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Surname Johnstone - Meaning and Origin

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How My iGENEA DNA Test Revolutionized My Perception of My Surname and Family Identity as a Johnstone

An iGENEA DNA test can be more than a genealogical exercise - it can be a journey into your family history, influencing your perspective on your surname and family identity. In my case, the impact was profound, reshaping my understanding of my last name, Johnstone, and carving out a deeper, more personal connection to my ancestral lineage.

U. Johnstone

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Johnstone: What does the surname Johnstone mean?

The surname Johnstone is primarily of Scottish origin and has strong historical roots in the country. It originated from a place name, specifically from the parish of Johnstone in Annandale, Dumfriesshire in southwestern Scotland. The name itself is derived from two Old English words: "John," a given name, and "tun" meaning farm, estate, or settlement. So it literally translates to "John's settlement" or "John's town." The Johnstones were a powerful Scottish Clan, known for their courage and resilience against enemy attacks. The surname, despite its Scottish origin, is now found in many parts of the world due to emigration.

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Johnstone: Where does the name Johnstone come from?

The surname Johnstone originates from Scotland. It is derived from the personal name "John" and the suffix "stone" — suggesting the name means 'John's town'. The Johnstones were a powerful Scottish clan based in Annandale, Scotland. The family seat, Johnstone Castle, still stands in Dumfries today.

The name Johnstone spread widely, evolving into many variant forms due to factors such as regional dialects and illiteracy. Some of the common variants include Johnson, Johnston, and Jonston.

Nowadays, the surname Johnstone is most common in Scotland, England, and Northern Ireland. But due to immigration and cultural diffusion, it also has significant presence in countries such as the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

Many people with the Johnstone surname have made substantial contributions to society in fields like politics, sports, and the arts. An example from the world of sports is Eddie Johnstone, a former professional ice hockey player from Canada. In arts, there is Jill Johnstone, an internationally renowned contemporary dancer from the United States.

Variations of the surname Johnstone

The surname Johnstone originates from Scotland and is associated with a clan in the Lowlands area of the country. The name is derived from ‘John’s town’ or ‘John's settlement’. The variants and spellings of Johnstone include Johnston, Johnton, Jonston, Jonistoun, Jonestone, Johanstoun, Johansson, Jonistoune, Johnson, Jonhstone, and Johns.

In certain regions it has also been anglicized as Jackson. In Scandinavia, it's commonly rendered as Johansson, representing the patronymic tradition where 'son' is added to a father's name.

In Ireland, people with this surname are often descendants of settlers from Scotland and the name is sometimes pronounced and spelled as Johnston. Additionally, some families may have anglicized it as Johnson.

It's important to note that these all derived from the same root but evolved to match phonetic preferences and regional linguistic variations. The original spelling and interpretation does not determine relation but allows an intricate look into the ancestral past and homelands of individuals with this surname.

Differences in spelling can arise due to factors such as translation difficulties, illiteracy among past generations, and changes in linguistic norms over centuries. All these contribute to the rich history and variations of this surname. Overall, these surnames bear a common connection to Scottish lineage and history.

Famous people with the name Johnstone

  • Brian Johnstone: Scotland-based Celtic folk artist
  • David Johnstone: British actor best known for roles in Brighton Rock (2010) and A Fault in the Stars (2014)
  • Ian Johnstone: Australian singer-songwriter, predominantly folk and blues
  • Jean Johnstone: Canadian cyclist who competed in the 1928 Summer Olympics
  • John Johnstone: Scottish footballer who represented Scotland in 18 international matches
  • Michael Johnstone: British mountaineer, was part of the first successful ascent of Mount Everest
  • Rusty Johnstone: American actor and stuntman, best known for roles in The Fast and the Furious (2001) and Walking Tall (2004)
  • Stevan Johnstone: Canadian ice hockey player, playing four seasons in the National Hockey League on the Toronto Maple Leafs
  • William Johnstone: British diplomat and civil servant, served as Ambassador to China and Honduras
  • Winifred Johnstone: English writer of romance novels, best known for her novel "The Witch of Elsdon".

Other surnames

JohnstonJohnston of Barra

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