The name Eason is of Scottish origin and considered patronymic as it is derived from the medieval Scottish family name Esson. The family originated in the extreme north-east region of Scotland near the town of Glen Tilt.
Surnames in Britain prior to the Norman conquest were largely unheard of. In the small settlements and villages which existed during earlier times, residents found little need for surnames as everyone in these communities knew each other and a given name would usually suffice. However, with the passage of time, population growth and expansions of communities as villages gave way to towns and cities, it became necessary to add a qualifier to a people's names to distinguish them, one from another. Therefore one person may have been identified by their given name plus their occupation while another may have been identified by their given name and one of their parent's names. The introduction of surnames by the Norman aristocracy after the invasion seemed to be the next logical step in this evolution. There was a boundless supply from which surnames could be formed, in addition to the use of patriarchal/matriarchal names or reference to the individuals occupation, there were things such as defining physical traits, a familiar geographical location or a topographical landmark found near the individuals home or birthplace, the name of the village in which the person lived, and so much more. Soon, surnames would come not just to represent an individual but whole families.
There often exists variations in spelling of many surnames, as with many given names which date back to the early centuries. The variation in spelling of both given and surnames during this time period can be attributed to a lack of continuity regarding guidelines for spelling which was compounded by the diversity of languages in use in European countries at this time. The variations in the spelling of the surname Eason include but not limited to; Eason; Easson; Esson; Asson; Assone; Aysoune; Aison; Easom; and Easun, among others.
The earliest record of any variation of this surname is that of Aythe Filius Thome which appears in the Ballie of Stratherne tax rolls from 1630. These rolls, were a series of census and tax records kept by the English Treasury by order of King Charles II, with the oldest dating back to the 12th century. They hold the distinction of being the oldest consecutive set of records detailing English governance in the United Kingdom. These records span a period of over 700 years and have proven invaluable to researches over the years. Additionally, official records from the Scottish Parliament at St. Andrews in 1681 show John Easson was a member.
The first recorded immigrant to America bearing the surname or any variation of the spelling was Edward Eason who arrived in 1610 and settled in Virginia. John Eason landed and settled in Maryland in 1663 and William Eason arrived and settled in Virginia in 1665.
There were also many immigrants to the British Common Wealth countries of Canada, Australia, and New Zealand bearing the surname Eason. Peter Eason landed in 1815 and settled in Saint John, Canada. Robert Eason arrived in 1853 and settled in South Australia. Sophia Eason arrived in 1875 and settled in Auckland, New Zealand.
Worldwide, the highest concentration of people with the surname Eason are found in New Zealand, the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom, and Canada . By state, the largest percentile of those with the surname Eason live in Arkansas. Georgia, and North Carolina.
There are many persons of note who bear the surname Eason. Sir Herbert Lightfoot Eason was born in England and was a noted surgeon of ophthalmology. He attended and received his education at University College and Guy's Hospital both located in London. During the course of his career, Dr. Eason was named the Superintendent at Guy's Hospital, one of three institutions which form the King's Health Partnership. It is also a teaching hospital associated with King's College London School of Medicine. He was elected President of the General Medical Council, the government office in Great Britain which maintains the official records regarding physicians and medical practitioners within the United Kingdom. From 1935 until 1937, Eason was Vice Chancellor of the University of London, a position that later was titled Principle.
Eason served in World War I as a Lt. Colonel in the Royal Army Medical Corps. He was the consulting surgeon of ophthalmology to the forces in North Africa and the Mediterranean. For his service to his country, Eason was awarded the Order of the Bath and the Order of St. Micheal and St. George in 1943.