The Jam?son family surname is an anglicized version of the patronymic surname, meant to mean "the son of James." It is ultimately of Old Hebrew origin, and comes from the Latin 'Jacobus' deriving from the Hebrew given name 'Yaakov', meaning 'supplanter or following-after'. This is also the origin of the name Jacob. It is a surname of world wide popularity, given the universal use of the name James, in some form or another, in so many languages and cultures.

The use of surnames is a relatively recent development, starting sometime after the tenth century, when a need to identify distinct families for the purpose of taxation and other civic uses, like census and conscriptions, became important. Surnames as we know them today were first assumed in Europe from the 11th until the 15th century. They had not been in use in England before the Invasion of William the Conqueror in 1066, when they were introduced into England probably by by the Normans.

Early records of the use of the name Jameson in the British Isles include Walter Jameson, County Somerset, during the reign of Edward III (1327-1377). Jacobus Jamesson was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Alexander Jemison was granted safe conduct into England from Scotland in 1445.

Because of it's patronymic nature, the surname Jameson developed widely without regards to a single origin. Thus, there are many totally unrelated families with this surname. Modern genetic testing has conclusively proven this to be true.

Spelling and pronunciation of the name has morphed into all kinds of variations over the years, many of which have developed large and individual families with any number of these variations. Nevertheless, the original intention, regardless of where or when, culture or country, was as "son of James" or son of Jamie, or some other close offshoot.

It would be strictly true that those using any surname meaning son of James, yet not translated into English, would also be considered a Jam?son, but for this website, traditional considerations are just those who use the surname (or any of it's typical spelling variations) in English and recognizable as such when written or spoken.

Jameson, Jamieson, Jamison, Jamesone, Jamisone, Jameyson, Jamyson, Jamerson, Jemmyson, Jemson, Jimison, Jimmerson, etc

Pronunciation of the name was most-likely intended as simply "James-son," except in those cases where the name is clearly spelled differently, like Jamerson and probably Jamieson (son of Jamie?). But over time the surname has widely become pronounced with three syllables as in "Jam-eh-son" or some small variation on that. In fact we can see several documented instances where large numbers of people had the name changed based on the phonetic interpretation of the spoken name. Chief amongst this were immigration and naturalization instances where the persons incoming documents were something different from what we know about them elsewhere prior to emigrating.

Because there are so many independent beginnings to people using the surname Jam?son, say nothing of aberrations - like adoption and other birth anomalies, it is impossible to assume connections between those using the name. Some DNA testing can help greatly with proving connections, even without knowing the path to that connection, which helps a lot. Beyond that the task of finding Jam?son cousins is formidable, if not interesting.

Although the Jam?son surname can now be found almost anywhere in the world. Not so surprisingly is that the surname is historically found predominately in the British Islands, principally in Scotland, but also in Ireland and in England as well. Perhaps more surprisingly, is that the Jam?son name is increasingly found used as a forename, with just as many spelling variations as have confused it when used as a surname.


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The contents of this site are a collection of information from a multitude of sources, the integrity of which cannot always be proven or guaranteed, both as to accuracy and completeness. Therefore, the owners and participants of The Jameson Network assume no responsibility for the information available on this site. We can however say our intentions are to be as accurate and complete as possible, given the perpetual unfinished nature of any genealogy and family history.