson migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Davidson Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • James Davidson, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840
  • William Davidson, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Whitby" in 1841
  • Mrs. Davidson, Australian settler travelling from Sydney with 2 children aboard the ship "Bertha" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand in 1842 [5]
  • Mr. William Davidson, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Slains Castle" arriving in Wellington, New Zealand on 1st December 1852 [6]
  • Mr. Davidson, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Royal Albert" arriving in Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 6th March 1853 [6]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Davidson (post 1700) +

  • Gordon Davidson (1933-2016), American stage and film director
  • Eric Harris Davidson (1937-2015), American developmental biologist at the California Institute of Technology
  • Major-General Howard Calhoun Davidson (1890-1984), American Commanding General Strategic Air Force, Eastern Air Command (1943-1945) [7]
  • Lieutenant-General Garrison Holt Davidson (1904-1992), American Commanding General 1st Army (1962-1964) [8]
  • Arthur Davidson (1881-1950), one of the four original founders of the Harley-Davidson Motor Company
  • Justin Davidson (b. 1966), American classical music and architecture critic awarded the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for Criticism
  • John Davidson Sr. (b. 1941), American singer, actor and game show host
  • Donald Herbert Davidson (1917-2003), American philosopher
  • Ernest R. Davidson (b. 1936), American Professor of Chemistry awarded the President's National Medal of Science in 2001
  • Lieutenant General Phillip Buford Davidson Jr. (1915-1996), American officer who served in World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War
  • ... (Another 15 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Empress of Ireland
  • Mr. George Davidson, British Storekeeper from United Kingdom who worked aboard the Empress of Ireland and survived the sinking [9]
  • Mr. Gordon Charles Davidson (1885-1914), British Second Class Passenger returning from San Francisco, California, United States who survived the sinking on the Empress of Ireland [10]
HMS Prince of Wales
  • Mr. William S Davidson, British Petty Officer, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking [11]
  • Mr. Albert R Davidson, British Able Seaman, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking [11]
HMS Royal Oak
  • Kenneth E. Davidson, British Seaman with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he survived the sinking [12]
RMS Titanic
  • Mrs. Orian Davidson, (née Hays), aged 27, Canadian First Class passenger from Montreal, Quebec who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and survived the sinking escaping in life boat 3 [13]
  • Mr. Thornton Davidson (d. 1912), aged 31, Canadian First Class passenger from Montreal, Quebec who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking [13]


The Davidson Motto +

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: Sapienter si sincere
Motto Translation: Wisely if sincerely.


Suggested Readings for the name Davidson +

  • 246 "Davidson Family Research and Compilation 1972, Descendants of George and Margaret Dunne Davidson" by Margaret Davidson, "Davidson Genealogy" by George G. Davidson, "Davison-Davidson Family Research" by Mildred F. Roberts.

  1. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  2. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Asia 1 voyage to Van Diemen's Land, Australia in 1820 with 192 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/asia/1820
  3. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 12th January 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/asia/1831
  4. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) FAIRFIELD 1839. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1839Fairfield.htm
  5. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  6. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  7. ^ Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2012, January 10) Howard Davidson. Retrieved from http://generals.dk/general/Davidson/Howard_Calhoun/USA.html
  8. ^ Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2012, January 10) Garrison Davidson. Retrieved from http://generals.dk/general/Davidson/Garrison_Holt/USA.html
  9. ^ Commemoration Empress of Ireland 2014. (Retrieved 2014, June 17) . Retrieved from http://www.empress2014.ca/seclangen/listepsc1.html
  10. ^ Commemoration Empress of Ireland 2014. (Retrieved 2014, June 16) . Retrieved from http://www.empress2014.ca/seclangen/listepsc1.html
  11. ^ HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listprincecrew.html
  12. ^ Ships hit by U-boats crew list HMS Royal Oak (08) - (Retrieved 2018 February, 9th) - retrieved from https://uboat.net/allies/merchants/crews/ship68.html
  13. ^ Titanic Passenger List - Titanic Facts. (Retrieved 2016, July 13) . Retrieved from http://www.titanicfacts.net/titanic-passenger-list.html


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