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Origins of the Dawson surname

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What does the name Dawson mean?

Dawson is an English surname that has been discovered in records as early as the 1300s. It is believed to be a patronymic name given to those who are the son or descendant of 'Dawe', 'Daud' or 'Dow', these three names being diminutive or pet names of the forename 'David'. Some proponents believe that the surname also arose from the Norman name 'D'Ossone', reffering to somebody from an area of the same name (and a knight by that name is reupted to have accompanied William the Conquerer in 1066), but this is considered to be rarer.

Alternative variations of the name Dawson

Dawson, Dawsons, Dowson, Dawsone, Dauson

I’ve managed to trace back to the mid-1500s! I can’t believe it! Utterly engrossing and I have uncovered some quite moving and heartbreaking stories attached to various ancestors. You don’t need any qualifications to start - just time patience, and some information.

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Where do most Dawsons live?

In 1921, most Dawsons lived in London.

Census records trace your ancestors through each generation, so you can follow where your relatives lived through each decade.

Interesting facts about Dawsons

How common is your surname?

95th most common surname in the UK

We have 326,000 records for the Dawson surname. The oldest one dates back to 1300.

Who were Dawsons most likely to marry?




Our Marriage record sets tell us which families married Dawsons.

What are the most common Dawson first names?

  • John
  • William
  • Mary
  • Elizabeth

Our birth record sets tell us the names of Dawson family members

Common jobs for Dawsons

Men and women often performed different types of jobs, so these are displayed by gender to maintain their historical accuracy.

Common Female occupations for Dawsons in 1921


Cotton Weaver


Domestic Servant




General Servant Domestic


Common Male occupations for Dawsons in 1921
Coal Miner


Agricultural Labourer




General Labourer




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