Samuelson Surname Meaning, History & Origin
Select Samuelson Meaning
Samuelson is patronymic (son of Samuel) and derived from the Hebrew name Shmuel, meaning “name of God.” Samuel was the last of the ruling judges in the Old Testament. He anointed both Saul and David as kings of Israel.
The Samuelson name found its way into the English-speaking world via two routes:
- from Scandinavian arrivals. The spelling was Samuelsson in Sweden and Samuelsen in Denmark and Norway.
- and from Jewish arrivals. Here Samuelson would have been the equivalent of Ben Shmuel and later Samuelsohn.
Select Samuelson Resources on The Internet
- George Berthold Samuelson
Samuelson the film pioneer.
- Anders Severin Samuelson
Anders Samuelson in North Dakota.
Select Samuelson Ancestry
Scotland. The Shetland islands to the north of Scotland
had remained under Viking control until 1472 when they were finally
the Scottish Crown. Norse heritage and
names remained there. The Norse
name of Samuelson was to be found in
Shetlands in the 18th and 19th centuries, particularly in the
island of Unst.
England. The Samuelsons in
England were few in number (less than 90 in the 1881 census) and were
origin. There were two notable lines
here, one from affluent German Jews and the other from Polish
The first Samuelsons were originally Samuels
from Hamburg. Hyman Samuel, born in
London, became prosperous as a silversmith and watchmaker in Baltimore. He died in Jamaica in 1813.
His son Samuel Samuelson, brought to Hull at
an early age, was the forebear of the English Samuelsons:
- his son Sir
Bernhard Samuelson made his name as an industrialist in
Oxfordshire. He served as its MP from 1858 to 1895 and was made a
- while two of Bernhard’s sons, Henry and
Godfrey, were also Liberal MP’s.
Samuelson had changed his name from Metzenberg to Samuelson in 1846
his arrival in Dublin from Leszno in Poland.
He became a successful tailor in Dublin and moved to London and
off Saville Row in 1871.
Henschel, who also changed his name, made his home in Southport,
a tobacconist. He died soon after the
birth of his son G.B. Samuelson (known as Bertie) in 1889.
Despite this unpromising beginning, Bertie
emerged as one of the pioneers of British cinema in the silent film era:
- one of his sons
appointed the first British Film Commissioner in 1991; while another
won an Oscar for his contributions to camera and lighting.
- and Sidney’s son Peter has been a successful film
producer in both the UK and US.
America. Samuelsons here have been
a mix of
Scandinavian and Jewish origin.
Scandinavian. These immigrants came in
the mid/late 1800’s,
generally to states in the upper Midwest.
Among the arrivals were:
Samuelson who came from Norway in 1854 and farmed in Wisconsin.
- Swan Peter Samuelson who came from Sweden in the late
1860’s and farmed
in Henry county, Illinois. His grandson
Don Samuelson, born at his farmstead at Woodhull, became Governor of
- Alexander Samuelson, a glass engineer, who
emigrated from Sweden to Indiana in 1883. There
designed the Coca-Cola contour
bottle which was introduced in 1916 and
Samuelson and two of his siblings who came from Norway to
the year 1890. Anders later departed to
homestead in North Dakota.
- and Charles Samuelson who left Sweden for Wabash county,
Minnesota in the early 1900’s. His son Ralph is credited with
having invented the sport of water-skiing.
Jewish. The Samuelson Jewish incomers were less
focused on the Midwest:
- Max Samuelson,
for instance, came to Vermont from Poland in the early 1880’s. Starting from nothing, he helped develop the
Jewish community in Burlington.
- while Yehuda Ben Schmuel arrived in New York
from Russia in the early 1900’s and became Julius Samuelson in America
after leaving Ellis Island. He and his
family settled in Chicago and his
descendants in Louisiana and Texas. They
have held Samuelson family
Frank and Ella Samuelson were Jewish immigrants from
Poland who had
come to Gary, Indiana in 1908. Their son
Paul Samuelson, born there in 1915, became the famous economist. He spent his career at MIT where he was instrumental
in turning its Department of Economics into a world-renowned
Samuelson’s family included many well-known economists, including
Robert Summers, sister-in-law Anita Summers, brother-in-law Kenneth
Arrow and nephew Larry Summers.
Curiously his brothers Robert and Harold had both elected when
change their names from Samuelson to Summers.
Canada. Lesser Samuelsohn
had immigrated to Rochester, New York from Poland in the early 1900’s. He was a master tailor who in 1923 moved to
Montreal where he established an international reputation.
His tailoring business was handed down to his
grandsons Michael and Richard.
South Africa. Ben Schmuelson left
Lithuania for South Africa
in the early 1900’s. He settled in
A neighbor asked him in 1925:
Would it not be easier for you if you had
had one less?” He smiled and replied: “And
should I not have had?“
Samuelsons in the Shetlands
|Name||Date of Birth||Shetland Location|
|Charles Samuelson||1759||Delting on the mainland|
|Samuel Samuelson||1760||the northernmost island of Unst|
|Gilbert Samuelson||1781||Northmavine on the mainland|
|John Samuelson||1782||the northernmost island of Unst|
|Archibald Samuelson||1791||the northernmost island of Unst|
|James Samuelson||1818||Northmavine on the mainland|
|Samuel Samuelson||1819||the northernmost island of Unst|
Sir Bernhard Samuelson’s Industrial Works in Banbury. It was the Banbury Guardian in Oxfordshire in its obituary notice in 1905 that named Sir
Bernhard Samuelson as “its modern founder who gave the town its industrial
character and modern growth.”
In 1848 Samuelson bought a small agricultural
engineering company in Fish Street, Banbury following the death of its
James Gardner. With Samuelson at the
helm, the Britannia Works, as the business became known, expanded
soon established an international reputation for the range and quality
agricultural tools and machinery.
The Britannia Works in fact represented a
revolution in machinery production which hitherto had been content to
machinery on a small scale for local use.
Samuelson introduced mass production and exported around the
world. He was known as “the iron
Banbury. He was also an unusually
generous and caring employer, with his employees enjoying higher wages
better working conditions than elsewhere in the county.
contribution to Banbury was as a Liberal MP for nearly thirty years,
representing the constituency from 1858 to 1895.
Anders Samuelson Surviving in North Dakota. Anders Samuelson was one of four siblings – Herman.
Andreas, Anders and Sara – who left their home on Flekkefjord in Norway
crossed the Atlantic in the late 1800’s.
Herman, a sea captain, died in 1897 in
South America; while the other three made it to Milwaukee, Wisconsin
the year 1890. Andreas was captain and
Anders first mate on a sailing ship on Lake Michigan. Anders
secured a watchman’s job during some of the winter months when Lake
was frozen and they could not sail.
In 1905 Anders left with his family
to homestead in North Dakota. Their
first home and barns were built of
sod and Andres farmed with oxen during the early years. However,
droughts burned up their crops and they got little return for their
toil. Each year brought new courage. But things just got worse.
Still, they stuck it out until 1931.
Their four children all went to local
grade school. Anna the eldest taught
school in the area. Sam, a doctor who
had his own hospital in Minneapolis, was killed with his two sons when
plane crashed on a trip to Canada. The
daughter Hedvig, also a teacher, was murdered in Arizona.
The youngest Arnold got a degree in
journalism and spent a year with Ernest Hemingway in Key West, Florida.
Max Samuelson Doing Well in Vermont. Max Samuelson had come to America by himself from
Poland at the tender age of fifteen in the early 1880’s. First
he went to an uncle in Massachusetts where he worked putting cockroach
in envelopes. Soon afterwards he left for Vermont where he
peddled in the northern
part of the state. He was living in
Burlington, Vermont by 1885 and by the early 1890’s had opened a
there. He started to prosper.
He was a founder of the Ohavi Zedek
in Burlington and helped to develop the Jewish community there. He became Vermont’s first elected Jewish
official in 1902. He died in 1928.
The Samuelson Reunions. In the early 1900’s a young Jewish couple emigrated from Russia, arriving in New York with their infant daughter Rebecca. The man was known as Yehuda Ben Schmuel (Yehuda son of Samuel) with a family name of Glassivitsky.
The immigration agent
at Ellis Island where they were being processed suggested that he
name to Julius Samuelson. He did so. In search of green pastures Julius and
Deborah Samuelson headed west, living for a time in Pennsylvania and
and then settling in Chicago.
Julius’s relatives, Morris and Julius
Glassivitsky, had come to America earlier in the 1880’s and they
close touch with their new Samuelson cousins.
The Glassivitskys remained in New York
while many of the Samuelsons moved south to Louisiana.
Hymie Samuelson – a
native of Donaldsonville, Louisiana – had served in World War Two and
settled in Austin, Texas where he was a haberdasher and pillar of the
The first reunion of the Samuelson and Glassivitsky families
occurred in New Orleans in 1985 and it has been repeated in four-year
since that time.
- Ralph Samuelson is considered the
father of water-skiing, having developed the first prototype skis in 1922.
- Paul Samuelson, awarded the Nobel Prize for
Economics in 1970, has been called the father of modern economics.
- Sir Sidney Samuelson was appointed the first British Film
Commissioner in 1991.
Select Samuelson Numbers Today
- 4,000 in America (most numerous in California)
- 1,000 elsewhere (most numerous in UK)
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