Last name: Richardson

This surname is a patronymic form of a very ancient personal name, and means "son of Richard". The derivation of Richard is from the Olde English "ric", power and "heard", meaning brave, hardy. It is originally Anglo-Saxon in origin, but was made very popular in England by the Normans after the Conquest of 1066. Pre 7th Century Anglo-Saxon, and Norse baptismal names were usually distinctive compounds whose elements were often associated with the Gods of Fire, Water and War, or composed of disparate elements. The surname was first recorded in Scotland in the mid 14th Century (see below), and the first spelling of the surname in its modern form is found in the Yorkshire Poll Tax Returns of 1381, in one William Richardson. John Richardson is recorded as being one of the men responsible for transporting and selling as slaves, in the West Indies, many of the convicted Monmouth Rebels in 1685. Among the forty-nine entries in the "Dictionary of National Biography", for notable Richardsons is Samuel Richardson, the novelist (1689 - 1761), who is famous particularly for his novel "Clarissa Harlowe". The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Murdac Richardesson (Merchant), which was dated 1359, recorded in Glasgow, Scotland, during the reign of King David 11 of Scotland, 1324 - 1371. 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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Linda Richardson

Three Richardson brothers came from Westmill, England to the Massachusetts Bay Colony 1630 - 1635, The first one (Ezekiel, I believe) was on the Winthrop Fleet. I am descended from one of the brothers - Samuel. The third was Thomas. They must have many thousands of descendants (large families back then.)

Garry Richardson

I was looking to see if there might be a link to Manasseh or Ephraim , sons of Joseph the son of Jacob in the Bible . I heard that many people changed their name from any thing that sounded Hebrew to keep from being persecuted . My last connection to the name Richardson was Isaac Richardson from England.

Robert Richardson
I've been looking for accurate origins of the name in north eastern England, I was given to understand my family Richardson is Norse by blood, I assumed they adopted the name later, as it is a patronymic, eventually I suppose they just stuck with it. I don't suppose anyone knows anything about viking assimilation into England?

Hello Robert. Richardson does seem to be a viking name. Go on to Google and find Wirelect Warrington Dialect. He has a good piece on the Vikings in the north of England. Hope you find it helpfull. Gaynor.

by "his" I meant to say my Dad's cousin

Wow, @Erick Richardson my family are the Richardsons and his cousins are the Averys - How weird!

Erick Richardson
Origin and history of the slave name Richardson and Avery is what I am looking for.

The origins of the personal name Richard are Germanic as stated. However, the name itself is more accurately of Frankish origin rather than Anglo-Saxon. The personal name Richard was largely unknown in England prior to the Norman Conquest in 1066. Viking settlers in Normandy adopted the name from the native Franks. The name later became popular in England due to Norman influence.