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‘Diversity’ is the key trait that best describes English surnames. Amidst various surnames that flood the British Surname encyclopedia, Thompson is a common surname. The Surname has existed since as early as the 14th century and till date happens to be one of the most popular surnames in the nation. The surname is primarily of English Scottish origin and has given rise to numerous renowned personalities. .

Unlike most English surnames that are job descriptive, the Thompson surname is rather a patronymic name. Like most surnames that have been derived as a result of occupation of the individual, the Thompson surname is rather different. The surname refers to the son of a man who is known as Thom, Thom, Thomp, Thompkin, or other diminutive form of Thomas (twin). The surname is an Americanised form of Thomsen.

The Thompson surname has a very interesting or rather brave history behind it. The surname is primarily regarded as being of "Crusader" origins. Most European countries have Thompson as a common surname. The surname is associated with Christian faith. The popularity of the surname was followed by the twelve crusades that were carried out by the knights of St John.

These crusades were carried out under the command of various European kings. However, Richard, Coeur de Lyon, of England was one of the most notable rulers who encouraged these crusades. The motive of these crusades was to free the holy land from Muslims. All of these crusades were unsuccessful. The knights, who returned after these unsuccessful crusades, gave their children names associated with the bible as a reminder of their efforts. One of the most popular names given to the children of these knights was Thomas. It is this name that eventually transformed into the Thompson surname.

The surname then became increasingly popular and appeared firstly in the 14th century. Thompson was recorded from Scotland first. One of the earliest recordings of the Thompson surname is that of John Thompson. His name was recorded in the charters of the Abbey of Whitby, Yorkshire, in 1349.

Looking at the early church recordings, it is the marriage of David Thompson and Mary Clarke that happens to be one of the first recordings. The marriage took place on May 29th 1664 at St. Giles Cripplegate, in the city of London. The first recorded spelling of the family name in any spelling is believed to be that of John Thomson, which was dated 1318, in the Annals of Scotland. This was during the reign of King Robert 1st of Scotland, known as "The Bruce", 1306 - 1329.

While the Thompson surname has traversed a long lane, it still stands to be one of the most popular surnames in the nation. Thompson was the seventeenth most frequently reported surname, and accounted for 0.27% of the population, as per the 1990 United States census. The surname stands to be the most frequently used surname in counties such as Isle of Man and Middlesbrough. The surname is ranked as number 1 in these counties. It is ranked as the 2nd most common surname in the county of Kingston Upon Hull. Thompson holds the 3rd rank in the county of Cambridgeshire, County Durham, Wolverhampton and Suffolk. Some other counties that see higher concentrations of Thompsons include Nottinghamshire, East Sussex, County Down, Berkshire, West Yourkshire amongst several others.

Thompson being a common surname, has several other variants too. There are several other alternative surnames of Thompson that are in use even today. Some of them include Thomson, Thomason, Tompson, Thompsen and Tomason. It is only the spelling of these surnames that is different. They are pronounced in a more or less similar manner.

There have been numerous well-known personalities who have Thompson as the surname. While some have made their mark in the world of politics, there have been others who have entertained the world with their impeccable acting skills. The field of art and literature has also seen some extremely talented Thompsons.

Sports is one field where various people with the Thompson surname carved a niche for themselves. One of the notable sportsmen with the Thompson surname is Adam Thompson. He is a New Zealand Rugby player who plays Flanker for Highlanders and All Blacks. Another Thompson sportsperson is Bob Thompson, an English footballer. This great footballer had only one eye and still managed to carve out an exciting career in the sport. And not to forget Daley Thompson, who happens to be as two time Olympic gold medallist in the decathlon. It seems as if people with the Thompson surname are meant to be rocking sport stars.

Thompsons are also known to have a great writing prowess. There have been various well-known authors with Thompson as the surname. Some notable examples include James Thompson, who was a well-known poet of the eighteenth century as authored The Seasons. Another author by the same name was a renowned writer of the nineteenth century and penned The City Of Dreadful Night. Some other Thompson authors include Hunter S Thompson, Kate Thompson (author of New Policeman), and Robert Grainger Ker Thompson.

The existence of the Thompson surname goes beyond real life and finds a place for itself in fiction too. Owing to the immense popularity of the surname, Thompson even found a place in fictional work. Who can forget Thompson, who was one of the two identical detectives in the well-known novel Adventures of Tintin The name of other identical twin in the story was also influenced by the surname and called Thomson.

The Thompson surname has traversed a long lane and has witnessed various alterations in due course of time. By giving birth to some famous and renowned personalities, the surname has made itself familiar with the masses. Even to date the surname happens to be one of the most common surnames in the nation. If you are a Thompson, you could well be proud of the interesting history that backs the surname. Or may be you could find a connection or link with some of the renowned Thompsons.

Original Authors: Eric
Edit Update Authors: M.A.Harris
Updated On: 27/04/2009

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