Origin, Meaning and Family History of the Anderson Name
Anderson Surname Name Meaning, Origin, History, & Etymology
This very popular Scottish and English surname name is a baptismal or patronymic surname meaning “the son of Andrew”, deriving from the old personal (first) biblical name Andrew, which was popularized throughout the country due to the fact that St. Andrew (who lived in the Roman Empire in the 1st century AD) was the patron saint of Scotland. Andrew (or the Greek Andreas) was one the twelve disciples of Jesus Christ in the Christian religion. In Greek, it derives from the word andreios, meaning masculine, manly, or courageous. In the United States, this name has absorbed many cognate or similar sounding names from other European language, such as the Swedish Anderrson and the Norwegian/Danish Andersen. One source states the family lived among the Dalriadan clans. In Scotland, the family owned land in Moidart, but moved to Badenoch in the early 1300s AD. The most eminent branches established themselves in Dowhills, West Ardbreck, and Candacraigs in Strathdon.
Some believe the name in England and Scotland is of Danish extraction, as it is believed Vikings brought the name to counties Northumberland and Lincolshire in early times. Other believes it developed in parallel in the Brisih Isles and the Nordic/Scandinavian countries.
Some spelling variants or names with similar etymologies include Anderrson, Andersen, Andersonne, Andersons, Andersoun, Enderson, and others. In Scotland, it was first recorded as Fitz Andreu and developed in various forms from the Scottish Gaelic patronymic “MacGhilleAndrais”. The most common spelling in Sweden is Andersson, whereas the most common spelling in Denmark and Norway is Andersen.
Popularity & Geographic Distribution
The last name Anderson ranks 12th in popularity in the United Status as of the 2000 Census. The name ranks particularly high (in the top three) in the following eight states: Minnesota, Washington, Wisconsin, Utah, Idaho, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Montana.
The surname Anderson frequency/commonness ranks as follows in the British Isles: England (52nd), Scotland (8th), Wales (99th), Ireland (417th) and Northern Ireland (46th). In England, it ranks highest in counties in Northumberland and Durham. In Scotland, the surname ranks highest in counties Angus, Shetland, East Lothian, Peebleshire, Berwickshire, Stirlingshire, Fife, and Aberdeenshire. In Wales, it ranks highest in Anglesey. In Ireland, it ranks highest in Kildare. In Northern Ireland, it ranks highest in county Londonderry.
The name is also present throughout the remainder English speaking world: Canada (14th), New Zealand (7th), Australia (9th), and South Africa (173rd).
Early Bearers of the Surname
The Poll Tax of Yorkshire in 1379 AD lists one bearer of this last name: Rogerus Andreweson. Martin Aunderson was documented in Yorkshire in 1495 AD in the Corpus Christi Guild. Henry Androsoun leased part of Balmyle, Scotland around 1443 AD. John Andirstoun was commissioner to parliament for Coupar, Scotland in 1585 AD. Early marriages involving this surname include Richard Anderson to Elizabeth Hawkins in London in 1611 and Frederick Anders and Mary Harper at St. George’s Hanover Square in 1769 AD. An early baptism involving this surname was Neal, son of Erasmus and Mary Anderson in St. Katherine by the Tower in 1698.
Anderson Family Tree & Anderson Genealogy
Anderson of Grace Dieu
The Anderson genealogy begins with Alexander Anderson, Esquire of Grace Dieu, who descended from Anderson of Wester-Aiderbeck, and who was the nephew of Reverend Arthur Anderson, who was Chaplain to William III. In 1721, he married Miss Brewester, daughter and co-heir of William Brewster, and Jane (married Robert Carew of Woodenstown), another daughter, and a son named James. His son and heir was James Anderson, Esq. of Grace Dieu. In 1764, he married Susanna, daughter of Christmas Paul and Ellen Carew, and had seven children with her as follows: James (his heir), Paul (General, Colonel of 78th Highlanders), Alexander (Captain in the army), Henry (served in the Royal Navy), Reverend Joshua, Robert (officer in the 42nd Regiment killed at the Battle of Alexandria), and Ellen. He was succeeded by his eldest son, James, who died in 1838, at which point the estate was inherited by his brother, Joshua. This Reverend Joshua Anderson of Grace Dieu, Rector of Myshall, county Carlow, was born in 1770. In 1807, he married Ann, daughter of Captain William Perceval, and had eleven issue with her as follows: James (his heir), William (married Elizabeth Paul Adams, had issue named Joshua Alexander and Wilhelmina Elizabeth), Robert Carew (married Jane Wallis Bolton, had issue named Charles Alexander, William Paul, Francis James, Joshua Perceval, France Anne Grace, and Catherine Jane Henrietta), Paul Christiman (of Kilkenny), Alexander (Commander of HMS Cressy), Anne (married Charles Newport Bolton of Brook Lodge), Jane Ellen, Ellen (married George Bevan Russell), Catherine, Henrietta, and Susanna. He died in 1849 and was succeeded by his eldest son James. This James was an Esquire of Grace Dieu, a Justice of the Peace born in August of 1810. In 1842, he married Margaret, daughter of Thomas Carew of Ballinamona, and had issue with her as follows: James Paul, Thomas William, Alexander Carew, Jane Margaret (married Captain Michael Clare Garsia, had sons named Herbert George and Harry Carew). He died in 1867. His son Thomas William Anderson was an Esquire of Grace Dieu, county Waterford, who was born in 1852 and succeeded his father in October of 1867.
Anderson of Little Harle Tower
This branch of the Anderson family tree begins with a family who lived at Long Cowton in Yorkshire in 1666 AD, and who previously lived in Newcastle-on-Tyne and Great Haswell Grange, county Durham.
Thomas Anderson was an Esquire who in 1806 married Ann Bell. Their son was named Thomas. This Thomas Anderson, Esquire, was a Justice of the Peace and Deputy Lieutenant who purchased Littled Harle Tower from the Murray-Aynsley family. In 1841, he married Emily, daughter of John Fisher, of Wavendon, and had issue with her: George, John, Mary, Eleanor, and Mabel. He died in 1872.
Anderson of Harrold Priory
Sir John Anderson, 1st Baronet, was of Harrold Priory in county Bedford, England who was born in 1878 and became a Justice of the Peace for the city and county of Glasgow, Scotland. He was created a baronet in 1920. In 1911, he married Jessie Barr, daughter of Alexander Bilsland of Woodside Terrace. In 1941, he married Muriel Stanley-Wiggins of Satra, Shoreham-by-Sea, daughter of J.E. Franklin of Kemp Town. The lineage of this family traces back to John Anderson of Auchterarder Perthshire who died in 1889 and left a son named Peter. This Peter was of Marchcroft, Maxwell Park, Glasgow and of Westerlea, Auchterarder, Pertshire who was a Justice of the Peace born in 1847. In 1875, he married Margaret, daughter of William MacIntosh of Gateside, and issue with her, including a son named John, the 1st Baronet mentioned at the beginning of this paragraph. The Anderson Coat of Arms (erroneously called the Anderson Family Crest) is blazoned in heraldry as follows: Per fesse argent and or, in chief two saltires couped and in base a boar’s head erased gules. Crest: In front of an oak tree fructed proper, two saltires or. They resided as Astra Lea, Crowborough, Sussex.
Other Anderson Pedigree and Family Trees
William Anderson was born in Accomach, colonial Virginia in 1600 AD. He married Mary Wise and had a daughter with her named Comfort. Comfort was born in Maryland in 1625 and she married George Taylor IV.
John Anderson was born in Ireland around 1704 and he came to colonial America, passing away in Orange, North Carolina. He had two sons: William and James. His son James was born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania in 1731 and he married Elizabeth Mebane and had the following children with her: Ann, Reverend Alexander, Jane, Thomas, and Margaret. He was a soldier in the American Revolution. His son Reverend Alexander Anderson was born in North Carolina in 1764. He married Phoebe Hall and had the following children with her: Ann (Bull), William C., Jane, Thomas, and Margaret. His won William C. was born in Orange County, NC in 1771.
Early American and New World Settlers
Joseph Anderson, age 20, came to Virginia aboard the Bonaventure in January 1634.
Thomas Anderson, age 18, came to Virginia aboard the Bonaventure in January 1634.
James Anderson, age 19, came to Barbados aboard the Hopewell in January 1634.
Robertson Anderson, age 22, came to Barbados aboard the Ann & Elizabeth 1635.
Joseph Anderson, age 21, came to Barbados aboard the Alexander in May 1635.
William Anderson, age 36, came to Barbados aboard the Alexander in May 1635.
Richard Anderson, age 30, came to Bermuda aboard the Truelove in June 1635.
Richard Anderson, age 17, came to Virginia aboard the Transport in July 1635.
Richard Anderson, age 50, came to Virginia aboard the Merchant’s Hope in July 1635.
Margret Anderson came to Virginia aboard the Unity in April 1679.
William Anderson was buried in the parish of St. Michael’s, Barbados in 1679.
Roger Anderson and his wife, had one child and three slaves in St. Michael’s in 1680.
Martha, daughter of James and Hannah, was baptized in Christ Church, Barbados in 1678.
The book Genealogical Guide to the Early Settlers, mentions three bearers of this last name:
1) John Anderson, a Scotch-Irish emigrant, settled in Watertown, Massachusetts, who married Rebecca Wright, and had issue with her named Abraham (born 1708) and two daughters. He later married Mary Aplin and had two sons with her named John and Richard.
2) Robert Anderson of Goldmine, VA, son of Richard, who was born in New Kent, C.H., around 1600, married Mary Overton.
3) John Anderson, Boston, 1647, a shipwright, built a wharf in 1652. He married Mary Hodges of Charleston.
Other early settlers in colonial America bearing the Anderson surname include Jochem (New York 1600), Heinrich (Philadelphia 1627), Thomas (Virginia 1634), Joseph and Richard (1635), Hannah (Virginia 1705), Enoch (New Jersey 1709), Jacob (New England 1710), Derrick (Virginia 1714), and Edward Anderson (Virginia 1717).
In Canada, two of the earliest settlers bearing this last name were Edward and James Anderson who came to Nova Scotia in 1749 AD. In Australia, one of the first bearers was Thomas Anderson, a convict from Middlesex, England who came to New South Wales (then a penal colony) who came aboard the Ann in 1809. In New Zealand, a one J. Anderson came to Hokianga in 1839.
Early Americans Bearing the Anderson Family Crest
Charles Bolton’s American Armory (1927) contains one entry for this surname:
1) Or on a chevron gules between three hawks’ heads erased sable, as many acorns slipped [argent]. On a canton sable three martlets [argent]. Crest: a hawk’s head sable. Motto: Vigila. Bookplate Alexander Anderson, Jersey City, b. 1775. First American wood engraver.
Crozier’s General Armory (1904) contains three entries for this name:
1) John Anderson of Watertown, Massachusetts, in 1700. Arms: Or, on a chevron gules, between three hawks’ heads erased argent, three actors, slipped of the last, on a canton sable, three martlets of the third. Crest: A falcon’s head, of the shield. Motto: Vigilia.
2) Thomas Anderson, Gloucester County, Virginia, 1634, came from Northumberland, England. Arms: Or, on a chevron gules between three hawks’ head erased sable, as many acorns slipped argent. Crest: An eagle’s head erased argent, holding in the beak paleways an arrow gules, headed and feathered or. Motto: Nil desperandum, auspice Deo
3) Brigadier General Thomas McArthur Anderson, USA, State Soldiers’ Home, Erie County, Ohio, who bore the same arms as Thomas Anderson of Virginia described above.
Matthew’s American Armoury and Bluebook (1907) does not contain one entry for this name.
I have identified 20 Anderson family mottoes:
1) Stand sure
2) Per mare (By sea) (Anderson of Aberdeen)
3) Providentia et industria (By arms and industry)
4) Honest and fast
5) Qui honeste fortiter (He who acts honestly acts bravely)
6) Recte quod honeste (That is rightly which is honestly done)
7) Providentia (By providence)
8) Pro bello vel pace (Prepared in war and in peace)
9) Nil conscire sibi (To feel no guilt)
10) Pro Deo certo (I strive for God)
11) Recte quod honeste (Rightly, which is honestly)
12) Sic viret virtus (So virtue flourishes)
13) Ubi solum ibi coelum (Where there is land there is sky)
14) Gradatim (By degrees)
15) Dum spiro spero (While I breathe, I hope)
16) Nil desperandum, auspice Deo (Nothing to be despaired of under the auspices of God)
17) Vigilans et certus (Watchful and faithful)
18) Vigilia (Vigilant)
19) Gnaviter (Skillfully)
20) Fortiter (Boldy and rightly)
We have 41 coats of arms for the Anderson surname depicted here. Blazons 1 through 33 are from Bernard Burke’s book The General Armory of England, Ireland, and Scotland, which was published in 1848. Blazons 34-41 are from Johann Rietstap’s Armorial General, which was published in 1861. The former belonged to British individuals, whereas the later belong to individuals who lived in continental or mainland Europe, primarily in Denmark, Sweden, and Northern Germany. The bottom of this page contains the English and French blazons, and in many instances contains some historical, geographical, and genealogical about where coat of arms was found and who bore it. People with this last name that bore an Anderson Coat of Arms (or mistakenly called the Family Crest)
1) Edmond Anderson, Erbury, county Warwick, 4 July 1572, by Cooke
2) Henry Anderson of the Newcastle upon Tyne, gentleman, 3 November 1547, by G. Dethick
There are hundreds of notable people with the Anderson surname. This page will mention a handful. Famous people with this last name include: 1) Brady Kevin Anderson (1964) who was a professional baseball player in the MLB from 1988-2002, having spent most of his career with the Baltimore Orioles, and was born in Silver Spring, Maryland, 2) Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875) who was a Danish author Odense who is best known for his stories The Little Mermaid, The Ugly Duckling, and Thumbelina, 3) Anton Anderson (1892-1960) who was an engineer on the Alaska Railroad, born in Moonlight, New Zealand, who became the Mayor of Anchorage Alaska in 1956, 4) Charles David Anderson (1827-1901) who was an American legislator, planter, and businessman who was a Confederate General during the American Civil War, having been born in Stone Mountain, Georgia, 5) Wesley Wales Anderson (1969) who is an American film director born in Houston, Texas known for films such as The Royal Tenenbaums and The Grand Budapest Hotel, 6) William T. “Bloody Bill” Anderson (1840-1864) was a deadly and brutal pro-Confederate guerrilla leader during the American Civil War who fought Union soldiers in Kansas and Missouri, 7) Pamela Denise Anderson (1967) who is an American actress and model born in British Columbia, Canada known for her roles in the TV shows Home Improvement and Baywatch, 8) Otis Jerome Anderson (1957) who is a retired American football running back, born in West Palm Beach, Florida, who played in the NFL from 1979-1992, for both the St. Louis Cardinals and the New York Giants, 9) Lucy Anderson (1797-1878) who was the most eminent pianist of the early Victorian era who was both in Bath, Somerset as Lucy Philpot, and 10) Hugh C. Anderson (1851-1915) who was a businessman and lawyer that was a long time mayor of Jackson, Tennessee, and Lieutenant Governor of the state in 1915.
Anderson Family Gift Ideas
Browse Anderson family gift ideas and products below. If there are multiple coats of arms for this surname, you will see them at the top of this page and can click on the various coat of arms designs to apply them to the gift ideas below.
Clothing & Accessories
Kitchen & Bath
Fun & Games
Anderson Family Crest Corn Hole Game$224.00Purchase »
Anderson Family Crest Ping Pong Table$167.59Purchase »
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Blazons & Genealogy Notes
1) (Penley, co. Herts, bart., created 1643; extinct 1699; the heiress, Elizabeth Anderson, m. Simon Harcourt, Esq. Clerk of the Crown). Ar. a chev. betw. three crosses crosslet (another, three crosses formee) sa. Crest—A water spaniel pass. or.
2) (Fermoy, co. Cork, bart., created 1812). Quarterly, or and ar. a saltire engr. per saltire gu. and sa. betw. a mullet pierced in chief two boars’ heads erased respecting each other in fesse of the fourth and in base a trefoil slipped vert. Crest—A tree ppr. surmounted by a saltire humettee sa. Motto—Stand sure.
3) (Aberdeen). Ar. a saltire wavy betw. three mullets in chief and flank and a crescent in base gu. Crest—A cross staff erect ppr. marked with the degrees of latitude. Motto—Per mare.
4) (West Airderbreck). Ar. a saltire engr. betw. two mullets in chief and base gu. and as many boars’ heads erased in the flanks az. Crest—An oak tree ppr. Motto—Stand sure.
5) (Dowhill). Ar. a saltire engr. sa. betw. a crescent in chief and three mullets in the flanks and base gu. all within a bordure az. Motto—Providentia et industria.
6) (Edinburgh). Ar. a saltire engr. cantoned with a mullet in chief two crescents in the flanks and a cross crosslet fitchee in base gu. Motto—Honest and fast.
7) (Edinburgh). Ar. a saltire engr. sa. betw. a crescent in chief and three mullets pierced of the field, two in fesse and one in base gu. Crest—An eagle holding in the dexter claw a twig of olive ppr. Motto—Qui honeate fortiter.
8) (Glasgow). Ar. a saltire engr. cantoned with two mullets in chief and base and as many crescents in the flanks gu. Crest—A cloud ppr. Motto—Recte quod honeste.
9) (Stobcross, Scotland). Ar. a saltire engr. sa. betw. a crescent in chief and three mullets in fesse and base gu. a bordure quarterly of the second and third. Motlo— Providentia.
10) (Tushilaw, co. Selkirk, 1732). Quarterly: 1st and 4th, ar. a saltire engr. sa. betw. two crescents in chief and base and as many mullets in flank gu. a bordure wavy of the last: 2nd and 3rd, az. three bucks’ heads couped ar. attired or, for Porteous. Crest—A sword in pale encircled with two olive branches ppr. Motto—Pro bello vel pace.
11) (London, 1794). Ar. a saltire engr. betw. four mullets gu. in the dexter point of a chief az. a blazing comet ppr. Crest—A phoenix in flames ppr. Motto—Providentia.
12) (Newbiggin, Scotland, 1780). Ar. a chev. gu. betw. three stars in chief and a crescent in base az. Crest—A star az. Motto—Nil conscire sibi.
13) (Mayor of Liverpool, 1860). Gu. a saltire betw. three mullets in chief and flanks and a crescent in base ar. on a chief of the second a stag's head cabossed of the first betw. two martlets sa. Crest—An oak tree and equally pendent therefrom two weights ppr. Motto—Pro Deo certo.
14) (Sir James Anderson of Blairvadich, co. Dumbarton, Lord Provost of Glasgow, 1862). Ar. a saltire engr. betw. a mullet in chief and a crescent in base gu. and in each flank a carpenter’s axe az. on a chief of the last a fret of the first betw. two crescents or. Crest—A stag lodged ppr. Motto—Recte quod honeste.
15) (New South Wales, 1863). Or, on a bend engoulee of two dragons’ heads vert, a lymphad with sail furled and oars in action of the first. Crest—A yew tree ppr. Mottoea —Sic viret virtus. Ubi solum ibi coelum.
16) (James Alexr. Anderson, capt. 14th regt. 1868). Ar. on a saltire engr. sa. betw. two mullets in chief and base, and as many crescents in flank gu. a boar's head erased or. Crest—A crescent sa. Motto—Gradatim.
17) (Sir Alexr. Anderson, Lord Provost of Aberdeen, 1872). Ar. a saltire engr. sa. betw. a crescent in chief two mullets in flank and a boar’s head erased gu. in base. Crest—An oak tree ppr. Motto—Stand sure.
18) (London). Ar. a chev. betw. three crosses cercellee sa. in chief a fleur-de-lis gu. Crest—Out of a ducal coronet ar. a hind’s head or, pierced through the neck with an arrow sa. feathered of the first.
19) (confirmed to Anderson of Sudbury, Her. Vis.). Sable a chev. between three crosses flory ar.
20) (granted by Cooke, Clarenceux, to Edmpnd Anderson, of Ebury, co. Warwick). Sa. five estoiles ar. Crest—A talbot pass. or.
21) (Grace Dieu, co. Waterford). Quarterly: 1st and 4th, ar. a saltire engr. betw. two mullets gu. one in chief and one in base and in the flanks two boars’ heads erased az.; 2nd and 3rd, gu. a chev. erm. betw. three estoiles ar., for BREWSTER. Crest—An oak tree, ppr. Motto—(Over the crest) Stand sure; (under the arms) Dum spiro spero.
22) (Mill Hill, co. Middlesex, Lord Mayor of London in 1798). Az. on a saltire erm. a sword and key saltireways environed with a laurel wreath ppr. betw. three mullets and a crescent in base ar. Crest—Three ostrich feathers encircled with a chain or, on the centre one a crescent.
23) (Newcastle, co. Northumberland). Or, on a chev. gu. betw. three hawks’ heads erased sa. as many acorns slipped ar. Crest—An eagle’s head erased ar. holding in the beak paleways an arrow gu. headed and feathered or.
24) (The same coat with a canton of the third, charged with three martlets of the fourth, was granted to Henry Anderson, of the town of Newcastle, gent., 3 Nov. I Edward VI.).
25) (Erbury, co. Warwick). Sa. five estoiles in saltire ar.
26) Gu. a saltire or, charged with another vert.
27) Ar. a saltire engr. sa. betw. four mullets gu.
28) Az. three martlets and a bordure engr. ar.
29) Gu. three trees eradicated ar.
30) (Jesmond House, Northumberland). The elder branch of the family settled more than half a century ago in St. Petersburg). Per chev. nebulee az. and vert, a bugle horn stringed betw. three bucks lodged or. Crest—Upon a mount vert a stag lodged wounded in the breast by an arrow and holding in his mouth an ear of wheat all ppr. charged on the side with a bugle horn or. Motto—Nil desperandum, auspice Dco.
31) (Coxlodge, near Newcastle). Same as Anderson of Jesmond House, John Anderson of Coxlodge, Esq., having been younger brother of Thomas Anderson, Esq.
32) (Little Harle Tower, co. Northumberland; George Anderson, Esq., M.A , of Little Harle Tower, J.P., descended from a family long settled at Newcastle-on-Tyne). Gu. three martlets fessewise or betw. as many oak trees eradicated ar. Crest—In front of a falcon’s head erased sn. guttee beaked and eyed or, holding in the beak an arrow bendwise head downwards ppr. three hearts gold. Motto—Vigilans et certus.
33) (London, late Edinburgh). Ar. a saltire engr. vert. betw. a thistle slipped and leaved ppr. in chief, and three mullets in flank and base of the second. Crest—A crescent ar. Motto—Gradatim.
34) Etats-Unis - (Ma Collection) - D'or au chevron de gueules chargé de trois glands d'argent tigés et feuillés du mesme les queues en bas et acc de trois têtes de colombes arrachées de sable au franc-quartier d'argent chargé de trois martinets de Cimier une tête de colombe de l'écu Devise VIGILA.
35) ou Andersen (anciennement Albada) - Etats-Unis - Orig. de Frise - D'argent au chevron de sable acc de trois croix fleuronnées du même Cimier un épagneul passant d'or Devise GNAVITER.
36) Suède - Anob. 18 août 1 668 - De gueules à un sautoir diminué d'or bordé denché de sable acc de quatre étoiles (6) d'or Casque couronné Cimier une des étoiles Lambrequin d'argent et de sable.
37) Danemark - (M. ét.) - Parti d'argent et d'azur au loup sautant de l'un en l'autre Cimier deux proboscides d'azur et d'argent.
38) Schleswig - (M. ét.) - Parti d'argent et d'azur Cimier deux proboscides d'azur et d'argent.
39) Danemark - (M. ét.) - D'argent à l'aigle de sable (Une branche de cette maison portait l'aigle surmontée d'une croisette pattée de gueules).
40) Danemark - (M. ét.) - D'argent au pal de sable.
41) Danemark - (M. ét.) - D'azur au croissant versé d'argent acc de deux coquilles du même 1 en chef et 1 en pointe.