The name is first recorded in Scotland at the
start of the 15th century and means 'son of Will' and James Wilson. His father from
Eastforth, Lanark, bought the lands of Hinschelwood and Cleugh, Carnwarth, in 1655. In
1906 his descendant John Wilson (1809-89), of Airdrie, was created a baronet. David Wilson
(1805-98), of Carbeth.
WILSON: The name is derived from 'Wil', a diminutive of William, introduced to Britain through Norman influence about the 11th century. From such origin the name became widespread throughout Britain and, although among the 10 most popular names in Scotland, such descent should not be assumed without evidence of ancestral links. It will also be evident that all Wilsons in Scotland are not allied by blood and share only the common bond of being descended from some remote ancestor who bore the root name. The popularity of William as a baptismal name gave rise to many quite distinct lineages throughout the whole of Scotland and, depending on dialect, or regional trait, it assumed many forms in addition to Wilson. Notable variants of spelling are Willison and Wilsone, both forms being those of families well established in the Stirling area by the 18th century. Ayrshire, Dumfries and Galloway are particularly rich in Wilsons, and a family from Hawick in the Borders greatly promoted pastoral farming in New Zealand. Two distinct lines of Wilsons are associated with Clans - those of Caithness who are said to be descended from a son of George Gunn, Coroner of Caithness; and those of Banffshire who are linked with the Innes family of Littlefield. Undoubtedly, Wilsons had links with other clans and families who had a tradition of William in their kin, but none have positively been identified. The most indelible mark on our understanding of the fabric which typifies the Highlands was left by a family of Wilsons who were merchant weavers at Bannockburn, near Stirling. The preserved records of their tartan trade spanning 150 years from c.1750 to 1906 have provided scholars with much information that would otherwise have been lost. The present Wilson tartan, originally named 'Janet Wilson sett', was devised about 1775 for the wife of the founder, and knowledge of the pattern lay dormant for over 100 years before it found new life adorning Wilsons worldwide. Individual Wilsons of Scottish descent contributed much to the worlds of literature and science, their works ranging from the abstract thoughts of philosophy to the development of the 'cloud chamber' and 'screw propulsion', and one had a major part in the formation of the Constitution of the U.S.A.
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