Wilkinson Surname Genealogy
name plus the diminutive “kin” has been a common surname
formation in England, in the patronymic “s” suffix form in the south of
and “son” in the north. Examples are
Wilkinson, Watkinson, Atkinson. Dickinson, Hopkinson and Hodgkinson.
Of these, Wilkinson – coming from William –
has been the most common. It is a name
of the north of England.
Wilkinson Resources on
name Thomas Wilkynson appeared in the Cumberland rolls of 1332 and
Adam Wylkynson in the Yorkshire rolls of 1379.
Many of the early traceable Wilkinsons, however, have been in Durham and Northumberland.
at Harperly Hall on the banks of the river Wear in Durham date from
about 1500. Family tradition has it that
they were originally Wilkersons and were Danish.
Lawrence Wilkinson, a Royalist captain at the
time of the Civil War, was forced into exile in America.
But other Wilkinsons remained. William
Wilkinson coined money in the 1650’s
because of the shortage of coins for trade at that time.
Later Wilkinsons were to be found in Durham
and London. In 1847, when the Wear
Valley railway opened, a private station was built at Harperly Hall
George Hutton Wilkinson, the chairman of the line, lived.
Harperly Hall today has passed out of family
hands and is a police training establishment.
Wilkinson families were to be bound in Durham in the 17th century at
Mary, Nether Buston, Norton, and Washington.
The last-named was the birthplace of Isaac Wilkinson, the first
Wilkinson ironmasters. His son John
“Iron Mad” Wilkinson made a lot of money which was then
dissipated after his death.
much of John Wilkinson’s wealth can be
ascribed to his ingenuity and enterprise, his legacy was undermined by
liaison that produced a crop of illegitimate children.
His will was challenged and a long legal
battle ensued, which consumed all of the Wilkinson fortune and led both
and their challengers into bankruptcy.”
Larger numbers of Wilkinsons were and are to be found in
Wilkinsons were recorded at Crowder House in Ecclesfield from
1402 until its sale in 1859. Roger
Wilkinson was a
tanner living in Barnsley in the late 1400’s.
The Wilkinsons of Bolton upon Dearne near Rotherham were granted
of Arms in 1563 and there appears to have been a link between this
later Wilkinson families at Pontefract, Manningham, and Blackwell in
Joshua Wilkinson, the son of a Leeds clothier, moved to London in the
1750’s and did well at Moorfields as a furniture dealer, cabinet maker
and house broker. The business was handed down to his sons and
grandsons over the next hundred years. The actor Tom Wilkinson
was born in Leeds in 1948 from a long line of urban farmers there.
America. Early Wilkinsons in
America were to be found in New England and Maryland.
was captured by Parliament forces in Newcastle in 1644 and had his
confiscated. He was offered the
opportunity to depart for America and came to Rhode Island with his
Rhode Island line included the Quakers Jeremiah Wilkinson, an inventor
the first to make cut nails, and the prophetess and “Universal Friend” Jemima Wilkinson. The family history was recounted in the Rev.
Israel Wilkinson’s 1869 book Memories of
the Wilkinson Family in America. Later
descendants have included Henry Wilkinson, the architect of Harperly Hall in New York,
Wilkinson, the mother of the actress Meryl Streep.
distant relation, Lewis Wilkinson (the descendant of a union between William Wilkinson and a servant girl),
came to New Milford, Connecticut in 1721. A line of this
family later moved west to Ohio and Indiana. Meanwhile
Christopher Wilkinson from Durham came to South Carolina around
1710. His son Edward Wilkinson, sometimes Wilkerson, was an
agent with the local Cherokee Indians.
Joseph Wilkinson was a London merchant who came to Maryland in the
early 1700’s. He acquired Stoakley Manor in Calvert county and
a tobacco farmer. By the time his grandson
James was born in 1757, however, the family was very much in debt.
General James Wilkinson rose to prominence during
the Revolutionary War, but had a murky reputation afterward. He was called the “Spanish pensioner” as it was
believed that he was an agent of the Spanish government. Yet
he had the support of President Jefferson because
of his strong anti-federalist stance. He was appointed the first
Governor of Louisiana
territory in 1805. His story was narrated in Andro Linklater’s
2009 book An Artist in Treason.
James’s niece Jane Long nee
Wilkinson moved to Texas with her husband in the early 1820’s and owned
there boarding houses
and a plantation. She became known as
the “mother of Texas.”
Wilkinson is an important name in the Australian wine industry.
The Rev. Frederick Wilkinson, an early Methodist missionary from
Martindale in Westmoreland, began growing vines on his
Hunter valley property in 1825, one of the first to do so.
A more serious wine venture began in 1866 when two Wilkinson brothers
– Frederick and John from a well-to-do family in Surrey – bought land
at Pokolbin in the Hunter valley and started planting vines there.
Frederick’s son Audrey, who took over the vineyard in 1892 at the
tender age of fifteen, gave the Wilkinson name its international
reputation. Audrey ran the vineyard until his death in 1962.
Wilkinson Homestead in Gosnells near Perth was built in 1912 and named
after John Wilkinson, a tailor from Ballarat who moved west and tended
a large citrus orchard there. The homestead remained in Wilkinson
family hands until 1963.
If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for
further stories and accounts:
John Wilkinson was an English industrialist who pioneered the use
and manufacture of cast iron in the Industrial Revolution.
Company into sword production in the early 1800’s.
George Wilkinson won three Olympic gold medals, in 1900,
1912, and is considered the world’s first great water polo player.
Jonny Wilkinson was an English rugby
player and the man who, with the last kick of the game, won the 2003
Select Wilkinsons Today
- 64,000 in the UK (most numerous
- 22,000 in America (most numerous in Texas)
- 21,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia)
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