This name of CARSON was the surname of an ancient Galloway family, of which the direct line died out in the late 15th century. Carsons were provosts of Dumfries for several generations, and were also prominent on the local affairs of Kirkcudbrightshire. The first known bearer of the name is Sir Robert de Acarson (or de Carson) who witnessed a charter, circa 1270. John Acarson and others took the castle of Dumfries from its garrison in the year 1305 and Donald Akarson petitioned the Pope in 1394 for a benefice in a gift for the abbot and convent of Holyrood. Michael Carson (canon of St. Rynyon) was granted a safe conduct to travel into England in the year 1445. Adam Corsan, merchant burgess of Dumfries is mentioned in 1665. Joseph Carson who was an early shipping merchant of Philadelphia in the United States, and an earnest supporter of the American Revolution, was born in Scotland. This Scottish surname is found principally in Ulster, where its heaviest distribution was in County Tyrone, and was brought to the province by settlers in the 17th century. It has long been a matter of doubt when the bearing of coats of arms first became hereditary and it was not until the Crusades that Heraldry came into general use. Men went into battle heavily armed and were difficult to recognise. It became the custom for them to adorn their helmets with distinctive crests, and to paint their shields with animals and the like. Coats of arms accompanied the development of surnames, becoming hereditary in the same way. A notable member of the name was Edward Henry, Baron Carson (1854-1935) the British politician and judge. He was born in Dublin and called to the Bar in 1880. He was the First Lord of the Admiralty in 1917, and a member of the war cabinet from 1917 until 1918. Surnames before the Norman Conquest of 1066 were rare in England having been brought by the Normans when William the Conqueror invaded the shores. The practice spread to Scotland and Ireland by the 12th century, and in Wales they appeared as late as the 16th century. Most surnames can be traced to one of four sources, locational, from the occupation of the original bearer, nicknames or simply font names based on the first name of the parent being given as the second name to their child.
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