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2,405 study surnames with us
and a further 6,120 variant names.

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About the study

*The Masterton Family* website is intended to provide a knowledge bank for a small community of interest - the present day successors of those who have shared common roots. Some of these are documented. Many are not.

Variant names

Masterton is by far the most common modern spelling of the surname, although I am aware of some Mastertouns in Australia. In Sweden and Finland, the surname Mesterton originated in James Masterton, a merchant from Scotland. In the records, I have come across 90 spelling variations.

The surname Masterson is a distinct and different family name, probably originating in Ireland. But sometimes the names get confused in error.

Name origin

King Malcolm IV of Scotland (1153 - 1165) granted the lands of Ledmacdunegil (Ledmacduuegil or Lethmachduuegil) afterwards called Masterton as formerly held by Magister (=Master) Ailricus, cementarius, to the Abbey church of Dunfermline. This Ailricus may be the magister or 'master' after whom the lands took their later name. The first appearance of the surname is in approx. 1225 when William de Maistertun is a witness to a charter in the Registers of Dunfermline. In 1296, William de Meistreton of the county of Fife rendered homage to Edward I of England (The Ragman Roll). His seal bears a lion rampant, a rose in front, and S' Will'i de Maistertvn. Duncan de Maysterton witnessed the homage of Duncan, earl of Fife to the abbot of Dunfermline in 1316. Symon de Maysterton, rector, was a witness in 1357, and Sir Thomas Masterton was a canon regular of Cambuskenneth in 1476.

Historical occurrences of the name

The Mastertons were a family of note in the Dunfermline district before the Reformation, and genealogies from 'The Baronage of Scotland'. a later update by R.R. Stodart, Depute Lyon King of Arms, and Victor Noel Paton, are all publsihed on the website; my updated genealogy of early Mastertons is also included.

Famous Mastertons include Graham Masterton, former editor of Penthouse, highly successful writer of horror fiction (eg The Manitou) and sex manuals (eg How to drive your man wild in bed). Born in Edinburgh on 16 January 1946.

Jill Masterton is a fictional character in Ian Fleming's 'Goldfinger' who was killed by being painted gold all over. Tilly Masterton, Jill's sister, attempted to avenge her death by shooting Auric Goldfinger but James Bond prevented her, then, after various adventures as Bond's associate, she was finally killed by Oddjob's flying bowler.

Bill Masterton was the first and (as of 2007) the only National Hockey League player to die as a result of injuries sustained during a game. Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada on 16 August 1938, he received massive head injuries and loss of blood when he hit his head on the ice after being checked playing for Minnesota North Stars against Oakland. He died 2 days later. The Bill Masterton Trophy is awarded annually for dedication, sportsmanship and perseverance.

Name frequency

The 1881 UK census lists 961 Mastertons, a frequency of 36 per million. By 1998 the frequency in the UK had reduced to 23 per million with 863 occurences.

Distribution of the name

In 1881, the greatest density of Mastertons was in Fife, Scotland, followed by Stirlingshire and Angus, then Lothian and Lanarkshire. By 1998 the spread had increased throughout the UK, with Fife and Lothians having the greatest density. Emigrants had spread the Masterton name to Australia, Canada, USA, New Zealand, Guernsey and Jamaica.


The Masterton Family Website has data on 3942 Mastertons and almost as many spouses and family members, distributed in Scotland, England, Wales, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, USA, Jamaica, South Africa. There are 27 different Masterton trees and copious information on Masterton references in published sources.