Richard "Magson", servant of James Everill, was admitted as a member of the Puritan church in Boston, Massachusetts Bay Colony, in 1634 (following 1649, when a second church was founded, the original became known as "First Church").
By 1638, Richard had migrated to Aquidneck Island, which became part of the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, where he appeared in a record as Richard "Maggsen".
In later records, and in later generations in the United States, the surname has generally been spelled Maxson or Maxon.What was the origin of this surname?
Most if not all English patronymic surnames that are formed with the suffix "-son" originated between about 1100 and 1500 in the northern part of England, where the Danelaw had been influential prior to the Norman Conquest.Danes are a part of the larger Nordic culture that included modern-day Norway and Sweden.Borrowing from Latin, and perhaps influenced by Charlemagne ("Carolus Magnus"), Swedes borrowed the name "Magnus".Thus, there were kings named "Magnus" in Sweden by the 1300s.
A nickname for Magnus, even today, is "Magge".Consider the character Magnus "Magge" Lundin, in the Swedish novel "The Girl Who Played with Fire", by the late Stieg Larsson.Or consider Magnus "Magge" Rosén, a member of the Swedish death metal band, Asphyxiation.
In Yorkshire, England, at a Court held at Rastrick on October 18, 1315, one Robert, son of Magge was fined for failing to attend a recent tourney.Apparently Robert, Magge's son, was AWOL.And from "Magge's son" we get the slurred and simplified "Maggeson" and eventually pronounced simply Magson.There are numerous baptismal records, extracted from various parishes and published in the International Genealogical Index of the Latter Day Saints database (www.familysearch.org) of families in England with the surname Magson as early as 1570 to 1660.
I believe that Richard Maxson of Rhode Island had ancestors from the area of Yorkshire or possibly Lincolnshire, where the Danelaw applied centuries ago, and that his surname evolved from Magge's son.
By way of comparison, consider the late Senator Warren Magnuson of Washington state, of Swedish-Norwegian ancestry by way of Minnesota, and who probably had an ancestor named Magnus, and then the son of Magnus, or Magnus's son, or Magnuson.
I believe this explanation is more likely than the possibility of a man named "Maximilian" (nickname "Max") who had a son and thus "Max's son".I believe the explanation above is also more likely than a matronymic from Margaret (nickname "Meg") with a son named Meg's son.Finally, I also believe this explanation is more likely than some geographically-derived surname based onMaxton in Scotland.
Does anyone have different ideas?If so, please share by posting here.