In Ireland, Robinson is only really common in Ulster. It is thought that the Robinsons of Glenarm may have originally been Robertsons. The two names had been used interchangeably in some areas of the province around the beginning of the 20th century. Robinson, the compound word, is a rare given name, while its derivative, Robin, has the distinction of being both a masculine and feminine given name.
Robinson (Variants: Robison, Robbinson, Robeson, Robinshaw) The son of Robin, or Robert. In Northern English: patronymic from the personal name Robin, a diminutive of the French name Robert, which was popular in Normandy. It originated from the Old German name of Rodbert, derived from ‘hroth’ which means ‘fame’ and ‘berht’ meaning ‘bright’. A representation of the surname would be a parental wish for the child’s ‘fame-bright’ future.
The earliest appearance of Robinson in the records is John Robynson who was listed in the Court Rolls of the Manor of Wakefied for 1324. Another early bearer of the surname was Katerina Robinson in 1540, IGI (Sutterton, Lincs). Also from the same county, Wolf Robinson, carver and gilder, 1893 in UK Jewish Directory (Boston, Lincs).
In 1891, the general population was widespread across England and Wales with 103,211 occurrences and a further 1,000 in Scotland. Lincolnshire was a top county with 3,965 occurrences and was a top surname in Anderby and Alkborough districts. Further south in the county of Kent there were 1,798 occurrences.
In 1881, Farmer was the most common occupation, along with Coal Miner and Agricultural Labourer as the top 3 reported jobs worked by Robinson. The most common Robinson occupation in the UK was Farmer. A less common occupation for the Robinson family was Labourer.
David Robinson OBE (1927-2017), A British journalist, author and teacher. He had a degree in Geography and an MSc in which he wrote a thesis on the coastal evolution of northeast Lincolnshire. David went on to become resident tutor of the University of Nottinghamshire for North Lincolnshire. He also served editorial roles with ‘Lincolnshire Life’ and ‘Natural World’ magazine. He was awarded an OBE for services to journalism and the community of Lincolnshire. In 2007 with a collection of papers on historical and geographical themes, titled “All Things Lincolnshire: An Anthology in Honour of David Robinson”.
1881, 1891 Census
1881 Census in Kent
1881 Census in Lincolnshire
Dictionary of American Family Homes, P Hanks OUP 2003
Homes of Family Names in Great Britain, H.B. Guppy, London 1890
The Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain and Ireland, P.Hanks, Coats, McClure OUP 2016
1860 Lower, Mark A Patronymica Britannica: a dictionary of the family names of the United Kingdom, London: J.R Smith. Public Domain
1857 Arthur, William An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names. New York: Sheldon, Blakeman. Public Domain
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