The surname of ERIKSON is of Norwegian and Swiss origin, a baptismal name meaning 'the son of Eric' (ever king). After the Crusades in Europe, in the 11th 12th and 13th century people began, perhaps unconsciously, to feel the need of a family name, or at least a name in addition to the simple one that had been possessed from birth. The nobles and upper classes, especially those who went on the Crusades, observed the prestige and practical value of an added name, and were quick to take a surname. The name has numerous variant spellings which include ERICH, ERICHS, ERICHSEN, ERICKSEN, ERICHSEN, ERIKSSON, ERICSSON and EERIKAINEN. The English poet Robert Herrick (1591-1674) was from the prosperous family of goldsmiths, who had a long association with the city of Leicestershire. There is a family tradition that they were of Scandinavian origin, descended from Eric the Forester, who settled in the city in the 11th century; the name of the poet's great-grandfather is recorded in the corporation books of the city of Leicester in 1511 as Thomas ERICKE. During the Reformation, Switzerland was not affected by the religious strife that devastated most of Europe; cities such as Geneva were in the middle of the Reformation and John Calvin became prominent as a Protestant reformer, founding Protestantism. Many people of Swiss origin emigrated from there to seek their fortune in other parts of the world. In the United States they particularly populated the states of Pennsylvania, New York, Illinois, Ohio, Texas and California. Over the centuries, most people in Europe have accepted their surname as a fact of life, as irrevocable as an act of God. However much the individual may have liked or disliked the surname, they were stuck with it, and people rarely changed them by personal choice. A more common form of variation was in fact involuntary, when an official change was made, in other words, a clerical error. The associated coat of arms is recorded in Rietstaps Armorial General. The Rose depicted in the arms is used as a distinction for the seventh son. The Distinction of Houses are used to distinguish the younger from the elder branches of a family, and to show from what line each is descended.
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