Like Williams, the surname Wilson comes from both English and Scottish origins and means the son of Wil or William if from Germany. Today it is considered to be in the top ten most popular used surnames in the United States as well as in Scotland but it is also very common in many other English speaking nations which include Canada, South Africa, Ireland, New Zealand as well as in Australia. Furthermore, during the 11th and 12th centuries, Wilson was also a very common given name as well.
Due to its immense popularity, there has been a number of persons over the centuries which have used this surname. These people come from all walks of life and in many different professions ranging from politicians to athletes and even actors and musicians. For example, in the athlete category, you have Alan Wilson who was an Australian ruby player and Alex Wilson who was a popular track and field athlete in Canada.
One of the more popular shared names between famous persons with the surname of Wilson is that of Andrew. The name Andrew Wilson has been shared between actors, Scottish football, British historians, Scottish politicians, RAF commanders, English authors as well as Unificationist theologians.
Of course there have been a number of famous Charles Wilsons too. In the case of this popularly shared name you have politicians from Quebec, Scottish newspaper editors, famous sailors for the U.S. Navy, U.S. Representatives and even CEOs of major companies like General Motors as well as General Electric. The most famous of the Charles Wilsons though has got to be the member of the gang who was responsible for the infamous Great Train Robbery that occurred back in 1963.
In the case in which the given name of James has been shared with those who have the surname of Wilson, you will find famous people like one of the signers of the United State’s Declaration of Independence, Welsh football players and even the leader of the 1820 Radical War.
Then you have the important person in the United State who played an important role in shaping the direction of the country whose name was Woodrow Wilson. But because of the immense commonness of the Wilson surname, you will find that there have been a number of fictional persons; especially those who played military roles have shared the last name of Wilson which can be attributed to the past U.S. President.
As far as names of places go, because of the commonness of the name Wilson, one will find that around the world there have been a large number places named after a Wilson. In Australia for example there is the city of Wilson in Western Australia, while in Poland one can find the Wilson Square in Warsaw. In both Devonshire as well as Leicestershire, one can find the villages of Wilson. However for the most saturation of places named after a person bearing the name Wilson is much greater with a community in the states of Arkansas, Indiana, Louisiana, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, Wisconsin as well as Wyoming all having cities and towns named Wilson, most of which have been done so in commemoration of the U.S. President.
To give you an idea on how common the name of Wilson is, one can find 62 mountain peaks around the world of which 57 are located in the United States named Wilson. This includes the Mount Wilson in Antarctica, Wilson Peak in Australia, Mount Wilson in Alberta, British Columbia as well as Yukon territories in Canada. To sit here and name the 57 peaks in the United State named Wilson would just be a waste of time but if you are interested in knowing them you will be glad to know that the information can be found in a number of locations on the internet.
With regards to researching your family genealogy, you will be glad to know that while Wilson is a very common name, the chances that more then one Wilson unrelated being on the same passenger ship and immigrating into the U.S. or any other country for that mater would be very slim. This means that finding that missing relative in the past should be a simpler task then researching some of the more common surnames used today.
Original Authors: Nick
Edit Update Authors: None
Updated On: 04/04/2009