Jamison: Earliest records of surname

The Scottish Jamieson family history stretches back to clans from the Gaelic Kingdom of Diarata (ca 500—750 BC) that stretched over the Hebrides islands and mountainous western coast of Scotland.1,2 A family named Jamieson was first found on the Isle of Bute, where they had a family seat and held the Office of Crowner of Bute from the beginning of the fourteenth century. A family seat was the main residence of a noble or aristocratic family who owned land, and indicated their social, economic, political, or historic significance within a specific area. More name-bearers of the Jamieson surname and its variations are found in historic documents. Alexander Jemison had a safe conduct to trade with England in 1445, William Jamyson was tenant of Pollock in 1472 and and in the same year John Jamesone was repledged to liberty of the burgh of Irvine. David Jameson was dompnus of Newbattle Abbey in 1528 and in 1539 John Jamezing was respited for his share in the slaughter of John, erle of Cathnes. In 1550 William Jamesoune in Aberdeen was paid ‘to mend the keyheid.’ 3

In England, the first recorded spelling of the family name is that of William Jamesson in 1379 in the Poll Tax Records of Yorkshire, England. This was during the reign of King Richard II who reigned from 1377 to 1399. John Jameson appeared in the Register of the Freemen of the City of York in 1440 and in 1642, Richard Jamieson was listed in The Rolls of Burgesses at the Guilds Merchant of the Borough of Preston.4-6

Settlers migrated mainly to Ireland, North America and Canada.Although our branch of Jamisons had a long-standing association with South Africa since as early as the 1860s, it was only in 1971 that Anthony Alan Jamison and his family formally immigrated to South Africa and stayed on permanently. No authentic coat-of-arms exist for our Jamison family line.

And … to answer a frequently asked question: There is no relation between our branch of Jamisons and the well-known John Jameson of Bow Street Distillers (established in 1780) in Dublin, Ireland, which is famous for its award-winning Jameson Irish Whiskey. The distillery was purchased in 1988 by the Pernod Ricard Company in France.7,8 It’s a shame that we are unrelated, though, as we now have less-than-zero chance of being heirs to a boundless fortune!


  1. Jamison history. https://www.houseofnames.com/Jamison-history
  2. Jamieson meaning. http://forebears.io/surnames/jamieson#meaning
  3. Black, G.F. 1946 The surnames of Scotland. Their origin, meaning and history. 1st Ed. Churchill & Dunn Ltd. : UK
  4. Jamison. http://www.surnamedb.com/Surname/Jamison
  5. Richard II of England. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_II_of_England
  6. Reaney, P.H. (& Wilson, R.M.) 1961. A dictionary of British surnames. 2nd Ed. Routledge and Kegan Paul: London
  7. Jameson. https://www.jamesonwhiskey.com/za/
  8. Jameson Irish whiskey. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jameson_Irish_Whiskey