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About the study
This is a world-wide study covering the surname and its variants encompassing Davidsons from Scotland, Ireland, and England, plus the diaspora to North America, Australia, New Zealand, and other parts of the English speaking world. It also covers families from continental Europe with ancestral links back to Scotland as well as those who have adopted the surname from Scandinavia, Russia and elsewhere.
I have recently taken over from John Lisle [USA] as the nominated contact for the Davidson One-Name study. His website is still operational. John Lisle has been the Clan Genealogist for the Clan Davidson Society USA for several years. He has been particularly active with the Davidson DNA Project for about 10 years [with over 400 members] which has identified 30+ Davidson biological families with many more that exist but have not been well represented yet in the study. John continues to be an active researcher.
I have held a role as a researcher in the UK for the Clan Davidson Association for over 10 years, and maintain links with Clan Davidson societies in other countries and a world-wide network of Davidson researchers. I have access to the very extensive range of Clan Davidson genealogical archives held in the UK.
The principal variant names are Davison and Davisson.
We have early records indicating the use of the Davidson name in different of parts of Scotland as far back as the 14th century.
History of the name
Many well-known Davidson/Davison names are represented in our historical records, but more importantly, so are the thousands of ordinary folk who make up the vast majority of entries in our datasets.
The name is widely found, for example the 1881 Census records include:-
-16,615 Davidsons & Davisons in Scotland
-19,751 Davidsons & Davisons in England and Wales
-32,888 Davidsons & Davisons in the USA [1880 Census]
-4,882 Davidsons & Davisons in Canada
Distribution of the name
The Davidson name has historic documented links to particular parts of Scotland, namely the Central Highlands, North East Scotland, the Borders, and parts of South West Scotland. In England, we find the name principally in Northumberland and Durham alongside the Davison variant. Similarly the Davidson and Davison names are found in North Ireland, mainly in Co Down and Co Antrim. The diaspora of Davidsons particularly from Scotland [and Ireland] has led to the name being widespread throughout the English speaking world.
There is some evidence that the presence of the name in continental European countries including Scandinavia, Germany, Holland, and France also has its roots from Davidson families migrating from Scotland.
The surname [and its variants] has also come into the wider English speaking world from Scandinavia and Russia. Many of these European Davidson families have Jewish origins.
In recent years, I have accumulated extensive genealogical data from parish records, statutory bmd records, monumental inscriptions, memorials, census reports, shipping records, military records, and probate documents for tens of thousands of named Davidsons and Davisons found in both the UK and overseas datasets. I also have access to the research work completed by the earlier generation of Clan Davidson genealogists and a major collection of family trees.
John Lisle’s website continues to be operational. This website includes information mainly related to Scottish Davidson families who migrated to America in the colonial period.
The US Davidson resource site continues to be operational:
There are US and UK Clan Davidson websites and Facebook groups.
We will try to respond to all inquiries with appropriate expertise from relevant researchers in both the UK and the USA