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Wilson is an English and Scottish surname, common in the English-speaking world. The name is derived from a patronymic form of Will, a popular medieval name. The medieval Will is derived from any of several names containing the first Germanic element wil, meaning "desire".[1] Possibly the most common of these names was William, derived from elements wil and helm, meaning "desire" and "helmet", "protection".[2] The surname Wilson is first recorded in England as Willeson in 1324,[3] and in Scotland as Wulson in 1405.[4]

It is the seventh most common surname in England,[5] and tenth most common in the United States.[6], occurring 783,051 times as of 2000.[7] Wilson is also now quite common as a surname in many other countries with a large English-speaking population such as Canada, Australia, South Africa, and New Zealand.

Wilson is the third most common surname in Scotland. [8] In the sixteenth and seventeenth century the surname was greatly increased in Ulster by the thousands of Scottish settlers and as a result of this settlement it is the most common Surname in Northern Ireland

Wilson can also be a given name.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Wilson Family History,, retrieved 16 February 2012. This webpage cited: Dictionary of American Family Names, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-508137-4.
  2. ^ Hanks, Patrick; Hardcastle, Kate; Hodges, Flavia (2006), A Dictionary of First Names, Oxford Paperback Reference (2nd ed.), Oxford University Press, p. 276, ISBN 978-0-19-861060-1.
  3. ^ Reaney, Percy Hilde (1995), Wilson, Richard Middlewood (ed.), A Dictionary of English Surnames (3rd ed.), Oxford University Press, p. 495, ISBN 0-19-863146-4.
  4. ^ Black, George Fraser (1946), The Surnames of Scotland: Their Origin, Meaning, and History, New York: New York Public Library, p. 817
  5. ^ Wilson Surname at Forebears
  6. ^
  7. ^ [1]
  8. ^