Wilson Surname Meaning

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Wilson is a patronymic surname meaning "son of Will," a popular name during medieval times. The given name Will may have derived from any of several names containing the Germanic element wil, meaning "desire." The most common was as a short form of William. Wilson is the fifth most common surname in Australia, the eighth most common surname in England, and the tenth most common surname in the United States.

  • Surname Origin: English, Scottish
  • Alternate Surname Spellings: WILLSON, WILSONE, WILLS, WILLESON, WULSON

Fun Facts About the Wilson Surname

Wilson Sporting Goods, known well for its golf and tennis equipment, began life as the Ashland Manufacturing Company in Chicago in 1913, was later renamed the Thomas E. Wilson Company in 1916 for its president, Thomas E. Wilson Co. In 1931 the company became the Wilson Sporting Goods Company.

Famous People with the Surname Wilson

Genealogy Resources for the Surname WILSON

  • 100 Most Common U.S. Surnames & Their Meanings: Smith, Johnson, Williams, Jones, Brown... Are you one of the millions of Americans sporting one of these top 100 common last names from the 2000 census?
  • Common Australian Surnames: Wilson is the 5th most common surname in Australia.
  • Wilson Surname DNA Project: Join other Wilson males in sorting out the various Wilson ancestral lines around the world through Y Chromosome DNA testing.
  • How to Research English Ancestors: Trace your British roots back to England and beyond with the steps outlined in this English genealogy guide. Learn how to locate your ancestor's county and/or parish in England, plus how to access vital records, census records and parish records.
  • Wilson Family Crest - It's Not What You Think: Contrary to what you may hear, there is no such thing as a Wilson family crest or coat of arms for the Wilson 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.

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.