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Clan Johnson

JOHNSON: This name derives from "son of John" and, although as such, is a universal name, it appears in old Scottish records as far back as 1296 when Wautier Jonessone of Berwickshire rendered homage. In 1368 William Jonnessone, a merchant of Aberdeen, complained that his goods shipped in a Flemish vessel had been arrested at Grymesby. Adam Jonesson, a Scots prisoner of war, was discharged from Newgate prison in 1375. Malcolm Jonis was a prominent man in Orkney in 1427. Alexander Johnson is recorded in Aberdeen in 1454. The northern Johnsons are decended from John, 3rd son of George Gunn the hereditary "Crowner" or warden of Caithness. It was George's son James who founded the line of Chiefs of Clan Gunn. In a global context, the present form of Johnson largely derives from individuals who trace decent from an ancestor named 'John' - the Gaelic form of which is 'Iain' and, as both were popular names, many separate lineages evolved throughout Scotland. However, the possession of Johnson as a family name does not, in itself, denote Scottish ancestry for, in one form or another, it was also popular in England and many Scandinavian countries. The Highland form, 'MacIain', is undoubtedly Scottish, and is equated with Johnson. By the fact that the Macdonalds of Ardnamurchan, and those of Glencoe, were commonly called MacIain, the Johnsons have been traditionally linked to those clans, whereas in Caithness, they have a traditional association with the Gunns. For quite separate reasons both Macdonald lineages were obliged to disperse at an early date, the former from the loss of their lands (about 1618) to the avaricious Campbells, and the latter in the aftermath of the infamous massacre of 1692. Many Ardnamurchan MacIains removed to Moidart, where they settled under Clanranald, while others went to Badenoch, and to the anglicised Lowland Scotland, where many became Johnsons. The dispersal of the Glencoe MacIains is less well documented, but is evident that most of the native population has now gone from that glen. Some Johnsons may also have association with other clans where a usage of John or Iain was popular. It is also probable that many Johnsons might originally have been Johnstons, and vice versa - such being occasioned by bad recording or translation of the spoken word. CHIEF: None has ever been defined for the name of Johnson. TARTAN: There is no "Johnson" tartan but because of the Gunn association that tartan may be worn. Similarly, the CREST and MOTTO of Gunn are the most appropriate.

Thanks to Steven Whitson for the following information

Here is the known information we have taken from "Historic Cane Ridge and its Families", library of Congress catalog card number: 72-85673. This book was written and published by a relative of the family, regarding the history of the family...from the old world to the new:

Johnson (mothers maiden name) "The name is of Scotch origin, originating about the time sur names were fixed approximately the middle of the 12th century. The name in the 12th century was De Johnstone, meaning son of John, and as is often the case after running through a gamut of varied etymology is settled down to Johnson.

Sir John de Johnstone's grandson, Sir Adam de Johnstone, was a distinguished commander under the Earl of Douglas. At the Battle of Sark in 1448, the 'Scotts'  obtained an important victory, with Sir Adam de Johnstone in command. This gentleman married twice. The fourth child by the second marriage was James Raymond Johnstone, esquire, who wedded Marry Elizabeth, the daughter and co-heir of Sir Montague Chomely, of Eastern Hallin, the county of Lincoln, and their fifth child was Henry Johnstone, who married Sara Stewart, sister and co-heir of Sir Christopher Sergroves. Henery Johnston, who by his wife Sara had five sons, and one daughter. The sixth child was Ashel Johnston, married Anna O'Hare of Tyrone".....Anyway, by c.1654, Thomas Johnston was born in Tyrone Ireland, married on 4 Sept. 1683, to Sussannah White, in Chowan County in North Carolina, thus the beginning of our family history in the United States of America; c. 1683.



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