The surname Hinson is Anglo-Saxon in origin, coming from either one of the two medieval English words “hind” or “hinde”, in modern vernacular they both translate to “female deer”. The name would have been applicable to someone who was shy or timid. It is also believed the name may be occupational, as it was possibly used in reference to a gamekeeper as well.
The use of surnames was not a common practice in Britain until after the Norman invasion and conquest. Most residents in the small settlements and villages which existed during earlier periods across most of Britain found little need for surnames as everyone within these communities knew each other and a given name would usually suffice. However, as communities grew and people began to migrate on a larger scale, along with the need of the government having a reliable way to track people for tax and census purposes, the Norman aristocracy's penchant for using surnames seemed the appropriate evolution to this problem. In most instances to distinguish themselves, one from another, those not of the noble class would often be identified by their given name plus their occupation while others may have been identified by their given name and one of their parent's names. 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 individual's home or birthplace, the name of the village in which the person lived, and so much more. Over the course or time, surnames came to represent not just individuals but whole families.
The array in variations in the spelling of surnames, as well as many “given” or “by-names” that exists today, can be attributed to a lack of consistency regarding guidelines for spelling in use by the scribes who recorded such information dating back to ancient times. Many of these record keepers were in the habit of spelling phonetically, however, what may have sounded one way to one person may have sounded completely different to another. The issue of multiple spellings of names in records was compounded by the diversity of languages in use in European countries at this time. Due to these issues, variations in the name can include, but are not limited to; Hynson; Hineson; Hindson; and Hyneson as well as Hinson.
One of the earliest record of any variation of this surname can be found in the tax rolls from Essex county in 1285, wherein is listed Christina Hynde. Tax rolls from Sussex dated 1332 list Henry Hynde and Richard Hynne is found in the tax rolls of Yorkshire dated 1379. The tax rolls, were a series of census and tax records kept by the English Treasury by order of King Edward III, with the oldest dating back to the 12th century. These documents are considered the oldest concentric set of records documenting English governance in the United Kingdom spanning a period of over seven centuries, these records have proven invaluable to researches over the years.
With the discovery of the Americas and the addition to the British Common Wealth of countries such as Australia, immigration to these new worlds was inevitable. One of the first settlers on record to America bearing this surname was Ralph Hinson who landed in 1634 and settled in Massachusetts. Additional immigrants to America include; John and Jo Hinson who arrived in 1635, William Hinson who landed in 1650 and settled in Maryland, and Thomas Hinson who arrived and settled in 1651. One of the earliest Hinsons on record to Australia was Richard Hinson who arrived in 1649 and settled in Adelaide.
Worldwide, the highest concentration of people with the surname Hinson are found in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. State by state, the largest percentile of those with the surname Hinson live in North Carolina and South Carolina.
There are a number of persons of note who bear the surname Hinson. Vanessa Hinson, M.D., Ph.D. is an American Doctor of Neurology, Professor of Neurology, and Director of the Movement Disorders Program at the Medical University of South Carolina.
Dr. Hinson received her education at Wake Forest University in North Carolina and abroad at the Hamburg School of Medicine in Germany. She specializes in treatment of movement disorders such as Parkinson's and Huntington's disease.