Watson History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Watson is an ancient Anglo-Saxon name that is derived from Wat, which is a diminutive form of Walter. This Old German name, which literally means mighty army, was introduced into England during the reign of Edward the Confessor and became one of the most popular personal names in that country following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The surname also features the suffix -son, which superseded other patronymic suffixes in popularity during the 14th century and was most popular in the north of England.

Early Origins of the Watson family

The surname Watson was first found in the county of Rutland, where they were Lords of the manor of Rockingham, from ancient times. This was home to "a castle was erected by William I., on the summit of a hill, for the protection of the extensive iron-works at that time carried on in the adjacent woodlands. During the war in the reign of Charles I., the castle was garrisoned for the king by Sir Lewis Watson, afterwards created Lord Rockingham, and was besieged by the parliamentarian forces, who at the same time destroyed the tower and part of the nave of the church: the only remains of the castle are the two massive bastions that defended the entrance gateway." [1]

Early History of the Watson family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Watson research. Another 136 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1392, 1450, 1493, 1593, 1685, 1620, 1686, 1617, 1683, 1659, 1660, 1683, 1637, 1717, 1687, 1699, 1687, 1710, 1686, 1722, 1600, 1601, 1630 and are included under the topic Early Watson History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Watson Spelling Variations

Watson has been spelled many different ways. Before English spelling became standardized over the last few hundred years, spelling variations in names were a common occurrence. As the English language changed in the Middle Ages, absorbing pieces of Latin and French, as well as other languages, the spelling of people's names also changed considerably, even over a single lifetime. Many variations of the name Watson have been found, including Wattson, Walterson, MacWattie and others.

Early Notables of the Watson family (pre 1700)

Distinguished members of the family include Earl of Rockingham; Thomas Watson (c. 1620-1686), an English, Nonconformist, Puritan preacher and author; Daniel Watson (c 1617-1683), an English lawyer and politician, Member of Parliament for Lichfield in 1659, Recorder of Newcastle-under-Lyme (1660-1683); Thomas Watson (1637-1717), an English clergyman, Bishop of St David's (1687-1699); Samuel Watson ( fl. c.1687-c.1710), an associate of Isaac Newton, he invented the 5 minute repeater, made the first stopwatch and a clock for King Charles II; and Edward Watson, Viscount Sondes (1686-1722), a British Member of...
Another 86 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Watson Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Watson World Ranking

In the United States, the name Watson is the 72nd most popular surname with an estimated 256,161 people with that name. [2] However, in Canada, the name Watson is ranked the 81st most popular surname with an estimated 31,068 people with that name. [3] And in Australia, the name Watson is the 40th popular surname with an estimated 44,799 people with that name. [4] New Zealand ranks Watson as 27th with 5,777 people. [5] The United Kingdom ranks Watson as 35th with 96,302 people. [6] South Africa ranks Watson as 783rd with 8,812 people. [7]

Ireland Migration of the Watson family to Ireland

Some of the Watson family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 90 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 Watson migration to the United States +

In an attempt to escape the chaos experienced in England, many English families boarded overcrowded and diseased ships sailing for the shores of North America and other British colonies. Those families hardy enough, and lucky enough, to make the passage intact were rewarded with land and a social environment less prone to religious and political persecution. Many of these families became important contributors to the young colonies in which they settled. Early immigration and passenger lists have documented some of the first Watsons to arrive on North American shores:

Watson Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • John Watson who settled in Virginia in 1620
  • George Watson, who arrived in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1631 [8]
  • Mr. Nicholas Watson, (b. 1619), aged 16, British settler traveling aboard the ship "Safety" arriving in Virginia in 1635 [9]
  • Abraham, Alice, Elizabeth, Francis, Joe, Margaret, and William Watson, all, who settled in Virginia in 1635
  • Alice Watson, aged 30, who landed in Virginia in 1635 [8]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Watson Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Anna Watson, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1701 [8]
  • Charles Watson, who landed in New England in 1711 [8]
  • George Watson, who settled in Georgia in 1775 with his wife and four children
  • Andrew Watson, aged 21, who arrived in Georgia in 1775 [8]
  • Ann Watson, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1776 [8]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Watson Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Daniel Watson, aged 35, who landed in North Carolina in 1812 [8]
  • Edward William Watson, aged 29, who landed in St Louis, Missouri in 1847 [8]
  • Felton Watson, aged 33, who landed in St Louis, Missouri in 1848 [8]
  • Esther Watson, who arrived in Illinois in 1850 [8]
  • Elizabeth Watson, who arrived in New Orleans, La in 1852 [8]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Watson migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Watson Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Henry Watson, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1749
  • Brooks Watson, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Francis Watson, aged 18, who landed in Fort Cumberland, Nova Scotia in 1775
  • Mr. Alexander Watson U.E. who settled in Canada c. 1784 [10]
  • Mr. John Watson U.E. (b. 1747) born in New York, USA who settled in Carleton [Saint John City], New Brunswick c. 1784 he died in 1846 [10]
Watson Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Margaret Watson, aged 16, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Salus" in 1833
  • James Watson, aged 3, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Salus" in 1833
  • Rick Watson, aged 2, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Salus" in 1833
  • James Watson, aged 18, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Ranger" in 1834
  • John Watson, aged 17, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick aboard the ship "Ranger" in 1834
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Watson migration to Australia +

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

Watson Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. John Watson, British Convict who was convicted in York, Yorkshire, England for life, transported aboard the "Earl Cornwallis" in August 1800, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [11]
  • Mr. Thomas Watson, English convict who was convicted in London, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Duke of Portland" in January 1807, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [12]
  • James Watson, English convict from York, who was transported aboard the "Ann" on August 1809, settling in New South Wales, Australia [13]
  • Richard Watson, English convict from Lancaster, who was transported aboard the "Ann" on August 1809, settling in New South Wales, Australia [13]
  • Mr. George Watson, English convict who was convicted in West Riding, Yorkshire, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Dromedary" on 11th September 1819, arriving in Tasmania ( Van Diemen's Land) [14]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Watson 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:

Watson Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Captain Watson, Australian settler travelling from Sydney aboard the ship "Diana" arriving in Auckland, New Zealand on 11th July 1840 [15]
  • Mr. Watson, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Harrington" arriving in Wellington, New Zealand on 15th June 1841 [15]
  • T. H. Watson, who arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Harrington" in 1841
  • Louisa Watson, who arrived in Port Nicholson aboard the ship "Jane" in 1841
  • James Watson, who landed in Auckland, New Zealand in 1841
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

West Indies Watson 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. [16]
Watson Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Christopher Watson, aged 21, who arrived in St Christopher in 1635 [8]
  • Mr. Nicholas Watson, (b. 1609), aged 26, British settler travelling from London, England aboard the ship "Alexander" arriving in Barbados in 1635 [17]
  • Mr. Christopher Watson, (b. 1614), aged 21, British settler traveling aboard the ship "Matthew" arriving in St Christopher (Saint Kitts) in 1635 [18]
  • Mr. Abram Watson, (b. 1616), aged 19, British settler traveling aboard the ship "Paul of London" arriving in St Christopher (Saint Kitts) in 1635 [18]
  • Mr. Thomas Watson, (b. 1606), aged 29, British settler traveling aboard the ship "Paul of London" arriving in St Christopher (Saint Kitts) in 1635 [18]

Contemporary Notables of the name Watson (post 1700) +

  • Thomas John Watson Jr. (1914-1993), President of IBM from 1952-1971 and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom
  • John Christian Watson (1867-1941), Australian politician, third Prime Minister of Australia in 1904
  • Erica Faye Watson (1973-2021), American actress, comedian and writer, best known for her roles in Precious and Chi-Raq; she died of complications from COVID-19 in Jamaica
  • Robert José "Bob" Watson (1946-2020), American professional baseball player and sports executive
  • William Marvin Watson (1924-2017), American White House Appointments Secretary (1963-1968) to U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson, 58th Postmaster General (1968-1969)
  • Elizabeth "Betty" Jane Watson (1921-2016), American actress and singer
  • Thomas Philip "Phil" Watson (1933-2015), American politician and minister of the Church of Christ
  • Thomas Sturges "Tom" Watson (b. 1949), American professional golfer, two-time winner of the Masters Tournament (1977, 1981)
  • Gerry Lester "Bubba" Watson Jr (b. 1978), American professional PGA golfer, two-time winner of the Masters Tournament (2012 and 2014)
  • Thomas Augustus Watson (1854-1934), American assistant to Alexander Graham Bell, best known as the person who heard the first words on a telephone "Mr. Watson - Come here - I want to see you"
  • ... (Another 36 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Air New Zealand Flight 901
  • Mrs. Isobel Watson (1914-1979), New Zealander passenger, from Mt. Albert, North Island, New Zealand aboard the Air New Zealand Flight 901 for an Antarctic sightseeing flight when it flew into Mount Erebus; she died in the crash [19]
  • Miss Katerine Watson (1915-1979), New Zealander passenger, from Wellington, North Island, New Zealand aboard the Air New Zealand Flight 901 for an Antarctic sightseeing flight when it flew into Mount Erebus; she died in the crash [19]
Empress of Ireland
  • Mrs. Eliza Edith Watson (1871-1914), Canadian Third Class Passenger from Toronto, Ontario, Canada who was traveling aboard the Empress of Ireland and died in the sinking [20]
Flight TWA 800
  • Ms. Jill Victoria Watson (1964-1996), from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA, American architect flying aboard flight TWA 800 from J.F.K. Airport, New York to Leonardo da Vinci Airport, Rome when the plane crashed after takeoff ; she died in the crash [21]
  • Miss. Jacqueline Alexis Watson (1978-1996), from Montoursville, Pennsylvania, USA, American student from Montoursville flying aboard flight TWA 800 from J.F.K. Airport, New York to Leonardo da Vinci Airport, Rome when the plane crashed after takeoff ; she died in the crash [21]
Halifax Explosion
  • Miss Alice  Watson (1912-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the explosion [22]
  • Mr. William R  Watson (1877-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the explosion [22]
  • Mr. Robert  Watson, Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the explosion [22]
  • Mr. Jack  Watson (1898-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the explosion [22]
  • Mr. Edward  Watson (1899-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the explosion [22]
HMS Hood
  • Mr. Robert Watson (b. 1920), Irish Able Seaman serving for the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve from Belfast, County Antrim, Ireland, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [23]
  • Mr. Alexander Watson (b. 1919), Scottish Able Seaman serving for the Royal Navy Reserve from Cromarty, Ross-shire, Scotland, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [23]
  • Mr. John C Watson (b. 1913), English Able Seaman serving for the Royal Navy from Portsmouth, Hampshire, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [23]
  • Mr. Harry Watson (b. 1904), English Chief Stoker serving for the Royal Navy from Grantham, Lincolnshire, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [23]
HMS Prince of Wales
  • Mr. Percy Watson, British Able Seaman, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking [24]
  • Mr. A W Watson, British Lieutenant (E), who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking [24]
HMS Repulse
  • Mr. Rennie Watson, British Coder, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and survived the sinking [25]
  • Mr. John Louie Colclough Watson, British Midshipman "S", who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and died in the sinking [25]
  • Mr. Sidney Watson, "Geordie" English Petty Officer Gunner from Newcastle, England, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and survived the sinking [25]
HMS Royal Oak
  • William Watson (1913-1939), British Leading Stoker with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he died in the sinking [26]
  • Reginald Hugh Watson (1919-1939), British Able Seaman with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he died in the sinking [26]
  • James Watson (d. 1939), British Stoker 1st Class with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he died in the sinking [26]
  • George Watson (d. 1939), British Seaman with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he died in the sinking [26]
Lady of the Lake
  • Mr. William Watson (b. 1813), Irish labourer from Strabane, Northern Ireland who sailed aboard the "Lady of the Lake" from Greenock, Scotland on 8th April 1833 to Quebec, Canada when the ship hit ice and sunk of the coast of Newfoundland on the 11th May 1833 and he died in the sinking
RMS Lusitania
  • Mrs. Kate Watson, Canadian 3rd Class passenger from Seaforth, Canada, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking [27]
  • Mrs. Katherine Watson, English 1st Class Passenger from England, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking [27]
RMS Titanic
  • Mr. Ennis Hastings Watson (d. 1912), aged 15, Irish Electrician's Apprentice from Belfast, Ireland who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking [28]
  • Mr. W. Watson (d. 1912), aged 27, English Fireman/Stoker from Southampton, Hampshire who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking [28]
SS Caribou
  • Mr. Raymond Watson, British passenger who was Royal Air Force was travelling aboard the railway ferry "SS Caribou" when it was struck by a German submarine torpedo on 14th October 1942, the most significant sinking in Canadian waters at that time, he died in the sinking
USS Arizona
  • Mr. Howard L. Watson, American Boatswain's Mate First Class working aboard the ship "USS Arizona" when she sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941, he survived the sinking [29]
  • Mr. William Lafayette Watson, American Fireman Third Class from Florida, USA working aboard the ship "USS Arizona" when she sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941, he died in the sinking [29]
Winter Quarters coal mine
  • Mr. Alfred E. Watson (b. 1868), English coal miner residing in Eureka, Utah who worked in the Winter Quarters coal mine on 1st May 1900, when 10 of the 25lb kegs of black powder exploded; he died in the explosion [30]


The Watson 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: Mea gloria fides
Motto Translation: Fidelity is my glory.


Suggested Readings for the name Watson +

  • The American Family of John Watson of the Narragansett County, Rhode Island by George C. Davis.
  • Ancestors and Descendants of John and Hannah (Goodwin) Watson of Hartford, Connecticut and Associated Families by Ralph Arthur Watson.
  • Genealogy and History of the Watson Family by Samuel E. Watson.

  1. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  2. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  3. ^ https://forebears.io/surnames/
  4. ^ https://forebears.io/australia/surnames
  5. ^ https://forebears.io/new-zealand/surnames
  6. ^ https://www.surnamemap.eu/unitedkingdom/surnames_ranking.php?p=10
  7. ^ https://forebears.io/south-africa/surnames
  8. ^ 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)
  9. ^ Pilgrim Ship's of 1600's (Retrieved October 5th 2021, retrieved from https://www.packrat-pro.com/ships/shiplist.htm)
  10. ^ 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
  11. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 13th August 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/earl-cornwallis
  12. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 28th July 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/duke-of-portland
  13. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2016, October 27) Ann voyage to New South Wales, Australia in 1809 with 200 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/ann/1809
  14. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 16th July 2021). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/dromedary
  15. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  16. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_West_Indies
  17. ^ Pilgrim Ship Lists Early 1600's retrieved 28th September 2021. (Retrieved from https://www.packrat-pro.com/ships/shiplist.htm)
  18. ^ Pilgrim Ship's of 1600's (Retrieved October 4th 2021, retrieved from https://www.packrat-pro.com/ships/shiplist.htm)
  19. ^ Mount Erebus, Memorial, Roll of Remembrance (Retrieved 2018, February 21st). Retrieved from http://www.erebus.co.nz/memorialandawards/rollofremembrance.aspx
  20. ^ Commemoration Empress of Ireland 2014. (Retrieved 2014, June 17) . Retrieved from http://www.empress2014.ca/seclangen/listepsc1.html
  21. ^ The Washington Post Passenger List TWA Flight 800. (Retrieved 2018, February 15th). Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/national/longterm/twa800/list01.htm
  22. ^ Halifax Explosion Book of Remembrance | Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. (Retrieved 2014, June 23) . Retrieved from https://maritimemuseum.novascotia.ca/what-see-do/halifax-explosion/halifax-explosion-book-remembrance
  23. ^ H.M.S. Hood Association-Battle Cruiser Hood: Crew Information - H.M.S. Hood Rolls of Honour, Men Lost in the Sinking of H.M.S. Hood, 24th May 1941. (Retrieved 2016, July 15) . Retrieved from http://www.hmshood.com/crew/memorial/roh_24may41.htm
  24. ^ HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listprincecrew.html
  25. ^ HMS Repulse Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listrepulsecrew.html
  26. ^ Ships hit by U-boats crew list HMS Royal Oak (08) - (Retrieved 2018 February, 9th) - retrieved from https://uboat.net/allies/merchants/crews/ship68.html
  27. ^ Lusitania Passenger List - The Lusitania Resource. (Retrieved 2014, March 6) . Retrieved from http://www.rmslusitania.info/lusitania-passenger-list/
  28. ^ Titanic Passenger List - Titanic Facts. (Retrieved 2016, July 13) . Retrieved from http://www.titanicfacts.net/titanic-passenger-list.html
  29. ^ Pearl Harbour: USS Arizona Casualties List Pearl Harbour December 7, 1941. (Retrieved 2018, July 31st). Retrieved from http://pearl-harbor.com/arizona/casualtylist.html
  30. ^ Miners killed in Winter Quarters (retrieved 28th July 2021). Retrieved from http://www.carbon-utgenweb.com/miners.html


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