Show ContentsJemison History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Jemison is a very old Scottish name that may even date back to the Dalriadan tribe of Scotland's western coast and Hebrides islands. It comes from "son of James". [1]

Early Origins of the Jemison family

The surname Jemison was first found in on the Isle of Bute, where "a family named Jamieson or Neilson held the office of Crowner of Bute from the beginning of the fourteenth century or earlier to the seventeenth century. He was granted lands by Robert the Bruce for his services rendered to the King. King James II confirmed these grants later and further bestowed on the Jamiesons other territories on the Isle of Arran, particularly that of Over Kilmory. The office of Coroner (Crowner) was hereditary with the family. " [2]

Other early records include: Alexander Jemison who had a safe conduct to trade with England in 1445, William Jamyson who was tenant of Pollock in 1472, and John Jamesone was repledged to liberty of the burgh of Irvine in the same year.

Further to the south, the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 listed Willelmus Jamessson; Johannes Jamesman (i.e. the servant of James); and Henricus Jamsman, 1379. [3]

Early History of the Jemison family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Jemison research. Another 139 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1465, 1528, 1539, 1769, 1587, 1644, 1588, 1689, 1720, 1676, 1700, 1677, 1685, and 1780 are included under the topic Early Jemison History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Jemison Spelling Variations

Spelling variations are a very common occurrence in records of early Scottish names. They result from the repeated and inaccurate translations that many names went through in the course of various English occupations of Scotland. Jemison has been spelled Jamieson, Jameson, Jamison, Jamyson, Jimisone and many more.

Early Notables of the Jemison family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the Clan from early times was George (Jamesone) Jameson (c. 1587-1644), Scotland's first eminent portrait-painter. "Born at Aberdeen, probably in 1588 (Bulloch, George Jamesone, p. 32), he was second son of Andrew Jamesone, master mason, and his wife Marjory, daughter of Gilbert Anderson, merchant, one of the magistrates of the city. After having practised as a portrait-painter in Scotland, he, according to a generally accepted tradition, which derives some corroborative evidence from the style of his painting, studied under Rubens in Antwerp, and was a fellow-pupil of Vandyck." [4] William Jameson (fl. 1689-1720), was "lecturer on history at Glasgow University...
Another 104 words (7 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Jemison Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Jemison Ranking

In the United States, the name Jemison is the 5,443rd most popular surname with an estimated 4,974 people with that name. [5]

Ireland Migration of the Jemison family to Ireland

Some of the Jemison family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 82 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 Jemison migration to the United States +

Numerous Scottish settlers settled along the east coast of the colonies that would become the United States and Canada. Others traveled to the open country of the west. At the time of the American War of Independence, some remained in the United States, while those who remained loyal to the crown went north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. The highland games and Clan societies that sprang up across North America in the 20th century have helped many Scots to recover parts of their lost traditions. Research into passenger and immigration lists has revealed some of the very first Jemisons to arrive in North America:

Jemison Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Andrew Jemison, aged 22, who arrived in New York in 1812 [6]
  • George Jemison, aged 34, who landed in Delaware in 1812 [6]
  • Richard Jemison, who arrived in Mobile, Ala in 1846 [6]

Canada Jemison migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Jemison Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Mr. Thomas Jemison U.E. who settled in Canada c. 1784 [7]

Contemporary Notables of the name Jemison (post 1700) +

  • Kelly Jemison, American academic geologist specializing in Antarctic diatoms, awarded the Antarctica Service Medal in 2011
  • Mike Jemison (b. 1983), American former football running back for the Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Robert Jemison Jr. (1802-1871), American Civil War era politician, Confederate States Senator from Alabama (1863-1865)
  • Marty Jemison (b. 1965), former American cyclist, former member of the U.S. Postal Service Pro Cycling Team
  • Richard Stubbs "Dick" Jemison (1886-1965), American sportswriter, sporting editor of the Atlanta Constitution for eleven years
  • Edwin Francis Jemison (b. 1844), American Private in the Confederate States Army during American Civil War; his photograph has become one of the most famous and iconic portraits of the young soldiers on both sides, a monument to Jemison was erected at the Memory Hill Cemetery in Georgia
  • Alice Mae Lee Jemison (1901-1964), American Seneca political activist and journalist
  • Theodore Judson "T. J." Jemison (b. 1918), American clergyman, president of the National Baptist Convention (1982 to 1994)
  • Mary Jemison (1743-1833), American frontier-woman who was adopted in her teens by the Seneca, a statue of her stands today in Letchworth State Park
  • Mae Carol Jemison (b. 1956), American physician and former NASA Astronaut with over 190 hours in space, the first African American woman to travel in space [8]
  • ... (Another 3 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

The Jemison 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: Ad littora tendit
Motto Translation: It makes for the shore.

  1. Harrison, Henry, Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary Baltimore: Geneological Publishing Company, 2013. Print
  2. 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)
  3. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  4. Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  5. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  6. 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)
  7. 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
  8. NASA Astronauts Homepage. (Retrieved 2010, September 27) Mae Jemison. Retrieved from on Facebook