Atkins and Atkinson are the pet-forms of Adam, the -“kins” suffix denoting “the little one.” The early spelling was Adekyn, which then became Adkins and then Atkins. Atkinson, which took root in the north, has been a more common surname in England than its cousin Atkins.A John Atkinson was to be found in the feudal lists of Westmoreland in 1402. The early Atkinsons were to be found in Cumberland and Westmoreland, areas of Norse settlement. However, the Atkinson DNA is indicative more of indigenous British origin.The Atkinson surname corresponds to Aichison and Acheson in Scotland.
Select Atkinson Resources on The Internet
- Atkinson Family. Atkinsons from the West Riding of Yorkshire.
- Atkinson Family. Atkinsons from the Grewelthorpe area of Yorkshire.
- The Atkinson Family Tree. Atkinsons of Georgia.
- Atkinson DNA Project. Atkinson DNA.
Select Atkinson Ancestry
England. The largest number of Atkinsons in the 1881 census were in Yorkshire, followed by Lancashire and other northern counties.
Yorkshire. There was an early Atkinson presence in the parish of Grewelthorpe near Harrogate in the North Ridings of Yorkshire. But the Atkinson name has been most noticeable in the West Ridings. Among the Atkinson lines started there were:
- Christopher Atkinson, an early Quaker who held meetings in Newton and Easington in the 1650’s
- Thomas and Mary Atkinson who married in Elmet near Leeds in 1752
- Thomas and Eleanor Atkinson who married in Owston near Doncaster in the 1750’s (their grandson John emigrated to Pennsylvania in the 1830’s)
- and William Atkinson who was born in Methley near Leeds in 1764.
There was a particular cluster of Atkinsons in the 19th century in
Leeds. Their numbers included the mill owner Joseph Atkinson.
Elsewhere. According to family tradition, Jane Atkinson and her son William were granted a lease of property at Temple Sowerby in Westmorland in 1577. Later Atkinsons of the family were tanners. Richard Atkinson came to London in the 1760’s and worked with a West India company where he made his fortune. Other Atkinsons of the family were to be found later in Jamaica where they were plantation owners. Francis Atkinson built Morland Hall in Westmorland in 1861 and it stayed with the family until 1923.
Ireland. The Atkinson name crossed over to Ireland. Early arrivals were two Atkinson brothers, English soldiers who came around 1602 – Anthony Atkinson to Offaly, where his descendants were to be found at Cangort, and Roger Atkinson to Fermanagh where he
was High Sheriff in 1613. His home at Castle Coole was burnt down during the 1641 Irish rebellion. Later Atkinsons of this family included the 19th century politician and judge, John (Baron) Atkinson.
But the Atkinson name was mainly to be found in Ulster, in particular in Antrim and Down. One early line started with Edward Atkinson of Drumcree in Armagh in the late 17th century.
America. There were two distinct families of Atkinsons who came to Bucks county, Pennsylvania in the late 1600’s:
- one branch were Quakers, descended from Thomas Atkinson who arrived from Yorkshire in 1681.
- another line came from John Atkinson who arrived as a young boy (his father having died in the crossing) in 1699.
There were also Atkinson Quakers in New Jersey, descended from William Atkinson who came to Burlington, New Jersey in the 1680’s. This line was covered in John Atkinson’s 1890 book The Atkinsons of New Jersey.
Shadrach Atkinson came to Northampton county, Virginia in the 1720’s, married Jane Burwell there, and they raised seven sons. The youngest of them, John who fought in the Revolutionary War, settled in Camden county, Georgia around 1800. His line was followed in Burwell Atkinson’s 1968 book Genealogy of the Atkinson Family: Georgia Branch.
Canada. John Atkinson, a tenant farmer from Castleford in Yorkshire, migrated to Canada with his family in 1774 in search of a better life. They settled first in Nova Scotia and then in Sackville, New Brunswick. One of his grandsons Henry moved to
Savannah, Georgia in the late 1840’s and this family later ended up in Florida. Other grandchildren moved to Ohio. William became a Mormon and emigrated to Utah in 1853.
There were several other Atkinsons who settled in Nova Scotia. One of these lines led to Ephraim Atkinson, the celebrated builder of the Cape Islander fishing boat.
Select Atkinson Miscellany
If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for
further stories and accounts:
Select Atkinson Names
Joseph Atkinson was editor and publisher of the Toronto Star from 1899 until his death in 1948.
Brooks Atkinson was a long-time reporter for the New York Times, serving as its theater critic from 1947 to 1960.
George Atkinson was the father of the storefront video rental store, opening his first store on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles in 1977.
Rowan Atkinson is a British comedian, best known for his portrayal as Mr. Bean.
Select Atkinsons Today
- 51,000 in the UK (most numerous in Yorkshire)
- 20,000 in America (most numerous in Texas)
- 32,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada)
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