Guild of One-Name Studies
One-name studies, Genealogy
Category: 3 - A study where research using core genealogical datasets and transcriptions is well under way on a global basis.
DNA website: www.familytreedna.com/groups/scotson/about
Contact: Rev Allan Scotson
This study of the worldwide SCOTSON family, past and present, evolved out of my ambition to discover my family tree in 1999. Although I had a computer, there were no resources on the internet at the time, so whenever I was visiting England from home in Finland, it meant shuttling between Coventry and London by train to order GRO birth, marriage and death certificates, or heading up North to visit Lancashire libraries to research census or cemetery records. Everything had to be transcribed by hand.
Apart from my own relatives I had no knowledge of any other SCOTSONs, so to discover others researching the name became quite a thrill. The arrival of mail in my post box, and now by email, has always been an adventure in itself as names and information of SCOTSON families unfolded.
Nevertheless, it became evident that the name is rare, the BT telephone directories of 1999 only showing 200 Scotson households in the United Kingdom. Because of this rarity, I was convinced that the SCOTSONS must be related with a mutual forefather. However, this might be wishful thinking, an aspect I hope will come to light by my research. My first task (with help from Barbara née Scotson Perryman) was to transcribe all names in the GRO births, marriage and death indexes and then systematically sort them into families. 1,774 people born with the Scotson name have been sorted, and twenty-five resulting trees merged into twelve. All these trees have their roots in the North-West or North-East of England.
My task continues to trace the roots of every SCOTSON recorded, and I still have a small percentage of names yet to be identified, especially if they have lived outside the UK.
The paper documentation has already reached brick walls in the 18th and 17th Centuries, and this is where DNA research must take over. Any information or help you can give will be gratefully received.
If you are interested in the SCOTSON name, or can add additional information, please do get in touch, and also take a look at
A family in the Chorley tree, the children of Samuel Scotson / Elizabeth Halshaw, unusually had their names spelt SCOTTSON in the 1880s and 90s. Only twelve people in this family had the spelling. There is another family that survive to this day in the USA who have the SCOTTSON name. These are descendants of Alfin Skadsen who arrived from Norway in 1885. The family began to use the Anglified name later, and have no possibility of being related to those with the SCOTSON spelling.
The name Scotson indicates 'son of Scot', an ancient first name derived from Old English"Scott" - "an Irishman" and later Gaelic speaker from Scotland. It could derive from the son of someone from the Scott Clan, or from somebody called Scott.
In the North-East, Gilbert Scotesson is one of the earliest references to the name in 1131, and an Alexander Scotteson is listed in 1379 in the Yorkshire Poll Tax returns, while a George Scotson was christened in St Martin's Church, Coney Street, York.
However, in the North-West a widow released her right to a Burgage in Penny Street, Lancaster to a William Scotte in c.1280. Later William, son of William Scotte married Anabel of a Burgage in Penny Street, and he was later referred to as William Scottson of Lancaster. At least eight documents between 1300 and 1393 demonstrate the name from Scotte to Scottson.
There is evidence that Scotsons had settled at Abbot Park in the Furness Fells (photo above) in mid-14th Century at the time of the Black Death. Also members of the Rawlinson family of Greenhead, who built Colton Church c.1475 fought for King Henry V at Agincourt in France on 24 October 1415 and one of the 50 archers assigned to the king was a Thomas Scotson.
Nicholas Scotson, Burges of Lancaster, was granted a lease of certain lands at Forton, south of Lancaster in 1506, and Scotsons at Abbot Park had evidently flourished as John, Richard and Christopher had each paid rent for arable land. A will left in 1584 by John Scotson, showed the Scotsons to be flourishing in Colton. From his inventory we see him to be a successful husbandman, able to pass the tenancy on to his heir, sell off the stock, lend out the proceeds, and live on the interest in his old age. The last male Scotson to have lived in the area was apparently a James Scotson b.1718 who was buried at Colton Church in 1770.
At a slightly earlier date, the Preston Quarter Sessions record: “Edmond Scotson,John Scotson and James Scotson, three strangers are come into Little Lever with an intent to settle there Contrary to the Statute in that case made and provided. The inhabitants of Little lever humbly pray the Order of this Court to bring them, the said Edmond Scotson, John Scotson and James Scotson to thair last Lagel Setelment". Obviously unwanted there, we do find an Edmund Scotson only 3 miles away living in Radcliffe, and presumably at some stage he lived at a farm that later became known as Scotson Fold. Two strong lines of descendants followed from his grandsons Thomas Scotson b.1743 and Robert Scotson b.1744 who both moved to Abram.
Statistics from the England & Wales censuses have showed the number of households with a SCOTSON individual or family to be 213 in 1841, 363 in 1881 , and 436 in 1911.
The 1939 Register only recorded 360 SCOTSON individuals in England & Wales, and the 1990 BT directories only showed 200 SCOTSON telephone numbers. So the SCOTSONs are quite a rare breed.
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