Dyson Surname Meaning, History & Origin

Select Dyson Meaning

The Dyson surname seems to have been female in origin, a pet form of the
Greek personal name Dionysia
found in medieval times. It is one of those surnames where DNA
analysis suggests a single person origin of the name. After 23
Dyson volunteers were tested, it was found that 90% of them had the
same or closely related Y chromosomes.

Dyson Resources on

Dyson Ancestry

The Dyson name is believed to have started with John Dyson of Linthwaite, a man
on record in the court rolls of Wakefield manor in west Yorkshire from
1316. He in turn was the son of Dyonisia of Linthwaite, also
known as Dye of Linthwaite, a lady who was hauled before the manor
courts for stealing cattle in the late 13th century.

Linthwaite itself is a village some four miles west of Huddersfield in
the Colne valley. In the 1881 census the Dysons in
totalled 9,712. Of that number:

  • 80% were living in Yorkshire and the adjacent
    parts of Lancashire
  • and 25% still had their homes in Linthwaite and
    surrounding districts.

Betty Dyson married into the Mallinson family of Linthwaite in 1837 and
their son, Sir Dyson Mallinson, became a prominent millowner in
Huddersfield. More recently, Leslie Dyson played euphonium and
trombone with the Linthwaite brass band from the 1940’s to
1970’s. James Dyson runs a dyeworks in Linthwaite today.

Where the surname had extended outside the Huddersfield area was mainly
to nearby conurbations such as Halifax in Yorkshire and Rochdale across
Pennines in Lancashire:

  • Eli Dyson
    ran paper mills in
    Halifax in the mid 1700’s
  • Sir George Dyson, the musician and composer,
    was born in Halifax in 1883
  • and Sir
    Frank Dyson
    , the Astronomer
    grew up there
  • while James Dyson and his brother William from Oldham
    were 19th century tea
    dealers in Rochdale.

One Dyson line was to be found in Worcestershire, not Yorkshire.
Dysons in the county date back to Henry Dyson who married Elizabeth
Dethicke around 1506 and died at Inkberrow in 1548. The first of
a family line was John Dyson, born in 1726 at Stock and
Bradley in Worcestershire.

America. The Dysons in
America may have come from Thomas Dison, transported from England in
1652 to Norfolk, Virginia. The more likely progenitor is William
Dyson, thought to be from Worcestershire, who arrived in Maryland in
1679. Thomas Dyson was a tobacco planter in Charles county in
southern Maryland in the early 1700’s. Some descendants moved
south to Mississippi and Louisiana in the 1790’s. But Maryland is
still the state where most Dysons in America are to be found.

Australia. George Dyson
came out to Victoria in 1852 to
prospect in the Ballarat goldfields. He found little gold.
However, he and his wife Jane did produce three talented sons – Ted a
poet, Ambrose an artist, and Will a political cartoonist. Ross
McMullin’s 2006 biography of Will Dyson was entitled Australia’s Radical Genius.

In 1923 a young Laurie Dyson
left his home In Leeds for Australia to work as
a farm laborer in rural Vctoria. His employer passed away
in 1952 and he was able to buy his bus business. That business
consisted of four clapped out buses. But Dysons as a company was
underway. Nicholas Martin’s 2002 book Dysons – Moving with the Times
narrated the company story.


Dyson Miscellany

Dysons in Linthwaite and Its Environs.  The first Dyson of Linthwaite appears to have been Dyonisia, the wife
of Peter Mallesheved (moles head). She had two children, John Dyson and
Agnes Dyedaughter.  John joined his mother in cattle raids that
were recorded in Wakefield court rolls.

Later poll tax records of 1379 showed the names of Johannes Dison and
Dionisia (wife of Thomas Dison). There was a John Dyson recorded there
in 1492 and Edward Dyson in 1545.  These Dysons were said to have
been resident at the Old House, called The Kitchen, attached to
Linthwaite Hall but nearer to Slaithwaite, which apparently remained in
Dyson hands through the 19th century.

The Dyson name had spread by the 1400’s beyond Linthwaite to
Huddersfield and Sowerby.  Dysons lived at Swift Place in Sowerby
from the early 1500’s.  The first in this line appears to have
a Christopher Dyson.  George Dyson was churchwarden at Christ
church in Sowerby Bridge in the late 1700’s.

Eli Dyson’s Misadventures in Halifax.  Eli Dyson of Willow Hall operated paper mills in Halifax.
However, in 1766 he had become insolvent and was forced to assign over
his mills and all his other properties to his chief creditor John
Edwards.  Edwards had Eli imprisoned in York castle for
debt.   Eli’s son Daniel temporarily saved the situation by
eloping with Edwards’ only daughter Sarah and marrying her in Scotland.

Eli’s younger brother Jeremiah was a merchant who lived and died in
Portugal.  There is a possible line through James Dyson of this
family to the George Dyson who departed London for Australia in 1852
to prospect in the Victorian goldfields.

Dysons in the 1881 Census.  The following were the leading towns and villages with Dysons in the 1881 census.

Location County Numbers
Huddersfield Yorkshire    386
Linthwaite Yorkshire    287
Lindley cum Quarmby Yorkshire    217
Oldham Lancashire 205
Lockwood Yorkshire    179
Golcar Yorkshire    171
Leeds Yorkshire    168

Sir Frank Dyson, Astronomer Royal.  Frank’s father, the
Rev. Watson Dyson, had been born in Stalybridge on the outskirts of
Manchester in 1837 and became a Baptist minister.  Frank himself
was born in Leicestershire but considered himself a Yorkshireman as he
grew up in Halifax where they lived on Lewis Street.  His father
was organist and choirmaster at the North Parade Baptist church.

At Halifax Frank won
a scholarship to Bradford Grammar School and later he studied
mathematics at Cambridge University.  In 1924, as Astronomer Royal
at Greenwich and with the help of the BBC, he introduced the Greenwich
“six pips” time signal.  He had a crater on the moon named after
him, and also an asteroid.  He was one of the first to take on
board and accept the principles of Einstein’s General Theory of

He died on a sea trip
to Australia in 1938, four years after retiring from Greenwich, and was
buried at sea. 

George and Jane Dyson in Australia.  George Dyson had come to Australia at the age of fifteen in 1852 to
prospect in the Victorian goldfields.  Like many others of his
time, he worked unsuccessfully at various diggings and moved around a
lot.  In 1862 he met and married Jane Mayall in Geelong.  She
was the daughter of a successful cotton millowner in Lancashire and had
been used to a life of refinement.  However, her father
Ambrose, who had brought his family to Australia, did not take well to
the roughness of the country and committed suicide. .

George became a dry goods hawker and they eventually settled
in Melbourne.  George and Jane had eleven children, of whom eight
survived to adulthood.  Although the children received little
formal education, Jane fostered their literary and artistic
talents.  Three of their offspring became famous.- Ted a poet,
Ambrose an artist, and Will a political cartoonist.



Dyson Names

  • John Dyson of Linthwaite in the West Ridings of Yorkshire is
    believed to be the 14th century progenitor of those bearing the Dyson name.
  • Sir Frank Dyson was
    Astronomer Royal and director of the Royal Greenwich Observatory from 1910 to 1933.
  • James Dyson was the British inventor
    of the Dual Cyclone bagless vacuum cleaner.

Select Dyson Numbers Today

  • 13,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in Yorkshire)
  • 3,000 in America (most numerous in Maryland)
  • 6,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia)




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