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.”

Jackson Resources on

Jackson Ancestry

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.

The Eske
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

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
  • 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
  • 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

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.

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.

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
Jackson family.  And both had an American frontier upbringing of

  • Andrew Jackson’s father had come to South Carolina from Ireland
    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
    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

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.

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
.  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
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:

Jackson Names

Andrew Jackson was the
7th President of the United States.
Stonewall Jackson
was a Confederate General during the Civil
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
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)




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