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WILSON Family History

Wilson- gaelicised (rarely) as Mac Liam, the Irish form for William being Liam. The root is 'wil' an Old Germanic word which has passed into modern German and English as 'will' with perhaps the original meaning of 'desire' (for power, conquest etc). This would have been a Teutonic personal name.

The surname Wilson occurs as Scotland's third most common name, and the present writer believes this would be the provenance of most Irish Wilsons, especially in the north. That being so, Wilson is also the eighth most common surname in England and Wales, and one would expect a fair sprinkling of these in Dublin.

A key document is the 1659 'Census' conducted by Cromwellian bureaucrat Sir William Petty. Should a name appear as a 'Principal Irish Name' this would suggest an entry into Ireland earlier than in the mass settlements of the early 1600s in the north, and the later 1650s Cromwellian plantations throughout Ireland. However, on perusal it appears that Wilson is a name introduced in the above 17th century incursions, particularly in the earlier Jacobean Scottish settlement in Ulster.

From an examination of the 1659 'Census', the only entries of Wilson I found are in Co Antrim, Barony of Masareene: listed with the 'Principal Irish Names', there are 11 families of Wilson, and they are specified as 'Scotch'. From there they would appear to have spread throughout the north.

By the time of Griffith's 1850s 'Primary Valuation' of Irish households, the name had become numerous: most Wilson families appear in counties Antrim (479), Down (405), Tyrone (324), Armagh (247), Derry (218) and Donegal (201).

In Matheson's 'Special Report on Surnames in Ireland' (1909) on births distribution in 1890, most Wilson entries occur in counties Antrim, Armagh, Down, Tyrone, Dublin and Derry. The figures are: Ulster 287, Leinster 49, Munster 22 and Connacht 8.

Two famous Wilsons:
John P. Wilson (1923-2007) born in Co Cavan. He was a Fianna Fáil minister (3 times), for Education etc., and Tánaiste. He was a classical scholar, an alumnus of London University, and a fine Gaelic footballer in his youth, winning two all-Ireland medals with his county. The kind of man to keep you company on a long train journey!

Sean Wilson is a contemporary Irish singer and accordion player, whose soft northern tones charm listeners and audiences across the globe. His first accordion was bought for him when he was 10.

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#7 Robert Wilson

This was written by my father beginning with his Grandfather Alexander: Alexander Wilson was brought up somewhere in the parish of Redrock, Market Hill, Armagh and it would seem that he married sometime between 1840-50. He and his wife set up home in a small farm in the town land of Lisbane, Armagh (this farm is now owned by the Carmichael family). He also had a leather business and manufactured boots at the lower end of Thomas Street, Armagh. Alexander Wilson and his wife, Margaret, had six of a family, William, James, Alexander, Margaret, Eliza and Joseph. William emigrated to the Americas in his youth and was very little heard off. James carried on his fathers business and it would appear, was very successful He later owned the Mancheste

#6 William Wilson

I am related to James he was my great, great, grand father WILSON "From History of Scott County, Iowa 1882 Chicago: Interstate Publishing Co." James Wilson, farmer and stock-raiser, Le Claire, Iowa, was born in Donegal, Ireland, in 1825, and came to the United States in 1855 and located in Le Claire Township, where he has followed farming since. In 1849 married Jane Galligher; she was born in Ireland. There was a family of 13 children, nine of whom are living, viz.: William, Susan, Nathaniel, Thomas, Sarah J., Andrew, John, Margaret and Mary E. Mrs. Wilson died in 1872. She was a member of Seceeders church. Mr. Wilson has 320 acres of land valued at $75 per acre in Le Claire Township, and 160 acres in Poweshick Co., Iowa, valued at $35.

#5 Diana Wilson

Hello I am interested to connect with people who have ancestors who emigrated to York Ontario Canada in the early 1800's. Some names include William Wilson b. approx. 1795 his wife Sarah ( no maiden name b. 1795 - native of County Monaghan ) two sons aware of Hugh b. 1811 and Joseph b. 1816 ...Look forward to hearing from anyone with relatives in this area. Sincerely Diana

#4 Ronald Wilson

My name is Ronald Boyd Wilson from maysville, kentucky born 3-12-1955, my father name was Walter Manley Wilson, his fathers name was Charles Wilson. They lived in Brown County and Adams County Ohio. They came from Maryland and Pennsylvania is what i am told. They settled in Brown County Ohio and were farmers.

#3 Anthony Barrett

(Part 1 of 3) The Wilson name has a long history in the British Isles and belongs to several tribal backgrouds, but now DNA and some recorded history says one origin is from the north-west region of the Emerald Island. This Wilson story [dominated by DNA tribal marker R1b-L513, Subgroup FA] can trace their beginnings to the Finn Valley in Donegal, Ireland from 50 BCE. Perhaps the journey begins with the Clanna Dedad; Deda, son of Sen or Deda Mac Sin. The Wilson surname origin is possibly from the Dáirine [R1b-L513] who found the Kingdom of Brycheiniog, Wales around 300 CE.

#2 Anthony Barrett

(Part 2 of 3) According to research, the Kingdom of Brycheiniog will take part in an invasion of Brittany, France around 500 CE. But how could this be? Recent discoveries from DNA testing are unlocking the migration patterns of Celtic tribes as late as 800 CE to 1200 CE. The Wilson story begins in pre-history Ireland but this descendant will then move to Wales where the family can be traced back to their Welsh tribe Cydifor Fawr. A relative and many of his kin will then travel to Brittany, France during the Dark Ages.

#1 Anthony Barrett

(Part 3 of 3) Discover their newly found untold story and how forgotten texts bring their story back to life. From the ebook, “The Tribe Within” learn how DNA unfolds this amazing tale and if you look in the right places, how history narrates this evidence. There is another written account of their story, but it is camouflaged in smoke and myth – it will become the tales of King Arthur. Come follow in the footsteps of Deda Mac Sin and visit

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