Blazons & Genealogy Notes1) (London). Gu. a chev. engr. betw. three estoiles of six points ar.
2) Gyronny of eight gu. and az. a fesse engr. betw. three eagles ar.
Surname Meaning, Origin, and Etymology
The first indication of this uncommon European surname can be traced back to 1066 AD after the Norman Conquest of England. The Pinson surname has a French origin, and it refers to Mont Pinçon in the old arrondissement of Lisieux in Normandy, where this family used to live before the military campaign. After the conflict, they established themselves in the lands of Devon. The first member of this family in England was Ralph de Montepinçon, who accompanied William the Conqueror to his battles. At the same time, Hugh de Monte Pinçon, the leader of the family was offering his services to three kings back in Normandy.
The surname Pinson has two possible meanings. On one hand, it comes from the Old French “Pinson” which means finch, a small singing bird that was commonly kept as a pet and symbolized lightheartedness and happiness. Therefore, “Pinson” was a nickname for someone cheerful and bright. The Old French word “Pinson” also means pincers, so this surname was also given to someone who regularly used pincers and forceps for his job.
The surname Mont-Pinçon or Mont Pinçon later became Pinçon, because it was a simpler way of referring to it in books, and then Pinçon transformed into Pinson. This happened due to all the mixes of different languages in England at that time and also because of the old scribes who wrote words as they sounded, which caused many of them to spell the surnames incorrectly. This happened with this surname in particular thanks to the character “ç”, which although it looks like a “C” in, in French has the sound of an “S”. This phenomenon caused that the surname was written in a wrong way and it became Pinson and many other variants. . Therefore, it was normal to see surnames like Pincon, Pinson, Pinsent, Pensent, Pensons, Pinser, Pincer, Montpinson, MontPinson, and many other variations. All of these variations evolved into the Pinson surname we know today.
Popularity & Geographic Distribution
As stated above, this is not a very common surname. In fact, Pinson is ranked 28,827 in the entire world and 4,590 in the United States on the rank of surnames. The country where it is most common is France, where it is ranked at 1,032. There are approximately 17,517 people with this surname across the globe. All of these numbers are taken from a 2014 census.
Early Bearers of the Surname
There a few early bearers of the Pinson surname, such as the aforementioned Ralph de Montepinçon in England in 1066 and Hugh de Monte Pincon in Normandy during the same time. There are others like Sir William Pynsent or Pinsent (1642-1719), who held the title of 1st Baronet of Urchfont, Wiltshire, and his son Sir William Pynsent (1679-1765), 2nd Baronet. Both were important English politicians.
History, Genealogy, and Ancestry
William the Conqueror started a military campaign to invade England, and with him came a man called Ralph de MontePinçon. After the important battle of Hastings in 1066 AD, Ralph received the lands of Devon as a reward, along with the title of Lord of Manor, which was to remain in his family. The surname MontePinçon later evolved in Pincon, because it was easier to keep it in the records that way, and since it was misspelled, it became the Pinson surname that is known today. At the same time that all of this was happening in England, there was another MontePinçon in Norway, who was providing his services to three Kings. His name was Hugh de MontePinçon and was the leader of the family.
From England, this family spread across Europe. In Spain, there were three Pinson brothers who traveled with Cristopher Columbus to America. The eldest brother, Martin Alonso Pinzon, was the captain and owner of the ship the “Pinta”, while the second brother, Francisco Pinzon, was the pilot of the same ship, and the youngest of the three, Vicente Yanez, was the captain of the ship “Niña”. All of them had children who worked as sailors for different European governments and settled in different places across the entire American continent.
These three brothers had an uncle, Ricardo Pinzon, who made the journey to England in 1476 to teach his art: printing. In England, he became an important figure in this field and took the name of Richard Pinson. There is a record of 1750 from Colonial Virginia in North America that states that the Pinsons from England, Spain, and the New Continent started to come into contact with each other.
They spread to America, and one of the places that they made their home was South Carolina in what is currently the United States. There are papers of a certain Charles Pinson who claimed that he was naturalized in 1802. There is also a tomb with the name of a Charles Pinzon that came from Spain and had a wife, Inés Pinzon. Most likely, these two men were the same person.
Early American and New World Settlers
There are several bearers of the Pinson surname that came to America during colonial times. Some of the most important Pinsons that settled in the territory that is now the United States are: Joseph Pinson who arrived in 1663 and made Virginia his new home, Robert Pinson in 1665, who settled in Jamaica, and Samuel Pinson, who established himself in Barbados in 1685. Almost two centuries later, Jean Joseph Pinson settled in New York in 1824.
However, they didn’t settle solely in the US. In 1653, Marie Marthe Pinson arrived at what is now Montreal, Canada, and in 1736, Andrew Pinson made St. John’s, Canada his home as well. There is also the case of the previously mentioned Pinzon brothers, who traveled to America with Columbus in 1492.
In the Democratic party, there were other people with this last name, such as Harley Pinson, who was an alternate delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1972 from California, George Pinson, who was part of the Democratic State Executive Committee in 1961, and Eugene Pinson, Postmaster of New York City in 1966.
However, not all the well-known Pinsons have been politicians. Such is the case of the Russian historian Koppel Shub Pinson (1940-1961), who focused his work on the origins of German nationalism. Furthermore, there is the actress Julie Pinson who was born in 1967 and won an Emmy Award for her work in soap operas. Finally, there is also country musician Bobby Olen Pinson, who was born in 1970.
See glossary for symbol meaning.