Select Jackson Surname Genealogy

Jack is believed to have derived from Janken, a pet-form of Jan or John.   Jankin shortened to Jacken and thence to Jack, a process that was completed by the beginning of 14th century.  Jack also came to be used as a synonym for man or boy, a usage that has continued to the present day - "I'm all right, Jack" being a popular catch phrase in England in the 1960's. 

Jackson is the patronymic name, meaning "son of Jack."  

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England.  Adam Jackesonne and Adam Jakson appeared in the Staffordshire rolls of the 14th century.  But the name really developed as a surname further north in Yorkshire and Lancashire.

Yorkshire  The Eske hamlet in the East Ridings of Yorkshire was the ancestral home of a Jackson family which began with Richard Jackson in the early 1500's.  Later generations were first Royalist sympathizers and then Cromwell supporters who were granted land in Ireland. 

Descendants there were persecuted for their Quaker beliefs so Isaac Jackson removed his family in 1687 to the new Quaker settlement in Chester County, Pennsylvania.  Isaac was a collateral relation to US President Andrew Jackson and, in a subsequent generation, to the Confederate general Stonewall Jackson.

Other Jacksons from Yorkshire were:
  • the Jacksons from the early 1600's at Normanby Hall in Eston.  Robert Ward Jackson of this family was the man who built the town of West Hartlepool in the early 19th century.  
  • then there were the naval Jacksons from north Yorkshire.  The journals of Ralph Jackson gave a unique insight into life in Cleveland in the 18th century.
  • W.L. Jackson, who started off in the leather business in Leeds, rose to be a Cabinet minister in Lord Salisbury's government.  His son, Stanley Jackson, became the beau ideal of the Edwardian cricketer.  He captained England against Australia in the 1905 Test series and headed both the batting and bowling averages.
One recent Jackson has had a less orthodox pedigree.  Michael Jackson, a beer champion in his writings, was born in Wetherby, Yorkshire.  But his background was Jewish Lithuanian.  His immigrant father Isaac Jakowitz had anglicized his name to Jack Jackson.

Lancashire  Jackson is also a common name in Lancashire.  A Jackson family at Worsthorne near Burnley dates from the mid 1500's.  They had 19th century descendants who emigrated to America. Other early Jacksons came from Gorsey Bow near Wigan.  Three Quaker Jackson brothers arrived in the Calder valley in the 1830's and built the Calder Vale cotton mill there.  Their Quaker Meeting House at Garstang still stands. 
Ireland.  The Jackson name in Ireland was an English implant.  One story relates to Jacksons from Northamptonshire during Elizabeth's reign who had been granted land in county Carlow.  Four Jacksons were said to have received land settlements on the heels of Cromwell's victories in 1642:
  • Abraham Jackson, a cleric who had invested 300.
  • Alexander Jackson, a goldsmith from London who put up 100.
  • Joseph Jackson, who put up 100.
  • and Thomas Jackson, a pewterer from London who also put up 100.
These Jacksons were Protestant and, in some later cases, Quaker.  US President Jackson's parents left Carrickfergus for America in 1765.  Later Jacksons were emigrants to Canada and Australia, as well as crossing the Irish Sea to England.      

  An early immigrant to America was Robert Jackson who had arrived in Massachusetts with his father in 1630 from Yarmouth in Norfolk.

"Tradition has it that Robert Jackson came to Watertown, Mass to Wethersfield and thence to Hartford, Connecticut, and finally to Hempstead which was perhaps the first English settlement in the western part of Long Island."

His descendants have spread to all corners of the United States.

Other early Jacksons were to be found in Newton, Massachusetts.  Their original house there was built about 1670.  According to Francis Jackson's History of Newton in 1854, this house "stood on the same spot now occupied by the mansion of William Jackson, a cold water man who has continued to draw from the old well which has served seven generations."  The forebears of these Jacksons were two brothers, John and Edward, who had arrived from London in 1639 and 1642.

The seventh American President Andrew Jackson and the Confederate General Stonewall Jackson can both trace their lineage back to a Yorkshire Jackson family.  And both had an American frontier upbringing of their time.
  • Andrew Jackson's father had come to South Carolina from Ireland in 1765.  Jackson's formative years came during the Revolutionary War when he was captured by the British and lost his family.  Later, he began to practice law and soon was prospering in the rough-and-tumble world of frontier law.  Jackson was US President from 1829 to 1837.
  • Stonewall Jackson was descended from John Jackson, the son of a wealthy London merchant, and Elizabeth Cummins.  They had immigrated from England in 1749 and originally settled in Maryland.  Shortly after the birth of their first child, the Jackson brigade crossed the Alleghany mountains to become pioneer settlers in what is now NW West Virginia.  Elizabeth died in Clarksburg, West Virginia in 1825. having lived onto the ripe old age of ninety six.
Heading West  Trapper Davy Jackson from West Virginia was one of the first Americans to head into the West.  Jackson Hole, his area for fur trapping in Wyoming, was named after him.  Two relatives John B. and Ulysses Jackson, sons of Henry Jackson, followed his overland trail in the 1840's to settle in what was then Oregon country.  In 1871, William Henry Jackson took the first photographs of Yellowstone which encouraged the Government to create a national park there (even before Wyoming had been brought in as a state).    

Jacksons in the South  James Jackson, who had arrived in Savannah from England in the 1770's, became a force in local Georgia politics and created something of a family political dynasty in the state.  Meanwhile other Jacksons were moving south in the early 19th century, many of them to start up plantations. 

President Jackson's own plantation was the Hermitage, near Nashville in Tennessee.  Other Jackson planters were:
  • James and Temperance Jackson who started their Jackson plantation in Autauga county, Alabama in 1818
  • there was another Jackson family which operated a smaller plantation in Georgia near Augusta.
in 1840 Virginia planter Abner Jackson brought his family and slaves to Brazona county in Texas where he started his sugar plantation at what is now called Lake Jackson.  Following Abner's death in 1861, his two sons took over the running of the plantation.  However, the two sons fought.  George ended up decapitating John and throwing his head into the lake   As the plantation declined after the Civil War, the area became a black community. 
African Americans  There are African American Jackson accounts of the slave era in Virginia, the handed-down letters of Lethe Jackson in Abingdon and George Jackson's slave narrative from Loudon County. 

John Andrew Jackson, born a slave in South Carolina, fled north to Boston in 1846.  The book he later wrote, The Experience of a Slave in South Carolina, recounted the suffering of his slave life.  Another Jackson story is equally uplifting. Louise Jackson, born to a slave family in Mississippi, made it to college in Berkeley, California and became the first certified African American teacher of that state in the 1920's. 

Jackson has become a prominent African American name.  Indeed latest census data estimates show that there are more black than white Jacksons in America today.  Leading Jacksons of today include: Jesse Jackson, the civil rights leader; Frank Jackson, the mayor of Cleveland; Samuel L. Jackson, the actor; and Michael Jackson, the singer. 

Caribbean.  John Jackson was an early settler in Barbados in the 1650's.  Another John Jackson came to Jamaica in the 1770's.  He married Elizabeth Witter and their descendants were prominent in the life of the colony during the 19th century.  Some of these Witter Jacksons had mixed race partners.
Canada.  John Jackson was first chaplain to the English garrison in Newfoundland in 1697.  The next Jackson arrivals into Canada were Empire Loyalists, such as James Jackson the Methodist minister.  He had crossed the border into Upper Canada with his father following the War of 1812.

A number of Jacksons came to Canada from Ireland:
  • three Jackson brothers, James, Launcelot, and Thomas, had set off from the Wexford region and settled in Lanark, Ontario (their father John had been killed in the Irish uprising twenty years earlier).  
  • other Jacksons, from Monaghan and Kilkenny counties, arrived in the 1840's.  A descendant, Samuel Jackson, set off to homestead in what was then the NW Territories in the 1870's.     
Select Jackson Miscellany

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

Select Jackson Names

Andrew Jackson was the 7th President of the United States.
Stonewall Jackson
was a Confederate General during the Civil War.
Hughlings Jackson
from Whixley in Yorkshire was a Victorian physician often called the father of English neurology.
Peter Jackson
, born of a slave family in the West Indies, became a champion heavyweight boxer in the 1880's, known and admired for his sportsmanship.
Jesse Jackson, born in South Carolina, joined Martin Luther King in the civil rights movement in 1965 and has remained a prominent black leader and politician.
Glenda Jackson was an acclaimed British actress who later became an MP.
Michael Jackson of the Jackson Five burst into the national spotlight with his crossover album Thriller in the ealy 1980's. 

Select Jacksons Today
  • 174,000 in the UK (most numerous in London)
  • 220,000 in America (most numerous in Texas)
  • 80,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada)

PS.  You might want to check out the surnames page on this website.  It covers surname genealogy in this and companion websites for more than 800 surnames.

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