Show ContentsDuncanson History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Duncanson originated among the descendants of the ancient Pictish clans. It is derived from son of Duncan which is derived from the Gaelic word or Clan Dhonnchaidh, which means brown warrior, accordingly the name literally means son of brown warrior.

Early Origins of the Duncanson family

The surname Duncanson was first found in Berwickshire an ancient county of Scotland, presently part of the Scottish Borders Council Area, located in the eastern part of the Borders Region of Scotland, where they held a family seat from very ancient times, some say well before the Norman Conquest and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D.

Early History of the Duncanson family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Duncanson research. Another 100 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1367, 1376, 1530, 1574, 1576, 1582, 1601 and 1705 are included under the topic Early Duncanson History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Duncanson Spelling Variations

During the Middle Ages, there was no basic set of rules and scribes wrote according to sound. The correct spelling of Scottish names were further compromised after many haphazard translations from Gaelic to English and back. Spelling variations of the name Duncanson include Duncanson, Duncason, Duncannon, Dunkeson and others.

Early Notables of the Duncanson family

Notable amongst the Clan at this time was

  • Gilbert Duncanson of the Park
  • John Duncanson (ca. 1530-1601), Scottish minister, he willingly converted to the new Protestant doctrines at the Reformation, he was the King's Minister, tutor and chaplain to King James VI, and Moder...

Duncanson Ranking

In the United States, the name Duncanson is the 15,531st most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. 1

United States Duncanson migration to the United States +

Scots left their country by the thousands to travel to Australia and North America. Desperate for freedom and an opportunity to fend for themselves, many paid huge fees and suffered under terrible conditions on long voyages. Still, for those who made the trip, freedom and opportunity awaited. In North America, many fought their old English oppressors in the American War of Independence. In recent years, Scottish heritage has been an increasingly important topic, as Clan societies and other organizations have renewed people's interest in their history. An examination of passenger and immigration lists shows many early settlers bearing the name of Duncanson:

Duncanson Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Robert Duncanson who settled in Georgia in 1730
  • William Mayne Duncanson, who landed in New York in 1795 2
Duncanson Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Alexander Duncanson, who landed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1853 2

Canada Duncanson migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Duncanson Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Robert Duncanson, aged 28, a labourer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Favourite" in 1815
  • Catherine Duncanson, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1821

Australia Duncanson migration to Australia +

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

Duncanson Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • John Duncanson, aged 27, who arrived in South Australia in 1854 aboard the ship "Dirigo" 3

New Zealand Duncanson 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:

Duncanson Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • J. Duncanson, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Clydeside" in 1841
  • Mr. William Duncanson, Scottish settler travelling from Glasgow aboard the ship "Storm Cloud" arriving in Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 30th July 1861 4

Contemporary Notables of the name Duncanson (post 1700) +

  • Robert Seldon Duncanson (1821-1872), American painter, descended from freed Virginia slaves
  • James Duncanson, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Michigan, 1956 5
  • E. C. Duncanson, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Minnesota, 1932 (alternate), 1940, 1944 (alternate) 5
  • John Duncanson (1939-2020), Scottish television presenter and journalist, best known as a main anchor of Grampian Television's nightly regional news programme, North Tonight
  • Julie Duncanson, Scottish actress
  • James "Jimmy" Duncanson (1919-1996), Scottish professional football striker in the 1940s through the 1950s
  • Robert Scott Duncanson, 19th century landscape painter influenced by the Hudson River School
  • Albert Gordon "Bert" Duncanson (1911-2000), Canadian gold medalist ice hockey player at the 1932 Winter Olympics
  • Craig Duncanson (b. 1967), Canadian former professional NHL ice hockey left winger from Sudbury
  • Brigadier Andrew Eastman Duncanson (1888-1987), Officer Commanding Longue Point Depot (1945-1946) 6

HMS Prince of Wales
  • Mr. John Duncanson, British Engine Room Artificer 1st Class, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales (1941) and survived the sinking 7

The Duncanson 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: Mens et manus
Motto Translation: Heart and hand.

  1. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  2. 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)
  3. South Australian Register Thursday 23rd November 1854. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) Dirigo 1854. Retrieved
  4. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from
  5. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, December 11) . Retrieved from
  6. Generals of World War II. (Retrieved 2011, September 15) Andrew Duncanson. Retrieved from
  7. HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from on Facebook