Madison Surname Genealogy

Madison, commonly spelled Maddison in NE England, is
a variant of the Mathieson surname that is found in NE Scotland
and means
“son of Matthew.” The name may also in
some cases have stood for “son of Maddy” where Maddy is a pet form
of Maud.
Maddison and Madison are the two main surname
spellings today, Maddison in the UK and Madison in America. Madison also became popular in America as a
first name

Madison Resources on

Madison Ancestry

England. Maddison is a Durham name. Durham
accounted for almost half of the UK Maddisons in the 1881 census.

Durham. The Madysones at Ellergill
in Weardale dated from around 1300.
William Madyson held Unthank Hall near Stanhope through marriage
in the 1400’s. Later Maddisons were to
be found at Newcastle and Saltwellside:

  • Lionel Maddison was
    mayor of
    Newcastle three times between 1593 and 1617.
  • while Ralph Maddison, known as Mad
    , inherited Saltwellside manor in 1640.

Subsequently the
Maddison family – based at Hole House on the river Derwent – was a
family in the area. George Maddison and
his brother John both held prominent diplomatic positions with the
government in the late 18th century.

There were Maddisons elsewhere. Thomas and
Ruth Maddison were married at
Whickham near Gateshead in 1722. They
ended up at the coal mining town of Tanfield in the north of the county. James Maddison and his son George were
working at the colliery there at the time of the 1851 census.

During the 19th
century coal mining had become a major industry in Durham.
It was in fact the leading work occupation
for Maddisons in the 1881 census.
George Maddison died at the Lumley colliery of knee injuries
that year.

Lincolnshire. There was a Maddison
outpost, descended from
the Unthank Maddisons, further south in Lincolnshire.
Sir Edward Maddison, a merchant at Hull and
Calais, was a supporter of Henry VIII and he established his family at
Caistor. His son Ralph built
Grimblethorpe Hall in the Lincolnshire Wolds in the early 1600’s and
Maddison family was to remain there until the 1940’s.

America. The spelling in America has
been Madison,
not Maddison, and that dates from an early time.

Virginia. Isaac and John Madison were
part of the early
history of Virginia. Whether they were
father and son is unclear:

  • Captain Isaac Madison
    came out to Virginia
    from London as early as 1608. He gained
    a reputation as an Indian fighter. He
    lived through the Indian massacre in 1622, but died two years later. His wife Mary, who came to Jamestown on the Treasurer
    in 1616, survived him.
  • while John Madison from Gloucestershire, a ship’s
    carpenter by trade, was first recorded in Virginia in 1653 for taking
    out a
    patent for
    lands lying between the
    York and North rivers.

The Madison pedigree thereafter is fairly clear. From John’s son John
Madison Jr sprung two branches of the Madison family in Virginia:

  • the eastern branch, those who settled
    in the Piedmont on the eastern side of the Blue Ridge Mountains,
    the tobacco planter Ambrose Madison. Ambrose
    died a young man in 1732, suspected of having been
    poisoned by
    one or more of his slaves.
  • his grandson
    James Madison, who grew up in the family plantation, was to serve as
    the fourth
    President of the United States from 1809 to 1817. James
    and his wife Dolley did not have
    children and in
    his will
    his estate was left to his nephews and
  • the main line from James’s younger brother Francis ran to
    his son Conway who headed west, first to Kentucky and then to Illinois. Conway’s children inherited most in the
    President’s will.
  • the western branch of the family via John Madison,
    first clerk of Augusta county, gave rise to the
    Rev. James Madison
    , the
    first Protestant Episcopal Bishop of Virginia, and to John and Agatha
    who emigrated to Kentucky in the 1780’s. Their
    son George was elected Governor of Kentucky in 1816
    but died the
    same year.
  • also on this side of the family was James’s younger
    brother John
    Frederick, a Loyalist in the Revolutionary War who departed for Nova
    where he was given a land grant. His son
    Peyton, however, returned to Greene county, Alabama in 1815 and John
    him later.

Elsewhere. William
Sarah Madison from Lincolnshire were later arrivals to America, coming
Wisconsin in 1848 and then homesteading in Nobles county, Minnesota. Their son William grew up in Worthington
there. He was the proprietor of the
Worthington meat market and later the town’s mayor

Madison Miscellany

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

Madison Names

Lionel Maddison
was Mayor of Newcastle three times between 1593 and 1617.
Rev. James Madison was
in 1778 the President of William and Mary College and also the first
Episcopal Bishop of Virginia.
James Madison
was one of America’s Founding
Fathers and served as the fourth President of the United States from
1809 to

Select Madisons/Maddisons Today

  • 7,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in Durham)
  • 11,000 in America (most numerous in California)
  • 2,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia)





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