Wilson (surname)

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Wilson is an English surname, common in the English-speaking world. The name is derived from a patronymic form of Will, a popular medieval name. The medieval Will is derived from any of several names containing the first Germanic element wil, meaning "desire".[1] Possibly the most common of these names was William, derived from elements wil and helm, meaning "desire" and "helmet", "protection".[2] The surname Wilson is first recorded in England as Willeson in 1324.[3] It is the seventh most common surname in the United Kingdom,[4] and eighth most common in the United States.[5] Wilson is also now quite common as a surname in many other countries with a large English-speaking population such as Canada, Australia, South Africa, and New Zealand.

See also[edit]

  • Willson, a variant of the surname


  1. ^ Wilson Family History, Ancestry.com, retrieved 16 February 2012 . This webpage cited: Dictionary of American Family Names, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-508137-4 .
  2. ^ Hanks, Patrick; Hardcastle, Kate; Hodges, Flavia (2006), A Dictionary of First Names, Oxford Paperback Reference (2nd ed.), Oxford University Press, p. 276, ISBN 978-0-19-861060-1 .
  3. ^ Reaney, Percy Hilde (1995), Wilson, Richard Middlewood, ed., A Dictionary of English Surnames (3rd ed.), Oxford University Press, p. 495, ISBN 0-19-863146-4 .
  4. ^ British surnames
  5. ^ United States Census Bureau (9 May 1995). s:1990 Census Name Files dist.all.last (1-100). Retrieved on 2008-07-04.