Show ContentsRobeson History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Robeson is an ancient Pictish-Scottish name. It is derived from the personal name Robert. This name is composed of the old English elements hroth, which means fame, and berht, which means bright. Although this Clan had the early appearance of being English, the Robsons were one of the four principal Clans of the North Tyne area just south of the Scottish Border in the sixteenth century. Their progenitor was Robert, the second son of George Gunn, the Crowner of Scotland. The Gunn Clan territories were in northern Scotland and they were of Norse origin together with their overlords, the Sinclairs.

Early Origins of the Robeson family

The surname Robeson was first found in Northumberland, where the name was quite distinct from both Robinson and Robertson, although in early records of the Clan the Robson name was frequently spelled Robison, literally Robi's son.

"Northumberland is the great home of the Robsons, particularly the district of North Tyne, where they have been established since the 12th or 13th century (C.). They formed one of the four principal clans of North Tyne in the 16th century, and were the hereditary foes of the Armstrongs of Liddesdale on the Scottish side of the border. Though scattered over Northumberland, the Robsons are still numerous in North Tyne; and in the parish of Falstone, where as 'lairds' they have held property for some 400 years, they are yet well represented. The name has obtained but little hold across the border, but it has extended southward in force into the county of Durham; it reaches Yorkshire in diminished numbers, and dies out in Lincolnshire." [1]

In Scotland, the name first appears soon after the death of George Gunn in the 15th century: Patrick Robson was recorded in 1436, Donald Robson in 1446 and Wyllie Robyson witnessed a feud in 1476. From this point the Clan flourished on both sides of the border, with the Chiefly branch on the Scottish side. It is not altogether surprising that with this Clan straddling the England-Scotland border a John and Edward Robison were charged with defrauding the king's customs in 1524. [2]

"The English Robsons formed one of the four principal clans of North Tyne in the sixteenth century. In Bullein's Dialogue they are described as 'a wight riding sirname, good honest men and true, saving a little shifting for their living.' " [2]

Early History of the Robeson family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Robeson research. Another 331 words (24 lines of text) covering the years 1550, 1567, 1587, 1590, 1597, 1598, 1600, 1604, 1613, 1615, 1616, 1619, 1620, 1623, 1629, 1633, 1638, 1650, 1654 and 1890 are included under the topic Early Robeson History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Robeson Spelling Variations

Translation has done much to alter the appearance of many Scottish names. It was a haphazard process that lacked a basic system of rules. Spelling variations were a common result of this process. Robeson has appeared Robson, Robison, Robeson, Robisonn and others.

Early Notables of the Robeson family

Notable amongst the Clan at this time was Charles Robson (1598-1638), English divine, first chaplain at Aleppo, of Cumberland parentage, the son of Thomas Robson, master of the Free School of Carlisle. "Born in 1598, having entered Queen's College, Oxford, as batler at Easter 1613, he matriculated thence on 5 May 1615, aged 17. He graduated B.A...
Another 57 words (4 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Robeson Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Robeson Ranking

In the United States, the name Robeson is the 9,641st most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [3]

Ireland Migration of the Robeson family to Ireland

Some of the Robeson family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 58 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Robeson migration to the United States +

Many Scots left their country to travel to the North American colonies in search of the freedom they could not find at home. Of those who survived the difficult voyage, many found the freedom they so desired. There they could choose their own beliefs and allegiances. Some became United Empire Loyalists and others fought in the American War of Independence. The Clan societies and highland games that have sprung up in the last century have allowed many of these disparate Scots to recover their collective national identity. A search of immigration and passenger ship lists revealed many early settlers bearing the Robeson name:

Robeson Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Mr. James Robeson, aged 35, who arrived in Virginia in 1624 aboard the ship "Swan" [4]
  • Robert Robeson, who landed in Maryland in 1679 [5]
  • Andrew Robeson, who landed in New Jersey in 1680 [5]
Robeson Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Thomas Robeson, who settled in New York in 1775 with his wife May and five children
  • Thomas Robeson, aged 40, who arrived in New York in 1775 [5]
Robeson Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Joseph Robeson, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1803 [5]
  • John Robeson, who landed in New York, NY in 1811 [5]
  • Margaret Robeson, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1812 [5]
  • Rebecca Robeson, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1812 [5]
  • William Robeson, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1812 [5]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Robeson migration to Australia +

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

Robeson Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. James Robeson, (Edward, Gilchrist, Robinson), (b. 1776), aged 44, Irish labourer who was convicted in Dublin, Ireland for 14 years for possession of forged notes, transported aboard the "Dorothy" on 5th May 1820, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [6]

Contemporary Notables of the name Robeson (post 1700) +

  • Edward John Robeson Jr. (1890-1966), American politician, U.S. Representative from Virginia
  • Paul Robeson Jr. (b. 1927), American author, archivist and historian, son of Paul Leroy Robeson
  • George Maxwell Robeson (1829-1897), American Republican Party politician and Union army general during the American Civil War who later became 26th Secretary of the Navy (1869-1877)
  • Paul Leroy Robeson (1898-1976), American singer and actor, NFL football player, probably best known for his rendition of "Ol' Man River" in the Show Boat muscial at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane which became the benchmark for future productions, eponym of the Paul Robeson Award
  • Jonas Robeson (1800-1871), American Democratic Party politician, Mayor of Shreveport, Louisiana, 1858-59, 1860-62 [7]
  • John S. Robeson, American politician, U.S. Consul in Beirut, 1884 [7]
  • George Maxwell Robeson (1829-1897), American Republican politician, U.S. Secretary of the Navy, 1869-77; Candidate for U.S. Senator from New Jersey, 1877, 1881; U.S. Representative from New Jersey 1st District, 1879-83 [7]
  • Frank K. Robeson, American Republican politician, Delegate to Republican National Convention from Illinois, 1888 [7]
  • Eslanda G. Robeson, American politician, Representative from Connecticut at-large, 1950 [7]
  • Edward John Robeson Jr. (1890-1966), American Democratic Party politician, U.S. Representative from Virginia 1st District, 1950-59 [7]
  • ... (Another 2 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

The Robeson 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: Justus esto et non metue
Motto Translation: Be just and fear not

  1. Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. 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. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  4. Pilgrim Ship's of 1600's Retrieved January 6th 2023, retrieved from
  5. 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)
  6. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 12th July 2021). Retrieved from
  7. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, December 1) . Retrieved from on Facebook