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

The Denson surname is a patronymic, created from the personal name Dennis; thus the name originally meant "son of Dennis." Dennis comes ultimately from the Latin Dionysius.


The surname Denson was first found in Yorkshire where the first record of the name was found in 1212. Richard Dionys of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. [1] Some were found at the chapelry of Speeton in the East Riding of Yorkshire. "This township, which belongs to W. J. Denison, Esq., comprises about 1820 acres of land, and commands a beautiful view of the shore from Scarborough to Flamborough Head: the village is situated on an eminence north-east of the road from Bridlington to Scarborough." [2] However, there is much dispute over the origin of the name. Some claim the name was derived from the Scottish Dennistouns. [3] Yet the author admits that that name was also found in Norfolk and Suffolk in early times too. Thomas Denison, one of the Society of Merchant Adventurers, was buried in Leeds parish church in 1708.

Repeated and inaccurate translation of Scottish names from Gaelic to English and back resulted in a wide variety of spelling variations with single names. Denson has appeared Dennison, Denison, Denson, Dennistoun, Dennistown, Dennisone and many more.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Denson research. Another 139 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1275, 1381, 1694, 1714, 1782 and are included under the topic Early Denson History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 33 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Denson Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Denson family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 103 words (7 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


Many Scottish families suffered enormous hardships and were compelled to leave their country of birth. They traveled to Ireland and Australia, but mostly to the colonies of North America, where many found the freedom and opportunity they sought. It was not without a fight, though, as many were forced to stand up and defend their freedom in the American War of Independence. The ancestors of these Scots abroad have rediscovered their heritage in the last century through the Clan societies and other organizations that have sprung up across North America. Immigration and passenger ship lists show some important early immigrants bearing the name Denson:

Denson Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • William Denson, who arrived in Virginia in 1637
  • Roland Denson, who arrived in Virginia in the year 1645
  • Row Denson, who landed in Virginia in 1663
  • James Denson, who arrived in Maryland in 1677

Denson Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century

  • Henry Dennie Denson, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1760
  • Henry Maturin Denson, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1760
  • John Denson, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1760
  • Lucy Denson, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1760

Denson Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • Michael Denson, English convict from Middlesex, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on October 22nd, 1824, settling in New South Wales, Australia
  • Sarah A. Denson, aged 17, a servant, arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Telegraph"


  • Brigadier-General Eley Parker Denson (1884-1970), American Commanding Officer Seattle Port of Embarkation (1941-1946)
  • Alfred Freddie "Al" Denson (b. 1942), former American football wide receiver
  • Willie Denson (1936-2006), American singer and songwriter
  • Moses Denson (b. 1944), former American football running back
  • G. Roger Denson (b. 1956), American art critic, theoretician, novelist, and curator
  • Damon Michael Denson (b. 1975), preacher, motivational speaker, writer and former American football guard
  • Beasley Denson, the current Tribal Chief of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians
  • Andrew Denson (1965-2014), retired American Major League Baseball first baseman
  • Abby Denson, American artist, comic s creator, illustrator and musician
  • Autry Denson (b. 1976), former professional American football player



  • The Denson Family of Houston and Anderson Counties, Texas by Lucile De Berry McCutcheon.
  • Jordan Denson (?-1806), Some of His Ancestors and Descendants and Beechwo.
  • , Denson-Pretlow-Darden Ancestral Home, Southampton County, Virginia by Peggy S. Joyner.

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: Adversa virtute repello
Motto Translation: I repel adversity by virtue.


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  1. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  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.

Other References

  1. Cook, Chris. English Historical Facts 1603-1688. London: MacMillan, 1980. Print.
  2. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  3. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  4. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  5. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  6. 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.
  7. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  8. Reaney P.H and R.M. Wilson. A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X).
  9. MacAulay, Thomas Babington. History of England from the Accession of James the Second 4 volumes. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1879. Print.
  10. Marcharn, Frederick George. A Constitutional History of Modern England 1485 to the Present. London: Harper and Brothers, 1960. Print.
  11. ...

The Denson Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Denson 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 12 February 2016 at 12:17.

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