The name Carlson was originally derived from the Germanic personal name Carl, meaning Man, which was Latinized as Carolus. The first hereditary surnames on German soil are found in the second half of the 12th century, slightly later than in England and France. However, it was not until the 16th century that they became stabilized. The practice of adopting hereditary surnames began in the southern areas of Germany, and gradually spread northwards during the Middle Ages. In France the name was popular at an early date, due to the fame of the Emperor Charlemagne (742-814). The Old form Charles was briefly introduced to England by the Normans, but was rare during the main period of surname formation. It was introduced more successfully to Scotland in the 16th century by the Stuarts, who had strong ties with France. The name was not in use among the general population in the Scandinavian speaking countries, and was restricted to the nobility. It has now spread widely and has many variant spellings, which include CHARLES, CHARLE, CHARLON, CARLSSON, CARLSSEN, KARLSEN and KAROLAK, to name but a few. Early records of the name mention Henry ke Karle, who was documented in County Yorkshire, England in 1273, and Robert Carlesonne appears in Cambridge in the same year. William Carlson of Yorkshire, was recorded in the year 1379. A notable member of the name mentions Chester Floyd Carlson (1906-68) the American Inventor, born in Seattle, Washington. He graduated in physics, and by 1938 he discovered the basic principles of Xeroxing. It was patented in 1940, and made him a multi-millionaire. Ingvar Costa Carlsson born in 1934 is the Swedish politician. After holding a number of junior posts, in 1982 became prime minister of Sweden. Most of the European surnames were formed in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The process had started somewhat earlier and had continued in some places into the 19th century, but the norm is that in the tenth and eleventh centuries people did not have surnames, whereas by the fifteenth century most of the population had acquired a second name.
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