Show ContentsElson History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The history of the Elson family goes back to the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture of Britain. It is derived from the family living in Nottinghamshire or Wiltshire. The name could also be classified as a baptismal name as in the son of Elstan and an earlier personal name Dunstan.

Early Origins of the Elson family

The surname Elson was first found in Nottinghamshire at Elston, a small village that lies between the rivers Trent and Devon and dates back to at least the Domesday Book where it was listed as Elvestune, Eluestune and Eluestune [1] and probably meant "farmstead of a man called Eilafr" from an Old Scandinavian personal name + tun. [2]

The less likely local that the name could have been derived from is Elston in Wiltshire, a hamlet in the parish of St. George which was also listed in the Domesday Book, but as Wintreburne. [1]

The variant Elstob is most interesting. This family hails from Elstob, a township in the parish of Stainton, County Durham. [3] [4] This very small township (only 27 inhabitants in the late 1800's) [5] was the homestead of some remarkable people who we will soon discover. Early Assize Rolls listed Philip de Ellestob and William de Ellestobe 1235-1236 and Philip de Ellestob in 1269. [6]

Further to the north in Scotland, the name hails from "the lands of Elliston near Bowden, Roxburghshire where John, son of Iliue de Iliuestun or Ylif de Ylifstun, held these lands in the reign of Alexander II, and Laurence Ylifstun is mentioned in 1249. " [7]

Early History of the Elson family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Elson research. Another 130 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1718, 1587, 1673, 1662, 1637, 1683, 1758, 1683, 1673, 1715, 1673, 1673, 1715, 1673, 1685 and 1721 are included under the topic Early Elson History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Elson Spelling Variations

Until quite recently, the English language has lacked a definite system of spelling rules. Consequently, Anglo-Saxon surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. Changes in Anglo-Saxon names were influenced by the evolution of the English language, as it incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other languages. Although Medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, so it is common to find one person referred to by several different spellings of his surname, even the most literate people varied the spelling of their own names. Variations of the name Elson include Elston, Elstone, Elliston, Elsden, Elsdon, Elson and others.

Early Notables of the Elson family (pre 1700)

Distinguished members of the family include Elizabeth Elstob (1683-1758), Anglo-Saxon scholar, born on 29 Sept. 1683 in St. Nicholas parish, Newcastle-on-Tyne. She was the sister of William Elstob (1673-1715.) He was an English divine, son of Ralph Elstob, merchant of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, was baptised at All Saints' Church, Newcastle, on 1 Jan. 1673. [8] William Elstob (1673-1715), was an English divine, son of Ralph Elstob, merchant of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, was baptised...
Another 68 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Elson Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Elson Ranking

In the United States, the name Elson is the 8,144th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [9]

United States Elson migration to the United States +

Searching for a better life, many English families migrated to British colonies. Unfortunately, the majority of them traveled under extremely harsh conditions: overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the ocean. For those families that arrived safely, modest prosperity was attainable, and many went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the new colonies. Research into the origins of individual families in North America revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Elson or a variant listed above:

Elson Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Ann Elson, who arrived in Salem, Massachusetts in 1629 [10]
  • William Elson, who landed in Maryland in 1640 [10]
  • John Elson, who landed in Virginia in 1652 [10]
Elson Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
Elson Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • H Elson, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851 [10]
  • Hugh B. Elson, aged 26, who landed in America from Manchester, in 1893
  • Benjamin Elson, aged 28, who settled in America, in 1895
Elson Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Jacob Elson, aged 26, who immigrated to America from London, in 1902
  • Berel Elson, aged 7, who landed in America from London, in 1906
  • Charles Elson, aged 48, who immigrated to the United States, in 1908
  • Anna Elson, aged 49, who landed in America, in 1908
  • Samuel Hop Elson, aged 29, who immigrated to America from Castleton, England, in 1908
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Elson migration to Australia +

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

Elson Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. George Elson, British Convict who was convicted in Stafford, England for 10 years, transported aboard the "Asia" on 25th April 1840, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) [11]
  • William Elson, aged 24, a postmaster, who arrived in South Australia in 1849 aboard the ship "Florentia" [12]
  • William Elson, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Florentia" in 1849 [12]
  • Mr. Jacob Elson, (b. 1832), aged 20, English labourer who was convicted in Stafford, Staffordshire, England for 10 years for stealing, transported aboard the "Fairlie" on 9th Mary 1852, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Island) [13]

West Indies Elson 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. [14]
Elson Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Elizabeth Elson, aged 18, who landed in Barbados in 1635 aboard the ship "Falcon" [10]

Contemporary Notables of the name Elson (post 1700) +

  • Anita Elson (1898-1985), American dancer and singer
  • Rachel F. Elson, American journalist and managing editor at CBS
  • Rebecca Anne Wood Elson (1960-1999), Canadian-born, American astronomer and writer
  • Andrea Elson (b. 1969), American actress
  • Geoffrey Elson (1913-1999), English cricketer
  • Richard Mark Elson (b. 1979), English writer, director and editor for film and television
  • Peter Elson (1947-1998), English science fiction illustrator
  • Jamie Elson (b. 1981), English professional golfer
  • Philip "Pip" Elson (b. 1954), English professional golfer
  • Geoffrey "Gus" Elson (1913-1999), English cricketer
  • ... (Another 5 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

  1. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  2. Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  3. Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. 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. Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  6. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  7. 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)
  8. Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  9. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  10. 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)
  11. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 17th January 2020). Retrieved from
  12. State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) FLORENTIA 1849. Retrieved from
  13. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 26th September 2022).
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