The name Watson derives from Walter along with many others such as Wat, Watt MacWattie, Macouat and MacWatson. The name is fairly common throughout Scotland (listed 20th most common in 2003) and England, but is more strongly associated with certain areas such as Aberdeen and Kinkardineshire.
We really do go back quite a ways. For example:
- In the fourteenth century (1300s) there are Watson landowners in Edinburgh.
- 1402 The records show a Robert Watsoun living in Aberdeen.
- 1450 Nicholas Watson of Dalkieth held land near Arbroath.
- 1493 Sir Donald Watsone was a church presbyter in the diocese of Moray
- 1494 Walter Watson was a burgess and landowner in Dumbarton and a number of his descendants became bailies and provosts.
In the 16th century (1500s) the name became more common, being found particularly in the Lowlands and the North-East of Scotland. In the Aberdeen area, the name Wattie was popular and in a Banffshire fishing village, 225 of the 300 people living there being named Watt. The name McWatters is found almost exclusively in Caithness where it is believed they were followers of the Sinclairs.