Richardson Surname Meaning and Family History

Young Man Holding Warrior Sword

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Richardson is a patronymic name meaning "son of Richard." The given name Richard is Germanic in origin and means "powerful and brave," composed of the elements ric, meaning "power" and hard, meaning "hardy or brave."

Example: Richard the Lion Hearted

Richardson is the 76th most popular surname in the United States. Richardson is also popular in England, coming in as the 55th most common surname.

Alternate Surname Spellings: Richards, Richardsen, Richerdson

Famous People With the Surname Richardson

  • Natasha Richardson - British actress.
  • Henry Hobson Richardson - American architect.
  • Calvin Richardson - American R&B music artist.

Where Is the Richardson Surname Most Common?

The Richardson surname is most prevalent in the United States, according to surname distribution information from Forebears, where it ranks as the 76th most common surname in the country. Within the U.S., Richardson is found most frequently in South Carolina, North Carolina, Maryland, Virginia, Indiana, Vermont and Alabama. Richardson is also a very common surname in England (64th) and Australia (76th).

Surname distribution maps from WorldNames PublicProfiler show that Richardson is especially common in the northern part of England, particularly in the counties of Northumberland and Durham, as well as in York. Richardson is also especially common in Australia (particularly Tasmania and Northern Territory) and New Zealand (Clutha, Gore, and Grey districts).

Concerning the Richardson Family Crest...


Contrary to what you may hear, there is no such thing as a Richardson traditional family crest or coat of arms for the Richardson 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.

Connecting With the World of Richardson


Individuals with the Richardson surname, and variants such as Richards, Richarson, Richerson, Riches, Richeson, Richison, Ritchardson, Ritcharson, Ritcheson, are invited to join this project to work together to find their common heritage through DNA testing and sharing of information.

There is a free message board is focused on descendants of Richardson ancestors around the world available through Genology.com. This allows you to search the Richardson forum for posts about your Richardson ancestors, or join the forum and post your own queries. 

Similar to Geonology.com, FamilySearch.com allows you to explore over 12 million results from digitized historical records and lineage-linked family trees related to the Richardson surname on their free website hosted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

One can also join a free mailing list designed for researchers of the Richardson surname and its variations. This mailing list includes subscription details and searchable archives of past messages.

GeneaNet.org has compiled archival records, family trees, and other resources for individuals with the Richardson surname, with a concentration on records and families from France and other European countries.

For genealogy records and links to genealogical and historical records for individuals with the Richardson surname you can visit the comprehesive website Richardson page at Genealogy Today.

Perhaps the most well-known genealogy page is Ancestory.com, where you can explore over 11 million digitized records and database entries, including census records, passenger lists, military records, land deeds, probates, wills and other records for the Richardson surname on the subscription-based website, Ancestry.com.

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.

https://www.thoughtco.com/surname-meanings-and-origins-s2-1422408