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Surname Parkinson - Meaning and Origin

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Unraveling My Roots: How the iGENEA DNA Test and the Surname 'Parkinson' Reinforced My Heritage

Through my iGENEA DNA test, I began a journey of exploration and discovery, unearthing my family's connections to the past. The test results, intertwined with my surname 'Parkinson', have shaped my understanding of personal identity and heritage.

Z. Parkinson

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Parkinson: What does the surname Parkinson mean?

The surname Parkinson is of English origin and it is derived from the patronymic form of the name 'Parkin', a diminutive of 'Peter'. The suffix 'son' denotes 'son of'. So, Parkinson essentially means 'son of Parkin' or 'son of Peter'. The name Peter comes from the Greek 'Petros' meaning 'rock' or 'stone', often symbolizing steadfastness, reliability, and faith. Over the centuries, the name has been prevalent in northern England, particularly in Lancashire and Yorkshire. The fame of the name spread worldwide largely due to the London-born physician James Parkinson, who first identified what is now known as Parkinson's disease.

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Parkinson: Where does the name Parkinson come from?

The last name Parkinson is most commonly found in the United Kingdom, particularly in the north of England. It is particularly prominent in Lancashire, Yorkshire, Derbyshire, and Cumbria. The most likely origin is simply from the combination of the words 'park' and 'son'. The 'son' element of the name is indicative of an occupational surname, indicating a family whose ancestor was likely employed in a position related to parks, such as a warden or landowner.

Outside of the UK and Ireland, the last name is found in many other countries across the world - especially in the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand - due to large-scale migration during the 19th and 20th centuries from British Isles countries.

It is difficult to determine an exact estimate of how many people bear the surname worldwide, however, according to surname website Forebears, the last name Parkinson is held by around 36,000 people in the United Kingdom, making it the 1,463rd most common name and 1,379th most numerous last name in the country. This data suggests that the name is relatively common in the UK, although some areas may be more populous with Parkinsons than others.

Variations of the surname Parkinson

Parkinson is a surname of English origin. Variants of the name include Parkes, Parkison and Parkinson. Spellings can range from Parkonson to Parkynson.

The founder of the Parkinson surname was Sir William of Parkinson, who lived around 1170 in Lancashire. After the Norman Conquest of 1066, the Angles and the Saxons increased their linguistic influence and began spelling surnames phonetically.

Parkinson is still a popular surname today, with the United States having the highest concentration. Alternate spellings of the name remain popular in England as well; in 2001, more than 3,000 people in the country had the name Parkisson.

Common surnames derived from Parkinson include Parkin, Parkyns, Parkings, Parkyn, Parkson and Parrkinson. There are also Parkison and Parkeren derivatives in some regions.

The name is derived from an Old French word meaning “one who Parks or lives by the Park”. The occupation of the person was most likely related to a physical park, such as being a guard or keeper. It may also have been derived from an Old English word for a fence or enclosure.

Famous people with the name Parkinson

  • Michael Parkinson: British broadcaster who introduced and interviewed guests on various BBC shows from 1971 to 2007
  • Norman Parkinson: famous British fashion photographer
  • John Parkinson: English botanist and herbalist
  • Alan Parkinson: American science educator and relativity theorist
  • William Parkinson: English railway engineer who developed the Great Western Railway
  • Peter Parkinson: Australian Roman Catholic Cardinal
  • John Curtis Parkinson: English professional cricket player
  • Keith Parkinson: prominent American fantasy artist
  • Paul Parkinson: English former professional golfer
  • Cecil Parkinson: British Conservative politician and member of the House of Lords
  • Frankie Parkinson: prominent English international rugby league referee
  • Susan Parkinson: British charity worker and founder of Carers UK
  • Sheena Parkinson: Scottish football player for Stirling Albion Women's Football Club
  • Peter G. Parkinson: British opera and music critic
  • Emma Parkinson: British cross country mountain biker
  • Phil Parkinson: English football manager of Bolton Wanderers
  • Donald Edgar Parkinson: American intelligence officer in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War
  • Christopher Parkinson: English actor and writer
  • Gary Parkinson: English football coach who was paralyzed in a car accident
  • Jeremy Parkinson: American actor, most famous for his role in the television show Beverly Hills, 90210.

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