Recorded as Ferguson, very occasionally as Furguson, and in the rare diminutive of Fergie, this famous surname is of pre 10th century Old Gaelic origins. Well recorded throughout the British Isles, it is a patronymic form of the early personal name Fergus, composed of the elements "fear", meaning man, and "gus", vigour or force. To this has been added the later patronymic ending of -son. Fergus was the name of an early Irish mythological figure of the 5th century a.d., given as being a valiant warrior. It was also the name of the grandfather of St. Columba, a fact which contributed to its great popularity. Some Irish bearers of the name also claim descent from Fergus, prince of Galloway, who died in 1161. The surname is first recorded in Scotland in the mid 14th Century (see below), when the Fergusons or Fergussons were classed among the septs of Mar and Atholl. According to the medieval acts of the parliaments of Scotland, Robert 1st of Scotland, better known as 'The Bruce' and king from1306 to 1329, granted certain lands in Ayrshire to Ferguson, son of Fergus in 1310, in 1508 a John Fergy was recorded in Edinburgh, whilst in 1671, Patrick Fergie is recorded in the same city. Patrick Ferguson (1744 - 1780) invented the first breech-loading rifle used in the British Army. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop", sometimes leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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