Dawson History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

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. [1]

Early Origins of the Dawson family

The surname Dawson was 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." [2]

Langcliffe was another ancestral seat of the family. "Langcliffe was parcel of the possessions of Sawley Abbey, and subsequently for a century and a half the property of the Dawsons, a family highly distinguished in point of alliances and personal desert. Whitaker gives a copy of verses, printed in 1690, by William Dawson, containing an account of a village destroyed by the Scots in the reign of Edward II." [2]

The name is "a north of England name, mostly found in Cumberland and Westmoreland, Durham, West Riding of Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, and Cheshire, and extending into central Scotland." [3]

The Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 had many early entries of the family: Johannes Dauson; Robertus Dauson; Johanna Dowedoghter; Osbarn Daweson; and Wallerus Daweson. "In the same village occur, among a few inhabitants: Robertas Doweson; and Willelmus Daweson." [4]

Further to the north in Scotland, early record there revealed: "John Daweson was a merchant in the service of Archambaud, Earl of Douglas in 1405. John Dawson is recorded in Kethyk in 1466, and James Dawson was godson of King James IV. Duncan Dalsoun was coalman to the king in 1531. " [5]

Early History of the Dawson family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Dawson research. Another 209 words (15 lines of text) covering the years 1170, 1466, 1531, 1541, 1568, 1571, 1607, 1699, 1671, 1677, 1576, 1624, 1576, 1578, 1637, 1700, 1658, 1659, 1662, 1700, 1797 and are included under the topic Early Dawson History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Dawson Spelling Variations

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.

Early Notables of the Dawson family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Edward Dawson or Davison (1576?-1624?), English Jesuit, the only son of respectable parents, 'connected with Sir Anthony Staunden,' was born in London in 1576 or 1578. George Dawson (1637-1700), was...
Another 38 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Dawson Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Dawson World Ranking

In the United States, the name Dawson is the 307th most popular surname with an estimated 87,045 people with that name. [6] However, in Canada, the name Dawson is ranked the 355th most popular surname with an estimated 12,757 people with that name. [7] And in Newfoundland, Canada, the name Dawson is the 788th popular surname with an estimated 52 people with that name. [8] Australia ranks Dawson as 139th with 20,215 people. [9] New Zealand ranks Dawson as 140th with 3,470 people. [10] The United Kingdom ranks Dawson as 125th with 40,105 people. [11]

Ireland Migration of the Dawson family to Ireland

Some of the Dawson family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 97 words (7 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Dawson migration to the United States +

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, who settled in Virginia in 1607
  • Will Dawson, who landed in Jamestown, Va in 1607 [12]
  • Owen Dawson, who arrived in Virginia in 1622-1623 [12]
  • George Dawson, who settled in Virginia in 1623
  • Georg Dawson, who arrived in Virginia in 1623 [12]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Dawson Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Gregory Dawson, who landed in Virginia in 1701 [12]
  • Richard Dawson, who landed in Virginia in 1703 [12]
  • Margaret Dawson, who arrived in Virginia in 1704 [12]
  • Thomasin Dawson, who landed in Virginia in 1713 [12]
  • Nicho Dawson, who landed in Virginia in 1714 [12]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Dawson Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • W Dawson, aged 28, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1803 [12]
  • Eliza Dawson, aged 38, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1805 [12]
  • Patrick Dawson, aged 22, who arrived in New York in 1812 [12]
  • William Dawson, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1812 [12]
  • Washington Dawson, who landed in New York, NY in 1815 [12]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Dawson migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Dawson Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Thomas Dawson was a merchant in Harbour Grace, Newfoundland in 1771 [13]
  • Capt. George Dawson U.E. who settled in Parr Town [Saint John], New Brunswick c. 1784 he served in the King's Orange Rangers [14]
  • Mr. George Dawson U.E. who settled in Charlotee County, New Brunswick c. 1784 member of the Penobscot Association [14]
  • Mr. James Dawson U.E. who settled in Kingston, Ontario c. 1784 [14]
  • Michael Dawson was a fiddler in St. John's, Newfoundland in 1794 [13]
Dawson Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Catherine Dawson from county Kilkenny was married in St. John's Newfoundland in 1824 [13]
  • Catherine Dawson, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1826
  • Mary Dawson, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1832
  • Peter Dawson, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1833
  • Richard Dawson, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1841
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Dawson Settlers in Canada in the 20th Century
  • Miss N Dawson, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1907

Australia Dawson migration to Australia +

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

Dawson Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. John Dawson, British convict who was convicted in Lancashire, England for 14 years, transported aboard the "Calcutta" in February 1803, arriving in New South Wales, Australia, the settlement was listed as abandoned and most of the convicts transported to Tasmania on the "Queen" in 1804 [15]
  • Mr. John Dawson, English convict who was convicted in Lancaster, Lancashire, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Dromedary" on 11th September 1819, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [16]
  • Mr. Thomas Dawson, British Convict who was convicted in Norfolk, England for 14 years, transported aboard the "Earl St Vincent" on 6th April 1820, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [17]
  • George Dawson, English convict from Middlesex, who was transported aboard the "Agamemnon" on April 22, 1820, settling in New South Wales, Australia [18]
  • Richard Dawson, a blacksmith, who arrived in Van Diemen’s Land (now Tasmania) sometime between 1825 and 1832
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Dawson 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:

Dawson Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • G F Dawson, who landed in Wanganui, New Zealand in 1841
  • T F Dawson, who landed in Auckland, New Zealand in 1841
  • William Dawson, aged 24, a farm servant, who arrived in Otago aboard the ship "Phoebe Dunbar" between 1841 and 1850
  • Mary Dawson, aged 23, who arrived in Otago aboard the ship "Phoebe Dunbar" between 1841 and 1850
  • Mr. William Dawson, British settler travelling from England aboard the ship"Phoebe Dunbar" arriving in Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand in 1850 [19]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

West Indies Dawson migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [20]
Dawson Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Rich Dawson, aged 28, who landed in Barbados in 1635 [12]
  • Mr. Richard Dawson, (b. 1607), aged 28, British settler travelling from London, England aboard the ship "Peter Bonaventure" arriving in Barbados and St Christopher (Saint Kitts) in 1635 [21]
  • Mr. Hugh Dawson, (b. 1614), aged 21, British settler travelling aboard the ship "Expedition" arriving in Barbados in 1636 [22]

Contemporary Notables of the name Dawson (post 1700) +

  • Howard A. Dawson Jr. (1922-2016), American jurist, a judge of the United States Tax Court
  • Glen Dawson (1912-2016), American California rock climber, mountaineer, antiquarian bookseller, publisher and environmentalist
  • JaJuan Dawson (1977-2015), American NFL wide receiver who played from 2000 to 2003
  • 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
  • Richard Dawson (1920-2012), English-born, American actor and television game show host, best known for his role as Corporal Peter Newkirk on Hogan's Heroes
  • William Dawson Jr. (1885-1972), American diplomat, US ambassador to four South American countries, and 1st US ambassador to the Organization of American states (OAS) in 1948
  • Arvis Dawson, American Democratic Party politician, Delegate to Democratic National Convention from Indiana, 2008 [23]
  • Archie O. Dawson, American politician, Delegate to New York convention to ratify 21st amendment, 1933 [23]
  • Arch F. Dawson, American Democratic Party politician, Member of West Virginia State House of Delegates from Monongalia County, 1945-46; Defeated, 1942 [23]
  • ... (Another 130 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Air New Zealand Flight 901
  • Mr. Peter Massie Dawson (1929-1979), New Zealander passenger, from Piopio, North Island, New Zealand aboard the Air New Zealand Flight 901 for an Antarctic sightseeing flight when it flew into Mount Erebus; he died in the crash [24]
Empress of Ireland
  • Mr. Alfred Dawson, British Butcher from United Kingdom who worked aboard the Empress of Ireland and survived the sinking [25]
  • Mr. Edward Dawson, British Assistant Steward from United Kingdom who worked aboard the Empress of Ireland and died in the sinking [25]
Frank Rock Slide
  • Mr. Dawson, "Shorty", Canadian miner working in the town of Frank, Alberta who survived the Frank Rock Slide on 29th April 1903 [26]
HMS Cornwall
  • Richard Somerville Dawson, British Commander Engineer Officer aboard the HMS Cornwall when she was struck by air bombers and sunk; he survived the sinking [27]
  • Joseph Hugill Dawson (d. 1942), British Able Seaman aboard the HMS Cornwall when she was struck by air bombers and sunk; he died in the sinking [27]
HMS Hood
  • Mr. Phillip J Dawson (b. 1924), English Signal Boy serving for the Royal Navy from Rochdale, Lancashire, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [28]
HMS Prince of Wales
  • Mr. William Dawson, British Cook, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking [29]
  • Mr. William Albert Dawson, British Marine, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking [29]
  • Mr. Kenneth William Dawson, British Electrical Artificer 4th Class, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and died in the sinking [29]
  • Mr. Edwin Vivian Dawson, British Lieutenant, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking [29]
  • Mr. Alfred John Dawson, British S A, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking [29]
HMS Royal Oak
  • R. Dawson, British Able Seaman with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he survived the sinking [30]
RMS Lusitania
  • Mr. Walter Dawson, American 3rd Class passenger from Lowell, Massachusetts, USA, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and survived the sinking [31]
RMS Titanic
  • Mr. Joseph Dawson (d. 1912), aged 23, Irish Trimmer from Dublin, Ireland who worked aboard the RMS Titanic, died in the sinking and was recovered by CS Mackay-Bennett (No. 277) and was buried at Fairview Cemetery, Halifax, Nova Scotia on 8 May 1912 [32]
SS Newfoundland
  • Mr. Thomas Dawson (b. 1868), Newfoundlander from Bay Roberts, who on the 30th March 1914 he was part of the Seal Crew of the "SS Newfoundland" leaving the ship to intercept the Stephano which took him to the hunting grounds, he disembarked to begin sealing, but was caught in a thickening storm, attempting to return to the Newfoundland he and the 132 crew made camp for two days the sealers were stranded on the ice in a blizzard attempting to return to the ship, he survived
USS Arizona
  • Mr. James Berkley Dawson, American Private from Kentucky, USA working aboard the ship "USS Arizona" when she sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941, he died in the sinking [33]


Suggested Readings for the name Dawson +

  • Dawsons in the Revolutionary War and Their Descendants by Carol Ruth Dawson.
  • The Families of Ruebsamen, Spear, Dawson, Burley by Neil Newayne Ruebsaman.

  1. ^ Arthur, William , An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names. London: 1857. Print
  2. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  3. ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  4. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  5. ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  6. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  7. ^ https://forebears.io/surnames/
  8. ^ The order of Common Surnames in 1955 in Newfoundland retrieved on 20th October 2021 (retrieved from Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland by E.R. Seary corrected edition ISBN 0-7735-1782-0)
  9. ^ https://forebears.io/australia/surnames
  10. ^ https://forebears.io/new-zealand/surnames
  11. ^ https://www.surnamemap.eu/unitedkingdom/surnames_ranking.php?p=10
  12. ^ 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)
  13. ^ Seary E.R., Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland, Montreal: McGill's-Queen's Universtity Press 1998 ISBN 0-7735-1782-0
  14. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  15. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 25th November 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/calcutta
  16. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 16th July 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/dromedary
  17. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 10th September 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/earl-st-vincent
  18. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Agamemnon voyage to New South Wales, Australia in 1820 with 179 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/agamemnon/1820
  19. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  20. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_West_Indies
  21. ^ Pilgrim Ship Lists Early 1600's retrieved 23rd September 2021. (Retrieved from https://www.packrat-pro.com/ships/shiplist.htm)
  22. ^ Pilgrim Ship Lists Early 1600's retrieved 29th September 2021. (Retrieved from https://www.packrat-pro.com/ships/shiplist.htm)
  23. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, October 27) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  24. ^ Mount Erebus, Memorial, Roll of Remembrance (Retrieved 2018, February 21st). Retrieved from http://www.erebus.co.nz/memorialandawards/rollofremembrance.aspx
  25. ^ Commemoration Empress of Ireland 2014. (Retrieved 2014, June 17) . Retrieved from http://www.empress2014.ca/seclangen/listepsc1.html
  26. ^ Calgary Herald news article retrieved 11th August 2021. (Retrieved from https://smartcdn.prod.postmedia.digital/calgaryherald/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Calgary_Herald_Thu__Apr_30__1903_-copy-scaled.jpg).
  27. ^ Force Z Survivors Crew List HMS Cornwall (Retrieved 2018, February 13th) - Retrieved from https://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listcornwallcrew.html#A
  28. ^ H.M.S. Hood Association-Battle Cruiser Hood: Crew Information - H.M.S. Hood Rolls of Honour, Men Lost in the Sinking of H.M.S. Hood, 24th May 1941. (Retrieved 2016, July 15) . Retrieved from http://www.hmshood.com/crew/memorial/roh_24may41.htm
  29. ^ HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listprincecrew.html
  30. ^ 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
  31. ^ Lusitania Passenger List - The Lusitania Resource. (Retrieved 2014, March 7) . Retrieved from http://www.rmslusitania.info/lusitania-passenger-list/
  32. ^ Titanic Passenger List - Titanic Facts. (Retrieved 2016, July 13) . Retrieved from http://www.titanicfacts.net/titanic-passenger-list.html
  33. ^ Pearl Harbour: USS Arizona Casualties List Pearl Harbour December 7, 1941. (Retrieved 2018, July 31st). Retrieved from http://pearl-harbor.com/arizona/casualtylist.html


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