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Coat of Arms

The story has been handed down as one concerning the "Macdonalds of Glencoe", and indeed the victims were of Clan Macdonald, but as descendants of Iain Fraoch, bastard son of Angus Og and brother of John Macdonald, Lord of the Isles, they bore the name MacIain. Their immediate Chief at the time of the massacre was designated "Mac Ian of Glenco" in the warrant King William signed. (Known variations.....

Heraldry Database: Stevenson


Surname:  Stevenson
Branch:  Stevenson
Origins:  Irish
More Info:  Ireland

Background:  Stevenson comes from the ancient Dalriadan clans of Scotland's west coast and Hebrides Islands. The name comes from Steven, and means 'son of Steven', a variant of Stephen, which meant crown or garland. It was popular throughout Christian Europe during the Middle Ages, mostly due to St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr. The name was Gaelicized as Mac Stiofain. Some of the Stevenson family moved to Ireland.

Motto:  Fidus in arcanis, Faithful in secret affairs.
Arms:  Az. a fleurs-de-lis within two mullets or, in fess betw. two roses in chief ar. barbed and seeded of the second, and three arrows in base gold, flighted of the third.

View the Heraldry Dictionary for help.

This is a Scottish/English/German patronymic or baptismal surname meaning “the son of Stephen”, an ancient personal (first) name derived from the Greek masculine given name Stephanos, meaning “wreath, crown, honour, reward” or “that which surrounds”, a name popularized throughout Christendom and the Holy Roman Empire in Europe by St. Stephen (died 36), an early Catholic Saint and martyr from Jerusalem in the Near East during the time of the Roman Empire, as well as by several European kings in England, Poland, Hungary, and Serbia. One such ruler was Stephen of Blois, France (reigned from 1135 to 1154 AD), King of England, and grandson of William the Conqueror. Crusaders returning from the Holy Land often gave their children Roman or Greek first names to honor their own achievements. In North America, it can be an Americanized spelling of various European cognates (ex. Stefan and Steffen) and their derivative surnames.

One source asserts this family first came from the Dalriadan clans on Scotland’s western coast and Hebrides islands. The name was established in county Northumberland, England where they were seated at Knaresdale Hall and Newcastle on Tyne. Around 1150 AD, they move to the parish of Newlands in Peebles, Scotland.

The 1890 book Homes of Family Names by H.B. Guppy, states the following in regard to this surname: “Confined for the most part to the northern half of England, being especially frequent in County Durham, and afterward in the North and East Ridings and Northumberland. It is also well established in Lincolnshire and has made a substantial advance into the midlands as far as Warwickshire. Strangely enough, it has an independent home in Sussex and Berks, where Stevens is also common. Generally speaking, however, it is absent or rare in the southern part of England, where its place is supplied by Stephens and Stevens. The Stevensons extend in force across the Scottish border, but do not usually reach beyond the Forth and the Clyde”.

The earliest known bearer of this surname was Adams Stevenson who was documented in the Subsidy Rolls of Essex, England in 1327 AD. Early baptisms involving this surname were Beatrice Stevenson at St. Botoloph in 1588 and Annes Stevenson at Christ Church Greyfriars London in 1568.

George Fraser Black’s 1946 book The Surnames of Scotland, states the following in regard to this last name: “Nichol filz Steven, chaplain of Scotland, had license to take shipping at London or Dovorre at pleasure in 1372. John Steywynson was one of the surveyors of the marches of Woodwrae in 1388, John Stevenson was merchant in Aberdeen in 1454, and common councillor, 1477, and Duncan Stewinson was witness in Brechin in 1479. Henry Stevinsoun in Brechin in 1505 appears in the following year as Henry Steynson. John Stevenson, last Roman Catholic precentor of the metropolitan church of Glasgow in 1548 spelled his name Steinstoune. Thomas Steuynesone had sasine of land in Glasgow in 1550 (Protocols, I), Andro Steiuinsoun was treasurer of Edinburgh in 1580, and Quostantyne Steynstoune was burgess freeman of Glasgow in 1594. Bryce Stinstone appears in Irvine, 1686”.

Name Variations:  Stevenson, Stephenson, Stephinson, Stevenston, Steenson, Stenson, Steinson.

One or more of the following publications has been referenced for this article.
The General Armory; Sir Bernard Burke - 1842.
A Handbook of Mottoes; C.N. Elvin - 1860.
Irish Families, Their Names, Arms & Origins; Edward MacLysaght - 1957.
The Surnames of Ireland; Edward MacLynsaght - 1957.
The Book of Irish Families Great and Small.
HouseOfNames.com: https://www.houseofnames.com/stevenson-family-crest#Ireland-Migration
COADB.com: https://coadb.com/surnames/stevenson-arms.html


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