DAVIDSON - Surname Meaning and Family History

What Does the Last Name Davidson Mean?

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The Davidson surname most commonly originated as a patronymic name meaning "son of David." The given name David comes from Hebrew DAVID, meaning "beloved."

Davidson may also be an Americanized spelling of the Norwegian or Danish surname Davidsen, or the Swedish Davidsson, both patronymic surnames from the given name David. It may also be an Anglicized version of the Ashkenazi Jewish surname Davidovitch, meaning "son of David."

Surname Origin: Scottish, English


Famous People with the DAVIDSON Surname

  • Arthur Davidson - one of four founders of the Harley-Davidson Motor Company.
  • Donald Davidson - American poet
  • Samuel Cleland Davidson - Irish inventor and engineer
  • John Wynn Davidson - Brigadier general in the U.S. Army during the American Civil War
  • George Davidson - English-born American geodesist, astronomer, geographer, surveyor and engineer

Where is the DAVIDSON Surname Most Common?

The Davidson surname is most commonly found today in Scotland, where it ranks as the most common surname in the nation according to surname distribution from Forebears. It is also relatively common in Canada (ranks 135th in the country), Australia (147th), England (202nd) and the United States (259th).

WorldNames PublicProfiler indicates a slightly different distribution, with the greatest percentage of individuals named Davidson, found in Australia, followed by New Zealand and then the United Kingdom. The statistics lump the countries of the UK together, however, but at the country level, Davidson is found to be extremely common throughout Scotland, especially in the southern and northern parts of the country.

Genealogy Resources for the Surname DAVIDSON

Meanings of Common Scottish Surnames
Uncover the meaning of your Scottish last name with this free guide to the meanings and origins of common Scottish surnames.

Davidson Family Crest - It's Not What You Think
Contrary to what you may hear, there is no such thing as a Davidson family crest or coat of arms for the Davidson surname. Coats of arms are granted to individuals, not families, and may rightfully be used only by the uninterrupted male-line descendants of the person to whom the coat of arms was originally granted.

The Davidson/Davison/Davisson Surname DNA Project
Individuals with the Davidson surname are invited to participate in this group DNA project in an attempt to learn more about Davidson family origins. The website includes information on the project, the research done to date, and instructions on how to participate.

DAVIDSON Family Genealogy Forum
This free message board is focused on descendants of Davidson ancestors around the world.

FamilySearch - DAVIDSON Genealogy
Explore over 3 million results from digitized historical records and lineage-linked family trees related to the Davidson surname on this free website hosted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

DAVIDSON Surname Mailing List
Free mailing list for researchers of the Davidson surname and its variations includes subscription details and searchable archives of past messages.

DistantCousin.com - DAVIDSON Genealogy & Family History
Explore free databases and genealogy links for the last name Davidson.

GeneaNet - Davidson Records
includes archival records, family trees, and other resources for individuals with the Davidson surname, with a concentration on records and families from France and other European countries.

The Davidson Genealogy and Family Tree Page
Browse genealogy records and links to genealogical and historical records for individuals with the Davidson surname from the website of Genealogy Today.


References: Surname Meanings & Origins

Cottle, Basil. Penguin Dictionary of Surnames. Baltimore, MD: Penguin Books, 1967.

Dorward, David. Scottish Surnames. Collins Celtic (Pocket edition), 1998.

Fucilla, Joseph. Our Italian Surnames. Genealogical Publishing Company, 2003.

Hanks, Patrick, and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford University Press, 1989.

Hanks, Patrick. Dictionary of American Family Names. Oxford University Press, 2003.

Reaney, P.H. A Dictionary of English Surnames. Oxford University Press, 1997.

Smith, Elsdon C. American Surnames. Genealogical Publishing Company, 1997.

>> Back to Glossary of Surname Meanings & Origins

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Powell, Kimberly. "DAVIDSON - Surname Meaning and Family History." ThoughtCo, Aug. 28, 2020, thoughtco.com/davidson-surname-meaning-and-origin-4098330. Powell, Kimberly. (2020, August 28). DAVIDSON - Surname Meaning and Family History. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/davidson-surname-meaning-and-origin-4098330 Powell, Kimberly. "DAVIDSON - Surname Meaning and Family History." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/davidson-surname-meaning-and-origin-4098330 (accessed June 2, 2023).