Origins of the surname Parsons

This interesting surname has two related origins, both deriving from the Old French word "persone", in Middle English (1200 - 1500) "persone" or "persoun", meaning a parson or a priest. The ultimate derivation is from the Latin word "persona", meaning "person" or "character", and it is thought that the shift in meaning from "person" to "priest" arose from the position of the local priest as the "representative" person of the parish. The surname Parsons can be an occupational name for "the parson's servant", or a patronymic form denoting the child of a parson, and it can also be a locational name, especially when found with the preposition "de" or "del" as in Ralph del Persones (1323), denoting residence at, and therefore, employment at the parson's house. London Church Records list the christening of Christopher, son of Abyan Parsons, on October 28th 1585, at St. Giles' Cripplegate. A Coat of Arms granted to a Parsons family is red, with three gold leopards' faces. The Crest is a gold halbert's head red embrued. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Rodger le Persones, which was dated 1323, witness in the "Assize Court Rolls of Staffordshire", during the reign of King Edward 11, known as "Edward of Caernafon", 1307 - 1327. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling. -- www.surnamedb.com

This page belongs to the Eucalypt Family History collection, maintained by Ryk Field. Reach me by email to: rykfield@gmail.com