Dixon Surname Genealogy

Dixon are patronyms (“sons of”) of Dick, a pet form of Richard – one
of the most popular names in England during the 11th and 12th centuries. Dickson is the spelling that has endured in
Scotland. The surname became Dixon in
England and that is now the more common form of the name

Dixon Resources on

Dixon Ancestry

Scotland. Thomas Dicson,
born in 1247 and the
son of Richard Keith, is generally considered the first to have adopted
Dickson name. His descendants held
Hazelside Place in Lanarkshire for many generations.

However, the Dickson name
soon migrated to the Scottish Borders and were to be found in
Berwickshire and
Peebleshire, dating from the 14th century

  • :in
    Berwickshire Alexander Nisbet
    recorded in 1722 the Dicksons of Buhtrig (by then extinct) and
  • while
    in Peebleshire the earliest recording (Dicson) was in 1338 and there
    were later
    Dickson families of Winkston and Hudleshope. James
    Dickson “of Havana” made a fortune in the West Indies
    during the
    Seven Years War and bought Broughton in Peebles in 1764.

Dicksons as a
border clan were described in B. Homer Dickson’s 1884 book A
Shorter History of Clan Dickson.

John Dickson of Glasgow claimed
descent from the Buhtrig Dicksons and was the father of the Rev. David
the Moderator of the Scottish Assembly when it was broken up by
Cromwell in
1653. His great grandson Sir Robert
Dickson of Inveresk was one of the founders of the Bank of Scotland. There were also Dickson lines here that went
to county Armagh in Ulster and thence to Pennsylvania.

Dickson family with later Ulster and American connections began with
Dickson, a Glasgow merchant originally from Stirlingshire.
His son David was a nonconformist minister,
his grandson Robert an ardent Covenanter who in 1666 had to flee
Scotland for
Ulster in 1666. Later Dicksons of this
family emigrated in the 1720’s to Connecticut.

One Dickson merchant family
from Edinburgh made its mark in Sweden.
Two sons of James Dickson, Edinburgh merchant, departed for
Gothenburg –
Robert in 1802 and James in 1809 – and became Swedish citizens. Baron Oscar Dickson of this family became a
rich Swedish industrial magnate in the mid 19th century, one of the
richest in
the country, and was a patron of many Arctic expeditions of that time.

Dickson may have been the
older spelling in
England, but the alternative Dixon spelling has taken over. Dixons outnumbered Dicksons in England by
almost ten to one in the 1891 census.
The name is primarily a north of England name.

Some of these Dixons were of
Scottish origin
, dating back to the
1400’s and Furness Abbey in Lancashire.
Dixon had
Scottish connections, having graduated at Edinburgh in 1660, although
he was
described there as an

e Northumbria
. He was a nonconformist minister in northern
England, as were his son Thomas and his grandson Thomas.

The Dixons of Cockfield
in Durham were attached to the local coal-mining there.
They were first found at Raby nearby where
George Dixon was a steward at Raby castlein the 1650’s.
This George Dixon was a Quaker and imprisoned
for his beliefs. Later came two Dixon

  • George Dixon who was a
    successful coalmine owner in the area and a pioneer in the 1760’s in
    the use of
    coal gas to light homes (although one of his experiments led to the
    burning of
    his own house).
  • and his younger brother Jeremiah
    who was a surveyor
    who became famous in America as the Dixon of the Mason-Dixon line. Drawn up in 1768, this line was said to be
    the demarcation line between North and South in America.

And later
still came Sir Raylton Dixon, a 19th century shipbuilding magnate at
Middlesborough on Teesside.

One Yorkshire family began with the marriage of
Joshua Dixon and Helen Dodson near Leeds around the year 1670. A later Dixon, Jeremiah Dixon, prospered as a
Leeds merchant and in 1764 was able to acquire Gledhow Hall
where he lived the life of a country squire.
Subsequent Dixons made their home at Astle Park in Cheshire. The Dixon
in Chelford was a local landmark there.

Ireland. Early Dixons, known as Dyceson, were said to
have come to Ireland in the early 1500’s.
Edward Dixon was born in Meath in 1516.
He and many of his descendants were buried in the Dixon tomb in
church in Meath.

John Dickson meanwhile arrived in county Down from Scotland around
1690. Later came:

  • Thomas
    Dickson, born
    in Bally Castle, Antrim in 1770
  • and
    his grandson Daniel Dixon, a prominent
    merchant and shipowner of Larne in county Antrim in the late 19th
    century. His descendants became Lord

or Dickson in Antrim and Derry could also be Irish in origin, an
version of the
O’Diochon sept.


Two early Dixon
Quaker arrivals were:

  • Ambrose
    Dixon from England who came first to Virginia and
    then moved to Maryland in 1662 to escape religious persecution. His home became the first Quaker meeting
    house in Maryland. He died in 1687 at
    his plantation Dixon’s Choice. His
    descendants today are numerous.
  • and
    Henry and Rose Dixon from Armagh in Ireland who
    came to New Castle county, Delaware sometime in the 1680’s. Henry, it was said, was an inn-keeper
    there. Their son William had preceded
    them to Maryland in 1676 and later returned in 1688.
    He was a weaver by trade. A
    descendant was Simon Dixon, the Quaker
    pioneer in Cane Creek, North Carolina.

in America could be Scots or Scots Irish.
Among the Scots Irish were:

Thomas Dickson from Scotland was an early
settler in the 1770’s in Ashe county, North Carolina.
John and Ann Dickson had arrived in Rowan county,
North Carolina from Pennsylvania in the 1750’s.
Their son Joseph fought in the Revolutionary War and later made
his home
in Tennessee.

Andrew and Rachel Dixon meanwhile were Scots Irish who came to
Pennsylvania in 1764. Their descendants
moved to Belmont county in Ohio in the late 1790’s.

Dicksons of Onslow, Nova Scotia were
apparently Scots Irish, although Charles Dickson had come to Nova
Scotia from
Connecticut in the 1760’s. He was a
merchant, shipbuilder, farmer, and later a political figure in Nova
Scotia. Later Dicksons headed west to
California. The family history was
recorded in Emily Dewey’s 1953 book Dickson,
Scotch Irish.

Charles Dixon and
his wife Susannah came to Nova Scotia from Yorkshire in 1772 and
settled in
Sackville, New Brunswick a year later.

was said that Charles Dixon was a
very prominent man in the early settlement there. He
owned herds of cattle and sheep. He was a
member of the legislature and
Justice of the Peace. He was a Methodist
and helped erect the first Methodist church in his locality.”

His son Charles moved
to Ohio, became a Mormon and, at the age of 89 and almost blind, set
off with
his family for Salt Lake in 1854. He did
not make it. At Rock Island in Illinois,
he fell from the steps of his hotel and died.

Other early arrivals were from
Scotland. Three Dickson brothers from
Dumfries – Robert, William and Thomas – arrived in the Niagara district
Upper Canada in the 1780’s. Robert went
off on his own to become a fur trader and Indian agent.
He later had an adventurous War of 1812. The
other brothers led more humdrum lives. Thomas
settled down as a customs collector in
Queenston. William became a member of
the local Legislative Council.

William Dixon and his family came to Canada from
Whitehaven in Cumbria in 1818, disembarking in Quebec. They
made their way from there by oxen and by
flat-bottomed boat to Peterborough, Ontario where, with the help of
colony settlers, they built their first log cabin.
A later Dixon of this family, John Dixon,
headed West in 1883 in more comfort – in a train. He
settled in Maple Creek, Saskatchewan and
became an influential civic leader there.

Africa. Ben Dixon departed Cape Colony
with other
Wesleyan missionaries for SW Africa (now Namibia) in 1844.
He prospered for a while as a cattle trader
but later returned to Cape Colony, settling in Namakwaland. His story was covered in Ledivia van Vuuren’s
book Die Dixons van Namakwaland. There
was in fact another Dixon – Peter Dixon
the son of an 1820 settler – who came to trade in SW Africa in the

Australia. James Dixon was an early
arrival, a Catholic
priest from Wexford who accidentally got caught up in the 1798 Uprising
and was
transported to Australia two years later.
He practiced as a priest ministering to Irish convicts for eight
before obtaining permission to return to Ireland.

Robert Dixon arrived in Australia from Durham in 1821 and found work as
surveyor and explorer of this new country.
His surveys took in the Burragorang valley and the Blue
Mountains in NSW
and later the Moreton Bay area near Brisbane.
However, his relations with local officialdom proved to be
and his last years in Australia were spent in search of gold.

Thomas Dixon
arrived in Western Australia in 1850 as Superintendent of
Convicts. He fled the colony nine years
later after having
been accused of embezzling public money.

Dixon Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for
further stories and accounts:

Select Dixon Names

Thomas Dicson, a contemporary of William Wallace in Scotland, is considered the first to have borne the Dickson/Dixon name.
Jeremiah Dixon
was a surveyor, the Dixon of the Mason-Dixon line established in 1768 as the demarcation line between North and South in America. He may even have been the origin of the term Dixie.

Baron Oscar Dickson
from a Scottish mercantile family was a leading Swedish industrial magnate of the mid 19th century and a patron of Arctic expeditions.
Cromwell Dixon was a teen dirigible pilot and the first person in 1911 to fly in an airplane across the US Continental
Divide. However, he died in an air crash
two days after this feat.
George Dixon
was the popular fictional policeman in the British TV series Dixon of Dock Green of the 1950’s.
Barbara Dickson
is a Scottish singer whose hits have included I Know Him So Well

Dixons Today

  • 62,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in Yorkshire)
  • 60,000 in America (most numerous in Florida)
  • 37,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada)




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