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About the study
The registered variants of the name are Dixon and Dicson.
There are many other spellings which are considered to be relevant. These will be considered as they crop up in research.
The Dickson surname is a patronymic one, i.e. it is formed from the name of the father and the gender of the offspring. in this case it is Dick's son, Dick being a nickname for Richard and perhaps a corruption of the diminutive Rick.
One line of the Dickson name has it's beginnings in the 13th century, probably in Lanarkshire, Scotland. In this case the father 'Dick' is Richard de Keith, his son Thomas becoming the first Dicson (as spelled in the first recording of the name).
Although the above is the most recorded and documented origin of the Dickson-Dixon name, it has to be recognised that the possibility exists for other, non-related, Dickson or Dixon families.
Thomas Dicson was Laird of Hazelside and Symington, later being raised to the Baronecy of Symington. His offspring moved from southern Lanarkshire into neighbouring borderlands counties of Scotland and eventually over the border into Northumberland and Cumberland with the spelling often changing to Dixon in England.
Branches of the Dickson-Dixon family moved further afield, creating clusters of the Dixon name in other parts of England and Ireland.
History of the name
There have been Dicksons or Dixons in significant positions over the ages. These include those quoted as being from the original Dickson family who had links with Scottish nobility, fought for Scottish heroes Robert the Bruce and William Wallace, and held positions of responsibility in Scotland, both when it was an independent country and when it joined with England to become the United Kingdom.
Some of these notable Dicksons are covered in the area of the support website under History of the Dickson Dixon Name.
Distribution of the name
The perception of the distribution of the Dickson-Dixon name in the United Kingdom depends to some extent on which political boundaries are used to determine the information.
In Scotland, using the old County Council boundary areas give a false impression of where the names were most prevalent. This is due to a county such as Lanarkshire including the highly populated 'Second City of the Empire' within its boundaries while Border counties were smaller in both geographical area and population. By using the current political boundaries, the author believes the incidence and spread of the name can be better appreciated.
Comparision maps (which can be viewed at http://dixon.intco.biz/about-dickson-dixon-ons.htm) show the incidence of the original Dickson form of the name in Scotland in 1881 and display the significant presentation of the name in the eastern Scottish border and Lothians areas. The 1998 distribution continues to show a significant distribution of the name in parts of the Lothians as well as coast to coast across the Scottish borders areas. The high proportion of the !Dixon! form of the name appearing in the English northern counties in 1881 is clearly displayed while the 1998 distribution of the Dixon name continues to show a large distribution in the northern counties of England.
Internationally, Public Profiler shows that the UK continues to be home to the Dixon name with large numbers also to be found in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the United States and Ireland. The Dickson name, however, is stronger in Australia and New Zealand than in the UK with again significant popualtions in Canada, the United States and Ireland. Although all the foregoing are English speaking countries, both forms of the name appear in places such as Denmark, Switzerland and Spain with the Dixon form also found in France and the Dickson form in Sweden. There are also presentations of the name, under both spellings, in Argentina, India and China.