Dickson (surname)

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Dickson or, as is common in England, Dixon, is a patronymic surname, traditionally Scottish and thought to have originated upon the birth of the son of Richard Keith, son of Hervey de Keith, Earl Marischal of Scotland, and Margaret, daughter of the 3rd Lord of Douglas.


"Nisbet in his Heraldry (Edinburgh 1722) says 'The Dicksons are descendants from Richard Keith, said to be a son of the family of Keith, Earls Marischals of Scotland' and in proof thereof carry the chief of Keith Marischal. This Richard was commonly called Dick and the 'son' was styled after him. The affix of son in the Lowlands answering the prefix Mac in the Highlands." As a result, Clan Dickson is considered a sept of Clan Keith. Richard Keith's son, Thomas, took the surname "Dickson" (in the earliest record spelled Dicson), meaning "Dick's son" or "Richard's son".

Although long recognised as a Sept of Clan Keith through Thomas Dickson's paternal line, in July 2012 the Clan Douglas Society of North America also recognised the Dickson/Dixon name as a Sept and Allied Family to Clan Douglas.[1]. This recognition resulted from the direct connection through Thomas Dickson's mother, Margaret, daughter of William, the 3rd Lord Douglas and also Thomas' faithfulness to the Douglas Clan, notably to his second cousin William, 7th Lord Douglas and William's son the good Sir James, 8th Lord Douglas.

Thomas Dickson (1247–1307) himself has quite a history. He was associated in some way with William Wallace, and was killed by the English in 1307 in battle. Tradition states he was slashed across the abdomen but continued fight holding the abdominal wound closed with one hand until he finally dropped dead. He is buried in the churchyard of St Brides, Douglas, and his marker shows him with a sword in one hand holding his belly with the other. Robert the Bruce made him Castellan of Castle Douglas the year before he was killed.

The Dicksons/Dixons (and 30 other derivates) family name was first found in Scotland whilst the Dixons in England who are of Scottish descent from Thomas Dickson living in 1268 are of the same origin as the Scottish Dicksons. Early records show Thomas Dicson, a follower of the Douglas clan, at the re-capture of Douglas Castle in 1307.

The Dickson's coat of arms show the Keith "pallets gules" and the Douglas "mullets argent", this is to show their descent from these two ancient Scottish noble families. The family mottoes include "Fortes fortuna juvat", "Coelum versus", for Dickson: translated as "Fortune favours the brave", Heavenward"; whilst "Quod dixi dixi" Dixon, is translated as "What I have said I have said".


  1. ^ "Clan Douglas - Dickson". clandouglassociety.org.

Notable Dicksons[edit]

Performers and entertainers[edit]





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