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Origins of the Watson surname

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What does the name Watson mean?

Watson is an English and Scottish surname, where it is still popular as the 19th most common in Scotland, 46th most common in England. Watson is believed to have patronymic roots, referring to someone being the son of Walter or Wat (the diminutive form), this name being quite common in the 1200s and 1300s.

Alternative variations of the name Watson

Watson, Wattson, Watsone, Wattsone, Waltson

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 Watsons live?

In 1921, most Watsons lived in North East.

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

Interesting facts about Watsons

How common is your surname?

36th most common surname in the UK

We have 657,000 records for the Watson surname. The oldest one dates back to 1100.

Who were Watsons most likely to marry?




Our Marriage record sets tell us which families married Watsons.

What are the most common Watson first names?

  • John
  • William
  • Mary
  • Elizabeth

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

Common jobs for Watsons

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

Common Female occupations for Watsons in 1921


Domestic Servant


Cotton Weaver


General Servant Domestic




Common Male occupations for Watsons in 1921
Coal Miner




General Labourer


Agricultural Labourer




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