Last name: Dawson
This interesting surname is of English origins. It has more than fifteen entries in the Dictionary of National Biography, and no less than twenty-two coats of arms, and is a patronymic form of the medieval male given name Daw. This is a nickname form of David, adopted from the Hebrew male given name Dodavehu meaning "beloved of Jehovah". This name was borne by the greatest of the early Kings of Israel, and led to its popularity, first among the Jews, and later among the Christians. In Britain the popularity of the name was increased by the fame of St. David, the patron saint of Wales, and by the fact that it was borne by two kings of Scotland, David 1st 1124 - 1153, and David 11nd 1329 - 1371. David clericus, of the county of Lincolnshire in 1150, is one of the earliest recorded bearers of the forename in England. The form as Dawe first appears in the county of Lancashire in 1212, with the patronymic Daweson emerging in the early 14th Century (see below). Richard Dawson, aged 31 yrs., who embarked from London on the ship "Phillip" bound for Virginia, in June 1635, was an early settler in America. The Dawsons have been prominent in Ireland from Elizabethan times; those who settled in Ulster became Earls of Cremorne and Dartrey. Another family acquired large estates in Col Laois, and a third gained possession of the Glen of Aherlow, in Co. Tipperary, hence, the appellation Dawson's Table in connection with the mountain, Galtee More. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas Daweson, which was dated 1326, in the Court Rolls of the Manor of Wakefield, Yorkshire, during the reign of King Edward 11nd, 1307 - 1327. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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