Wilson History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The saga of the name Wilson begins among the Viking settlers who arrived in Scotland in the medieval era. The name Wilson is derived from the personal name William. The name literally was derived from the patronymic expression son of William or son of Wil. [1]

"The family are said to be descended from a Prince of Denmark, and were established at a very remote period in the Orkney islands, intermarrying with the clans of Monro, and others. After a long continuance in the north, alliances taking place with some of the principal Lowland families, the Wilsons moved southward. " [2]

Early Origins of the Wilson family

The surname Wilson was first found in Berwickshire an ancient county of Scotland, presently part of the Scottish Borders Council Area, located in the eastern part of the Borders Region of Scotland, where John Wulson was a merchant in the service of Sir John of Montgomery in 1405. Michael Wilsoun was Burgess of Irvine in 1418, and John Wilson was Burgess of Berwick in 1467. [1]

Early History of the Wilson family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Wilson research. Another 237 words (17 lines of text) covering the years 1563, 1563, 1567, 1662, 1603, 1685, 1680, 1750 and are included under the topic Early Wilson History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Wilson Spelling Variations

Contemporary spellings of ancient Scottish names often bear little resemblance to the original recorded versions. These spelling variations result from the fact that medieval scribes spelled words and names alike according to their sounds. Wilson has been spelled Wilson, Willson, Wilsone, Wulson, Wilsoun and others.

Early Notables of the Wilson family (pre 1700)

Notable amongst the Clan from early times was Margaret Wilson (died 1685), one of the Wigton martyrs, a young Scottish Covenanter from Wigtownshire executed by drowning for...
Another 26 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Wilson Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Wilson family to Ireland

Some of the Wilson 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 Wilson migration to the United States +

The colonies on the fertile east coast of North America soon had many farms run by Scots. These hardy settlers provided a backbone for the great nations of the United States and Canada that would emerge in the next centuries. Early North American immigration records have revealed a number of people bearing the Scottish name Wilson or a variant listed above, including:

Wilson Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Clement Wilson, who landed in Virginia in 1622 [3]
  • John Wilson, who settled in Virginia in 1623
  • Andrew Wilson, who arrived in New England in 1651
  • Andrew Wilson, who arrived in Boston, Massachusetts in 1651 [3]
  • Christopher Wilson, a Scotch prisoner sent to Boston in 1651
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Wilson Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Cornelius Wilson, who landed in Virginia in 1712 [3]
  • David Wilson, who settled in Virginia in 1719
  • Anne Wilson, a bonded passenger, who arrived in Maryland in 1724
  • Alexander Wilson, a Scotch-Irish settled in Boston sometime between 1730 and 1736
  • Elizabeth Wilson, who landed in Augusta County, Va in 1740 [3]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Wilson Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Samuel Wilson, who arrived in New York from Londonderry in 1803 aboard the "Independence"
  • Joseph Wilson of Belfast, who arrived at Philadelphia in 1803, aboard the "Snow George"
  • Eleanor Wilson, aged 36, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1803 [3]
  • James Wilson, who arrived in New York in 1806 aboard the "Augusta" from Dublin, Ireland
  • Brown Wilson, who landed in Ohio in 1807 [3]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Wilson migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Wilson Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Richard Wilson, who settled in St. John's Harbour, Newfoundland, in 1703 [4]
  • Henry Wilson, who settled in Nova Scotia in 1749
  • Ann Wilson, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1774
  • Barbara Wilson, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1774
  • Mr. Dyann Wilson U.E. who arrived at Port Roseway, [Shelburne], Nova Scotia on December 13, 1783 was passenger number 536 aboard the ship "HMS Clinton", picked up on November 14, 1783 at East River, New York, USA [5]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Wilson Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • John Wilson, who emigrated from Yorkshire to St. John's, Newfoundland in 1813 [4]
  • John Wilson, who emigrated from Yorkshire to in St. John's, Newfoundland in 1813 [4]
  • George Wilson, aged 56, a farmer, who arrived in Quebec aboard the ship "Atlas" in 1815
  • Isobel Wilson, aged 43, who arrived in Quebec aboard the ship "Atlas" in 1815
  • James Wilson, aged 15, who arrived in Quebec aboard the ship "Atlas" in 1815
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Wilson migration to Australia +

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

Wilson Settlers in Australia in the 18th Century
  • Mr. William Wilson, English convict who was convicted in Middlesex, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Barwell" in September 1797, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [6]
Wilson Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Thomas Wilson, English convict from London, who was transported aboard the "Ann" on August 1809, settling in New South Wales, Australia [7]
  • Miss Ann Wilson, (b. 1790), aged 24, English servant who was convicted in Newcastle upon Tyne, Northumberland, England for 7 years for stealing, transported aboard the "Broxbournebury" in January 1814, arriving in New South Wales, Australia, she died in 1839 [8]
  • Mr. Alexander Wilson, English convict who was convicted in Middlesex, England for life, transported aboard the "Baring" in April 1815, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [9]
  • Mr. John Wilson, (b. 1787), aged 28, English carpenter who was convicted in Middlesex, England for 7 years for theft, transported aboard the "Baring" in April 1815, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [9]
  • Mr. John Wilson, English convict who was convicted in London, England for life, transported aboard the "Baring" in April 1815, arriving in New South Wales, Australia [9]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

New Zealand Wilson 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:

Wilson Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • J A Wilson, who landed in Bay of Islands, New Zealand in 1832
  • Thomas Wilson, who landed in Cloudy Bay, New Zealand in 1836 aboard the ship Bee
  • Mr Wilson, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840 aboard the ship Nimrod
  • Archibald Wilson, who landed in Auckland, New Zealand in 1840
  • Charles James Wilson, who landed in Auckland, New Zealand in 1840
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Wilson Settlers in New Zealand in the 20th Century
  • Robert Wilson, aged 23, a miner, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "S. S. Waimana" in 1926
  • Harold Wilson, aged 18, who arrived in Auckland, New Zealand aboard the ship "S. S. Waimana" in 1926

Contemporary Notables of the name Wilson (post 1700) +

  • Edmund Wilson (1895-1972), American literary critic and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom
  • Larry Frank Wilson (1938-2020), American professional football player with the St. Louis Cardinals, inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1978
  • Robert Wilson (1974-2020), American NFL professional football wide receiver who played for five seasons
  • Christopher Wilson (1978-2020), American professional wrestler better known by his ring name, Justice Pain
  • Gahan Allen Wilson (1930-2019), American author, cartoonist and illustrator known for his cartoons depicting horror-fantasy situations
  • Harrison B. Wilson Jr. (1925-2019), American educator and college basketball coach, President of Norfolk State University (1975–1997)
  • Martez Jerome Wilson (b. 1988), former American football defensive end who played from 2011 to 2015
  • Charles Wade Wilson (1959-2019), American football coach and quarterback who played from 1981 to 1999 and coached from 2000 to 2017
  • Nancy Sue Wilson (1937-2018), American three-time Grammy Award winning jazz singer who recorded more than 70 albums, best known for her single "(You Don't Know) How Glad I Am"
  • Scott Wilson (1942-2018), born William Delano Wilson, an American actor who appeared in than 50 films, including In the Heat of the Night, In Cold Blood, The Great Gatsby, Dead Man Walking, Pearl Harbor, and Junebug
  • ... (Another 101 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Arrow Air Flight 1285
  • Mr. Rodger L Wilson (b. 1966), American Specialist 4th Class from Dayton, Ohio, USA who died in the crash [10]
Empress of Ireland
  • Mr. F. Wilson, British Assistant Steward from United Kingdom who worked aboard the Empress of Ireland and died in the sinking [11]
  • Mr. J. Wilson, British Trimmer from United Kingdom who worked aboard the Empress of Ireland and survived the sinking [11]
  • Mr. John Wilson, British Trimmer from United Kingdom who worked aboard the Empress of Ireland and died in the sinking [11]
  • Captain George H. Wilson (1885-1914), Canadian Second Class Passenger from Toronto, Ontario, Canada who survived the sinking on the Empress of Ireland [11]
Halifax Explosion
  • Mr. Robert  Wilson (1859-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the explosion [12]
  • Mrs. Mary Ellen  Wilson (1862-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who survived the explosion but later died due to injuries [12]
  • Mr. Francis Alexander  Wilson (1873-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the explosion [12]
  • Mrs. Mabel  Wilson (1889-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the explosion [12]
  • Mrs. Marion M  Wilson (1896-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who survived the explosion but later died due to injuries [12]
  • ... (Another 2 entries are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Hillcrest Coal Mine
HMAS Sydney II
  • Mr. Roderick Richard Wilson (1919-1941), Australian Sick Berth Attendant from Burra, South Australia, Australia, who sailed into battle aboard HMAS Sydney II and died in the sinking [14]
  • Mr. Clifford Wilson (1918-1941), Australian Telegraphist from Dungog, New South Wales, Australia, who sailed into battle aboard HMAS Sydney II and died in the sinking [14]
  • Mr. Allan Robert Wallace Wilson (1910-1941), Australian Engineer Lieutenant from Haverfield, New South Wales, Australia, who sailed into battle aboard HMAS Sydney II and died in the sinking [14]
  • Mr. Roy Weeden Dawes Wilson (1918-1941), Australian Ordinary Seaman from Genmorne, New South Wales, Australia, who sailed into battle aboard HMAS Sydney II and died in the sinking [14]
  • Mr. Jack Stanley Wilson (1919-1941), Australian Able Seaman from Parkside, South Australia, Australia, who sailed into battle aboard HMAS Sydney II and died in the sinking [14]
HMS Cornwall
  • Gerald William Leslie Wilson (d. 1942), British Stoker 1st Class aboard the HMS Cornwall when she was struck by air bombers and sunk; he died in the sinking [15]
  • James Wilson (d. 1942), British Leading Stoker aboard the HMS Cornwall when she was struck by air bombers and sunk; he died in the sinking [15]
  • Alexander Frank Wilson (d. 1942), British Petty Officer aboard the HMS Cornwall when she was struck by air bombers and sunk; he died in the sinking [15]
HMS Dorsetshire
  • Ross Franklin Wilson, British Lieutenant aboard the HMS Dorsetshire when she was struck by air bombers and sunk; he survived the sinking [16]
  • Roland Wilson (d. 1945), British Marine aboard the HMS Dorsetshire when she was struck by air bombers and sunk; he died in the sinking [16]
  • David Wilson (d. 1945), British Lieutenant Engineer aboard the HMS Dorsetshire when she was struck by air bombers and sunk; he died in the sinking [16]
HMS Hood
  • Mr. Walter Wilson (b. 1920), Scottish Signalman serving for the Royal Navy from Dumfries, Dumfries-shire, Scotland, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [17]
  • Mr. John V Wilson (b. 1916), English Ordinary Seaman serving for the Royal Navy from Benwell, Northumberland, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [17]
  • Mr. Herbert G Wilson (b. 1905), English Leading Seaman serving for the Royal Navy from Portsmouth, Hampshire, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [17]
  • Mr. Gordon A C Wilson (b. 1920), English Able Seaman serving for the Royal Navy from Kilburn, London, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [17]
  • Mr. George Wilson (b. 1907), English Able Seaman serving for the Royal Navy from Hull, Yorkshire, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [17]
HMS Prince of Wales
  • Mr. Joseph E Wilson, British Able Seaman, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking [18]
  • Mr. James Cairns Wilson, British Marine, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking [18]
  • Mr. Jack Wilson, British Able Seaman, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking [18]
  • Mr. George Wilson, British Gunner, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking [18]
  • Mr. George Herbert Wilson (b. 1924), English Ordinary Seaman from England, who sailed into battle on the HMS Prince of Wales and survived the sinking [18]
  • ... (Another 2 entries are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
HMS Repulse
  • Mr. D Wilson, British Petty Officer, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and survived the sinking [19]
  • Mr. Stanley Wilson, British Able Bodied Seaman, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and survived the sinking [19]
  • Mr. William Thomas Wilson, British Stoker 1st Class, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and died in the sinking [19]
  • Mr. Douglas Henry Wilson, British Able Bodied Seaman, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and survived the sinking [19]
  • Mr. Jack Robert Thomas Wilson, British Engine Room Artificer 5th Class, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and died in the sinking [19]
HMS Royal Oak
  • Ronald E. Wilson, British Boy 1st Class with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he survived the sinking [20]
  • Cyril J. Wilson, British Chief Engine Room Artificer with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he survived the sinking [20]
  • Stephen Richard Mercer Wilson (d. 1939), British Midshipman with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he died in the sinking [20]
  • Ronald Victor Wilson (1919-1939), British Stoker 2nd Class with the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Royal Oak when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he died in the sinking [20]
  • Robert Wilson (1919-1939), 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 [20]
  • ... (Another 3 entries are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
RMS Lusitania
  • Mr. James R. Wilson, English First Waiter from Bootle, Lancashire, England, who worked aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking [21]
  • Mrs. Emily Wilson, Canadian 3rd Class passenger from Toronto, Ontario, Canada, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking [22]
  • Miss Dorothy Wilson, Canadian 3rd Class passenger from Toronto, Ontario, Canada, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking [22]
  • Master Frank Wilson, Canadian 3rd Class passenger from Toronto, Ontario, Canada, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and died in the sinking [22]
  • Mr. John Wilson, English 2nd Class passenger residing in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, who sailed aboard the RMS Lusitania and survived the sinking by escaping on life boat 14 it is believed [22]
  • ... (Another 2 entries are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
RMS Titanic
  • Mr. Bertie Wilson, aged 28, English Trimmer from Southampton, Hampshire who worked aboard the RMS Titanic and survived the sinking escaping on life boat 15 [23]
  • Miss Helen Alice Wilson, aged 31, American First Class passenger from Tuxedo Park, New York who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and survived the sinking escaping in life boat 3 [23]
USS Arizona
  • Mr. Harold G. Wilson Jr., American Fireman Second 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 [24]
  • Mr. Charles L. Wilson, American Seaman 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 [24]
  • Mr. John James Wilson, American Seaman First Class from California, 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 [24]
  • Mr. Neil Mataweny Wilson, American Chief Warrant Officer (Machinist) from California, 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 [24]
  • Mr. Ray Milo Wilson, American Radioman Third Class from Iowa, 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 [24]
  • ... (Another 3 entries are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)


The Wilson 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: Vincit qui se vincit
Motto Translation: He conquers, who conquers himself.


Suggested Readings for the name Wilson +

  • 10 A Brief Account of the Wilsons by Emery Small Wilson, The DeMay Family and the Wilson Family by Ida DeMay Wilson, The Family of Samuel & Jean Love Wilson by Sara Stewart Hinckley.

  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. ^ Sims, Clifford Stanley The Origin and Signification of Scottish Surnames. 1862. Print.
  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. ^ Seary E.R., Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland, Montreal: McGill's-Queen's Universtity Press 1998 ISBN 0-7735-1782-0
  5. ^ 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
  6. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 29th September 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/barwell
  7. ^ 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
  8. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 3rd November 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/broxbournebury
  9. ^ Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 16th September 2020). Retrieved from https://convictrecords.com.au/ships/baring
  10. ^ American War Memorials - Flight 1285. (Retrieved 2016, August 24) . Retrieved from http://www.uswarmemorials.org/html/monument_details.php?SiteID=317&MemID=550
  11. ^ Commemoration Empress of Ireland 2014. (Retrieved 2014, June 17) . Retrieved from http://www.empress2014.ca/seclangen/listepsc1.html
  12. ^ 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
  13. ^ List Of Miners - Hillcrest Mine Disaster Data. (Retrieved 2014, June 24) . Retrieved from http://www.hillcrestminedisaster.com/data/index.php?title=List_Of_Miners
  14. ^ HMAS Sydney II, Finding Sydney Foundation - Roll of Honour. (Retrieved 2014, April 24) . Retrieved from http://www.findingsydney.com/roll.asp
  15. ^ Force Z Survivors Crew List HMS Cornwall (Retrieved 2018, February 13th) - Retrieved from https://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listcornwallcrew.html#A
  16. ^ Force Z Survivors HMS Dorsetshire Crew List, (Retrieved 2018, February 13th), https://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listdorsetshirecrew.html
  17. ^ 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
  18. ^ HMS Prince of Wales Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listprincecrew.html
  19. ^ HMS Repulse Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listrepulsecrew.html
  20. ^ 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
  21. ^ Lusitania Passenger List - The Lusitania Resource. (Retrieved 2014, March 7) . Retrieved from http://www.rmslusitania.info/lusitania-passenger-list/
  22. ^ Lusitania Passenger List - The Lusitania Resource. (Retrieved 2014, March 6) . Retrieved from http://www.rmslusitania.info/lusitania-passenger-list/
  23. ^ Titanic Passenger List - Titanic Facts. (Retrieved 2016, July 13) . Retrieved from http://www.titanicfacts.net/titanic-passenger-list.html
  24. ^ Pearl Harbour: USS Arizona Casualties List Pearl Harbour December 7, 1941. (Retrieved 2018, July 31st). Retrieved from http://pearl-harbor.com/arizona/casualtylist.html


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