Acheson surname

From Familygenes Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search
The Acheson Family Crest

Some background on the family name of Acheson[1]

This surname is regarded as being of Anglo-Scottish origins, although with Norman antecedents. Found in the variant spellings of Atkinson, Aitchison, Acheson, Atcheson, Aicheson and Aitcheson, it is as a patronymic form of the medieval male name of Atkin or Adkin, itself a double diminutive of the Hebrew name 'Adam', meaning ‘red earth'. Adam (as a baptismal name) is first recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086, suggesting that it was an introduction after the 1066 Norman invasion. Certainly thereafter it became steadily more popular creating further diminutives such as Adcock and Atcock, with the same meaning. Early examples include Adekin filius Turst (Adekin the son of Turst) in the 1191 Pipe Rolls of Norfolk, and John Adekyn in the 1296 Records of Crowland Abbey, Cambridgeshire. William Atkyns was recorded in the Subsidy Rolls of Worcestershire, dated 1327, and John Atkinson was listed in the Assessments relating to the feudal lists of the county of Westmorland in 1402. Further examples are those of James Aitchesoun, master of the Scottish Mint in 1553, and Marc Aichesone or Acheson of Achesoune's Hevin (now Morrisons Haven), in 1609. An interesting recording is that of John Atkinson, aged 24 yrs., who embarked from London on the ship “Bonaventure”, bound for Virginia, on January 15th 1634. He was therefore one of the first settlers in the New World Colonies which would become America and eventually the United States. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Atkynsoun, which was dated 1387, in the “Records of North Berwick”, on the Scotland borders, during the reign of King Robert 11 of Scotland, 1371 - 1390.

Surnames only 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.

Field Marshal Sir Claude John Eyre Auchinleck

Achesons arrive in Ulster from Scotland

The Achesons or Atchesons arrived in Ulster and in County Tyrone as tenant farmers and adventures during the Great Ulster Plantation from 1607 onwards. Those of Tyrone most probably came with the various Hamilton landlords who acquired a good proportion of North County Tyrone although the townland of Collow belonged to the Auchinlecks another very old Scottish family the best known of whom was Field Marshal Sir Claude John Eyre Auchinleck GCB, GCIE, CSI, DSO, OBE, nicknamed "The Auk", a British army commander during the Second World War.

The Auchinlecks came from the village of the same name, Auchinleck five miles south-east of Mauchline, and two miles north-west of Cumnock in East Ayrshire, Scotland. It is therefore likely that the earliest Achesons came over from Ayrshire in the 17th century as did most of the neighbouring families in the Parish of Langfield. During the 1607-1620 Plantation families from the same district of Scotland tended to stay close together on their arrival in Ulster for self preservation and mutual support, just as did in later years in the colonies.

Return to the frontcover page...

  1. Original research booklet compiled by Robert J. Williams of Londonderry, N. Ireland; October 2015, 32 pp., plus photocopies of original documents, in private collection.