clemitson family genealogy

 

 

 

 

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Origin of Clemitson

Surnames gradually became established in the Middle Ages, as society became more organised, and structured. Some were based on the person's trade, such as Smith, or Taylor, and others had a geographical basis such as Hill, or Wood.   Many were simply the father's name with 's' or 'son' added, such as Roberts, or Robertson.

Adult literacy, and with it, the standardisation of spelling of many common words (such as show, shew), only became really established in the 1800's.   Before then variations of many surnames were encountered - for example Walter Raleigh often signed his surname as 'Ralegh', and different spellings of ‘Shakespeare’ have been recorded.

In the case of 'Clemitson,' the name was originally Clementson, and was probably written down, for example, by the vicar at a baptism or marriage, as he had heard it said. In the author's own research, spelling variations (Clemingson, Clemenson, Clemison) between generations of the same family in the 1700s were often found.

At some point in the late 18th/early 19th centuries, adult literacy became sufficiently well established for people to read and write, - and thereby adopt the last recorded spelling of their surname.  For ‘Clemitson’, this was Robert Clemitson, 1764-1841, the author's great-great-great grandfather.

Pope Clement -   and who was the Clement who gave his name to Clementson ?    

Several of the Popes in the Middle Ages were named Clement (ie Merciful), such as Clement III, 1187-91, who instigated the third crusade,   and Clement IV, 1265-68, who had also been the papal legate in England 1262–64.   From this, it no doubt became a popular christian name as a result.

Further reading on surnames

clemitson variants
Walter Raleigh's signature