What is the origin of the last name Johnson?

The last name Johnson originated from England and Scotland during the medieval period, combining the given name John and the suffix -son, meaning "son of." Derived from the Hebrew name Yochanan, meaning "God is gracious," John was an extremely popular name in Christian societies. As a patronymic surname, Johnson indicated the "son of John," serving as a way to distinguish individuals within communities. Over time, the name spread throughout the English-speaking world, becoming one of the most common surnames in countries such as the United States.

Countries of origin for the last name Johnson

The last name Johnson is one of the most common surnames in the United States, with a rich history and a wide range of origins. Derived from the personal name John, which is of biblical origin, the name Johnson has multiple possible meanings and etymologies.

One possible origin of the last name Johnson is from the given name John, which itself comes from the Hebrew name Yochanan, meaning “Yahweh is gracious.” The popularity of the name John and its various forms throughout history has contributed to the prevalence of the Johnson surname.

An alternative origin for the last name Johnson is the patronymic tradition, where surnames are derived from a male ancestor’s given name. In this case, Johnson would mean “son of John.” This practice of using patronymics was common in many cultures, including Scandinavian and Scottish traditions.

Another possible origin for the surname Johnson is from the medieval given name Johannes, derived from the Latin name Ioannes. This name was adopted from Greek and ultimately from a Hebrew name meaning “Yahweh is gracious.” The variations and translations of this name in different languages contribute to the diverse forms of the surname Johnson.

The Johnson surname can be found in various forms across different countries and cultures. In the United States, the name is particularly common, with a significant number of African Americans bearing the Johnson surname. This can be attributed to the historical adoption of slave names derived from slave owners’ surnames, as well as the common use of the name John among African Americans.

As with many surnames, the exact origins of the Johnson name can be challenging to trace accurately. However, it is clear that this surname has a rich history and widespread usage. The Johnson surname is a testament to the enduring popularity of the given name John and the diverse origins and meanings attached to it.

Interesting facts about the last name Johnson

  • The surname Johnson is of English origin, derived from the given name John.
  • It is one of the most common surnames in the United States and Great Britain.
  • The name Johnson is patronymic, meaning it is based on the father’s name. It signifies “son of John”.
  • Johnson is derived from the Norman personal name “John” or “Jehan” which itself was derived from the Hebrew name “Yochanan” meaning “Yahweh is gracious”.
  • The surname Johnson has various spellings and variations, including Johnston and Johnstone.
  • Notable individuals with the surname Johnson include Andrew Johnson, the 17th President of the United States, and Samuel Johnson, the famous English writer and lexicographer.
  • Johnson is the second most common surname among African Americans, often used as a family name due to its association with President Abraham Lincoln’s vice president, Andrew Johnson.
  • Johnson is also a popular surname among Scandinavian countries like Sweden, Norway, and Denmark due to the Viking influence in the region.
  • The frequency and popularity of the surname Johnson can be attributed to early immigrants who settled in America and passed on the name through generations.
  • The Johnson surname has numerous famous and successful individuals associated with it, including athletes, musicians, actors, and entrepreneurs.