Show ContentsPetterson History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The age-old Pictish-Scottish family name Petterson is derived from the personal name Peter. Petterson is a patronymic surname, which belongs to the category of hereditary surnames. This particular surname was taken from the popular religious given name, Peter a shortened form of St. Peter. Other patronymic names were derived from the given name of an ancestor of the bearer, while still others came from the names of secular heroes.

Early Origins of the Petterson family

The surname Petterson was first found in Aberdeenshire (Gaelic: Siorrachd Obar Dheathain), a historic county, and present day Council Area of Aberdeen, located in the Grampian region of northeastern Scotland. One of the first records of the family was found here: "Nigellus filius Petri, one of the burgenses rure manentes, Aberdeen, 1317." [1] The native home of the Clan Pheadirean (Patersons) was on the north side of Lochfyne where they were formerly numerous. The name is closely related to Paterson and the two spellings and many more have been used interchangeably over the years. By example, Donald Patyrson was admitted burgess of Aberdeen in 1494 and William Patrison and John Patonson, 'gentillmen,' were witnesses in Aberdeen in 1446. [1]

Early History of the Petterson family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Petterson research. Another 77 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1317, 1327, 1377, 1378, 1411 and 1600 are included under the topic Early Petterson History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Petterson Spelling Variations

In medieval Scotland, names were more often spelled according to sound than any regular set of rules. An enormous number of spelling variations were the result. Over the years, the name Petterson has been spelled Peterson, Petersone, Petterson, Piterson and others.

Early Notables of the Petterson family

Notable amongst the Clan at this time was Gerlac Peterssen (Petersen, Peterson, Gerlacus Petri) (1377 or 1378-1411), a Dutch mystic, entered the Institution of the Brethren of Common Life, and devoted his time...
Another 32 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Petterson Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Petterson Ranking

In the United States, the name Petterson is the 7,379th most popular surname with an estimated 4,974 people with that name. [2]

Ireland Migration of the Petterson family to Ireland

Some of the Petterson family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. More information about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Petterson migration to the United States +

In such difficult times, Ireland, Australia, and North America looked like better homes for many Scots. The trips were expensive and grueling, but also rewarding, as the colonies were havens for those unwelcome in the old country. That legacy did not die easily, though, and many were forced to fight for their freedom in the American War of Independence. The Scottish legacy has resurface in more recent times, though, through Clan societies, highland games, and other organizations. Immigration and passenger lists have shown many early immigrants bearing the old Scottish name of Petterson:

Petterson Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Thomas Petterson, who arrived in Maryland in 1676 [3]
Petterson Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Johan Fredric Petterson, aged 19, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1846 [3]
  • Johann Petterson, aged 22, who arrived in New York, NY in 1869 [3]
  • Nels Petterson, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1875 [3]
  • Swen Petterson, aged 24, who landed in Mobile, Ala in 1881 [3]
  • Alex Petterson, aged 30, who immigrated to the United States from Gothenberg, Sweden, in 1892
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Petterson Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Ada Josefine Petterson, aged 19, who landed in America from Sweden, in 1900
  • Adolf L. Petterson, aged 20, who landed in America from Sweden, in 1901
  • Alb Petterson, aged 24, who settled in America from Gothenburg, in 1901
  • Petter Petterson, who arrived in Mobile, Ala in 1902 [3]
  • Carl A Petterson, who arrived in Arkansas in 1906 [3]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Petterson 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:

Petterson Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Charles Petterson, (b. 1849), aged 25, Scottish settler travelling from Glasgow aboard the ship "Parsee" arriving in Port Chalmers, Dunedin, Otago, South Island, New Zealand on 4th September 1874, died on board [4]

Contemporary Notables of the name Petterson (post 1700) +

  • Sonja Petterson (1935-2020), Swedish sculptor
  • Pelle Helmer Petterson (b. 1932), Swedish four-time gold medalist sailor and yacht designer
  • Stefan Bengt Petterson (b. 1963), Swedish footballer
  • Per Petterson (b. 1952), Norwegian novelist
  • Per "Pelle" Helmer Petterson (b. 1932), Swedish yachtsman and boat designer
  • Andrew Keith "Andy" Petterson (b. 1969), Australian footballer

Empress of Ireland
  • Mr. George Petterson (1887-1914), Finnish Third Class Passenger from Helsingfors, (Helsinki), Finland who was traveling aboard the Empress of Ireland and died in the sinking [5]

The Petterson 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: Nihil sine Deo
Motto Translation: Nothing without God.

  1. 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)
  2. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  3. 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)
  4. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 26th March 2019). Retrieved from
  5. Commemoration Empress of Ireland 2014. (Retrieved 2014, June 17) . Retrieved from on Facebook