Last name: Coulson
This interesting and unusual surname is of Irish and early medieval English origin, and has two possible sources. The first source is from a patronymic form of the surname Coole, which is either the Anglicization of the Gaelic "MacCumhaill", son of Cumhall, a byname meaning champion or the Anglicization of the Gaelic "MacDhubhghaill", son of Dubhgall, a personal name meaning black stranger, derived from the Gaelic elements "dubh", black, and "gall", stranger. The second source is a patronymic of Cole, which is from a Middle English (1200 - 1500) pet form of the personal name Nicholas, which is itself from the Greek "Nikolaos", composed of the elements "nikan", to conquer, and "laos", people, and means "victory of the people". The personal name was popular among Christians throughout Europe in the Middle Ages. The patronymics include: Coulson, Coleson, Cowles and Coolson. The earliest recording in Ireland was of the christening of John Colson, on January 22nd 1628 at St. John the Evangelist, Dublin. Among the recordings in London is the christening of Alexander, son of Rowland Coulson, on January 1st 1605 at St. Martin Ludgate. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Alstan Colesune, which was dated circa 1095, in the "Feudal Documents from the Abbey of Bury St. Edmunds", Suffolk, during the reign of King William 11, known as "Rufus", 1087 - 1100. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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I was having an eye check just recently and the shape of the area around the optic nerve was not a perfect circle in one eye. The optician commented that this was unusual and was seen in northern Europeans. Viking ancestry maybe???
Chris, I too grew up a Coulson and I know that my great-great grandfather came from the west of Ireland in the famine. I understand that there's another possible meaning of the name- son of the man from the cold. Given the history of Viking raids in Ireland, I think there's every chance we might have Viking ancestors.
I've always understood it to be a conversion of Carlsson which is the Nordic equivalent of Smith, and purely guessing, does that make it related to Vikings?
SON OF COUL
That is what I was told it stood for, growing up. :)