PEARSON This distinguished name is of early medieval English origin, and is one of the patronymic forms of the medieval given name Piers, itself the usual vernacular form of the male given name Peter. Piers was adopted by the English from the Old French "Pierre, Piers", introduced by the Normans after the Conquest of 1066; the Latinized form, "Petrus", is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086. The name is ultimately of Greek origin, from "petros", rock, stone, and was very popular among Christians in Europe during the Middle Ages, mainly because it was the name bestowed by Christ (as a byname) on the apostle Simon bar Jonah; the name was chosen by Christ for its symbolic significance: "Thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church". In England, the personal name was an early favourite, and consequently has generated a large number and variety of surname forms, among them the patronymics Pearson, Pierson and Peirson. Early recordings of the surname include: John Pierisson (1332, Warwickshire); Robert Peresson (1395, Yorkshire); and William Pierson (1412, Lancashire). One Cutbert Peirson was an early emigrant to the American colonies; he was listed as living at "the Indian thickett" near Elizabeth City in Virginia in 1623. A Coat of Arms granted to the family depicts per fesse embattled gules and azure, three suns in splendour ore. The crest being: out of a ducal coronet ore, a paroquet. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard Peresone, which was dated 1327, in the "Exchequer Lay Subsidy Rolls of Somerset", during the reign of King Edward 111, known as "The Father of the Navy", 1327 - 1377. 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.
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