Skip to content
  • Start free trial

Origins of the Wilson surname

A collage of historical images including two family portraits and a postcard of people boarding a ship

What does the name Wilson mean?

The Wilson surname is a patronymic name originating most often in England and Scotland, and found as early as the 1300s. Wilson is the second most common surname in Scotland, seventh most common surname in England and tenth most popular name in the United States of America. Because of the plantation of Ulster and the arrival of numerous settlers from Scotland, it is also the most prevalent surname in Northern Ireland. The surname Wilson derives from being the 'son of Will/William', ensuring that the name has appeared in many parts of the English-speaking world independently, with no single common place of creation.

Alternative variations of the name Wilson

Wilson, Willson, Wilsone, Wilsoun, Willison

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.

SS
Stuart
TrustPilot review
1 of 3

Start your family tree

Trace your family back in time. Make new discoveries and see what other Findmypast family historians in our genealogy community have discovered about the Wilsons.

Sign up to get started

Delve deeper into the Wilson family's history

Where do most Wilsons live?

In 1921, most Wilsons 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 Wilsons

How common is your surname?

6th most common surname in the UK

We have 1,300,000 records for the Wilson surname. The oldest one dates back to 1220.

Who were Wilsons most likely to marry?

Smiths

&

Browns

Our Marriage record sets tell us which families married Wilsons.

What are the most common Wilson first names?

  • John
  • William
  • Mary
  • Elizabeth

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

Common jobs for Wilsons

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

Common Female occupations for Wilsons in 1921
Dressmaker

5,892

Domestic Servant

3,761

Housekeeper

2,706

Laundress

2,660

General Servant Domestic

2,509

Common Male occupations for Wilsons in 1921
Coal Miner

7,723

General Labourer

4,806

Farmer

4,380

Agricultural Labourer

3,822

Joiner

3,712

An image of a census transcript and a picture of a dairy farmer holding two milk jugs

Census records provide incredible detail on names, ages, marital statuses, occupations and more.

We found over 1,000,000 family trees with the Wilson surname

Trace your family back in time and see what other Findmypast family historians in our genealogy community have discovered about the Wilsons.

Search for a relative in our family trees

Share your discoveries

Find out more about your family in our records

or try an advanced search

Start your family history journey

Start free trial

Start free trial