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In ancient Scotland, Neilson was a Strathclyde-Briton name for someone who lived in Ayrshire. The Neilson family name is also a Scottish patronymic name created from the personal name Neill. It is an Anglicized form of the Gaelic Mac Néill meaning "descendant, or son of Niall."

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The surname Neilson was first found in Ayrshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Inbhir Àir), formerly a county in the southwestern Strathclyde region of Scotland, that today makes up the Council Areas of South, East, and North Ayrshire, where they held a family seat from early times and their first records appeared on the early census rolls taken by the early Kings of Scotland to determine the rate of taxation of their subjects.

In Medieval times, spelling and translation were not nearly so highly developed as today. They were generally carried out according to the sound and intuition of the bearer. For that reason spelling variations are extremely common among early Scottish names. Neilson has been spelled Neilson, Nielson, Nilson, Nylson and others.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Neilson research. Another 170 words (12 lines of text) covering the years 1474 and 1654 are included under the topic Early Neilson History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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More information is included under the topic Early Neilson Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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Some of the Neilson family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 226 words (16 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

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Unrest, poverty, and persecution caused thousands to look for opportunity and freedom in the North American colonies. The crossing was long, overcrowded, and unsanitary, though, and came only at great expense. Many Strathclyde families settled on the east coast of North America in communities that would form the backbone of what would become the great nations of the United States and Canada. The American War of Independence caused those who remained loyal to England to move north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. In the 20th century, Strathclyde and other Scottish families across North America began to recover their collective heritage through highland games and Clan societies. Among them:

Neilson Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • James Neilson, who came to Virginia in 1696

Neilson Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • George Neilson, who came to Maryland in 1716
  • Rachel Neilson, who arrived in New England in 1720
  • James Neilson, who came to Boston in 1738
  • Richard Neilson, who came to Carolina in 1743
  • Hugh Neilson, who came to North Carolina in 1760
  • ...

Neilson Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Elizabeth, James, Jane, John, Joseph, and Norman Neilson, who all arrived in Baltimore in 1803
  • Elizabeth Neilson, aged 12, arrived in Baltimore, Maryland in 1803
  • Jane Neilson, aged 14, arrived in Baltimore, Maryland in 1803
  • John Neilson, aged 27, arrived in Baltimore, Maryland in 1803
  • Joseph Neilson, aged 26, arrived in Baltimore, Maryland in 1803
  • ...

Neilson Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century

  • Aron Neilson, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1759
  • Moses Neilson, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1759

Neilson Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century

  • Alexander Neilson, aged 40, a labourer, arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1834 aboard the brig "Betsy Heron" from Belfast, Ireland
  • Mary Neilson, aged 40, arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1834 aboard the brig "Betsy Heron" from Belfast, Ireland
  • John Neilson, aged 10, arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1834 aboard the brig "Betsy Heron" from Belfast, Ireland
  • Ann Jane Neilson, aged 6, arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1834 aboard the brig "Betsy Heron" from Belfast, Ireland
  • Susan Neilson, aged 5, arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1834 aboard the brig "Betsy Heron" from Belfast, Ireland
  • ...

Neilson Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • James Neilson, Scottish convict from Glasgow, who was transported aboard the "Asia" on September 3rd, 1820, settling in New South Wales, Austraila
  • Andrew Neilson arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Woodstock" in 1851
  • Robert Neilson, aged 24, a carter, arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "William Stevenson"

Neilson Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century

  • James Neilson, aged 27, a farm servant, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Bengal Merchant" in 1840
  • Thomas Neilson arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Black Eagle" in 1861
  • Charles Neilson arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Zealandia" in 1861
  • Elizabeth Neilson arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Zealandia" in 1861
  • Margaret Neilson arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "Zealandia" in 1861
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  • John Neilson (1944-2000), American movie and TV actor
  • William Allan Neilson (1869-1946), American (Scottish born) educator, professor of English at Harvard (1906-17)
  • John Neilson (1776-1848), Scottish-born, Canadian newspaper editor and politician in Quebec and early Canada
  • James Beaumont Neilson (1792-1865), Scottish engineer
  • Perlita Neilson (1933-2014), born Margaret Phillipa Sowden, English film, stage and television actress, perhaps best known for her role as Anne Frank in the London production of The Diary of Anne Frank (1957)
  • William Arthur Neilson (1925-1989), Australian Politician, Premier of Tasmania (1975-1977)
  • Julia Neilson (1868-1957), English actress
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Neilson Historic Events



Empress of Ireland

  • Mr. Cornelius Neilson, British Greaser from United Kingdom who worked aboard the Empress of Ireland and survived the sinking on May 29th 1914

RMS Lusitania

  • Miss Gerda Theoline Neilson, English 3rd Class passenger from Durham, England, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and survived the sinking
  • Miss Violet Neilson, Norwegian 3rd Class passenger from Norway, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and survived the sinking
  • Mr. Charles H. Neilson, American 2nd Class passenger from Brooklyn, New York, USA, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking
  • Mr. Henry Neilson, American 2nd Class passenger from Brooklyn, New York, USA, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking
  • Mrs. Frances Neilson, American 2nd Class passenger from Brooklyn, New York, USA, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking
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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: His regi servitium
Motto Translation: With these we render service to the king.

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Citations



    Other References

    1. Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
    2. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry Including American Families with British Ancestry 2 Volumes. London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
    3. Innes, Thomas and Learney. Socts Heraldry A Practical Handbook on the Historical Principles and Modern Application of the Art of Science. London: Oliver and Boyd, 1934. Print.
    4. Leyburn, James Graham. The Scotch-Irish A Social History. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0807842591).
    5. Barrow, G.W.S Ed. Acts of Malcom IV 1153-65 Volume I Regesta Regum Scottorum 1153-1424. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1960. Print.
    6. Hinde, Thomas Ed. The Domesday Book England's Heritage Then and Now. Surrey: Colour Library Books, 1995. Print. (ISBN 1-85833-440-3).
    7. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
    8. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
    9. Bain, Robert. The Clans and Tartans of Scotland. Glasgow & London: Collins, 1968. Print. (ISBN 000411117-6).
    10. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
    11. ...

    The Neilson Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Neilson 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 8 January 2015 at 12:49.

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