Samuelson Surname Genealogy
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
- 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.
Samuelson Resources on
- George Berthold Samuelson
Samuelson the film pioneer.
- Anders Severin Samuelson
Anders Samuelson in North Dakota.
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?“
If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for
further stories and accounts:
Ralph Samuelson is considered the
father of water-skiing, having developed the first prototype skis in
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 Samuelsons Today
- 4,000 in America (most numerous in California)
- 1,000 elsewhere (most numerous in UK)
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