In Britain, the Hodgson surname was the 173rd most common (766 per million) in 1881 and the 206th most common (650 per million) in 1998. In the United States of America, Hodgson was the 3753rd most popular surname (30 per million) in the 1990 census.
Origin and Meaning
The surname authority P. H. Reaney (1958, p. 166) states that Hodgson is derived from "son of Hodge" and that Hodge, in turn, is a "pet-form of Roger". This view has been repeated by several others, and Reaney (1967) himself.
Roger is a Norman French name. In which case one would expect it to be more common in the South of England, which was first and more heavily settled by the Normans. An alternative explanation that Hodgson is of Anglo-Saxon origin would suggest that Hodgson would be more common in Anglo-Saxon areas, particularly in the South of England or east of the Pennines.
By contrast the Hodgsons are most numerous in Cumbria in England, which was settled by the Norse Vikings in the tenth century. Hodgson could thus be derived from the Norse name Oddgeir, as suggested by earlier surname authorities. Alternatively, it could derive from the less frequent Norse name Hrodgeir.
One of the earliest Victorian surname studies is by Mark Lower (1842, p. 96) who suggests that Hodgson may come from "son of Roger" but immediately adds "if not from Odo."
In a more extensive discussion of the surname, Robert Ferguson (1858) entertains a number of possibilities concerning its origin. One is to connect it to the Scandinavian first name Odda. Ferguson notes (1858, p. 225) that this name, although frequently appearing before the Norman Conquest, does not appear to be a word in the Anglo-Saxon language. He writes: "Might it not be from Old Norse oddr, a dart or arrow, whence Oddr and Oddi, common Scandinavian names?"
In two editions of his major work on British surnames, Henry Barber (1894, p. 143; 1903, p. 207) presents more than one possible explanation, and notes in particular that Hodgson may derive from the Old Norse Oddgeir-son.
Charles Bardsley (1901, p. 390) takes a similar line, offering multiple explanations including "son of Roger" but also giving due prominence to the possibility of Old Norse origins. For him, the derivation of the Hodgson surname could be from "'the son of Odo' from the nickname Oddy, sometimes Hoddy, whence Odson or Hodson. There can be no doubt that Odo is the parent of many of our Hodsons. In Yorkshire it was for two centuries one of the most popular font-names for boys."
The Victorian theory that Hodgson is of Scandinavian origin is endorsed by recent research. The early geographical distribution of the Hodgson surname, as well as recent DNA analysis of a number of Hodgsons, support the theory of Norse origins (Hodgson 1993, 2008).
Hodgson (2008) offers an explanation of the original meanings of Oddgeir and Hrodgeir, as well as biographies of a number of prominent Hodgsons. See also Hodgson (1925) and James (1974) for information on early Hodgson families.
The Hodson surname is less common and generally derives from Hodgson. Other probable variants of Hodgson include Hodgeson, Hodgshon, Hodshon, Hodgin, Hodgins, Hodgen, Hodgens, Hodghson, Hodgon and Hodgeon. In the North of England the "s" is often silent in the pronunciation of Hodgson. This accounts for variants such as Hodgin, Hodgen, Hodgon and Hodgeon.
Hodgson DNA Analysis
The Hodgson DNA Project was launched in 2001. As with other surname projects Y-DNA -- which is always and only passed from father to son—is used. Analysis of Y-DNA data from this project confirms the Irish-Norse origins of the Hodgson surname. (See Norse-Gaels.) Using several methods (see Hodgson 2008) Hodgson Y-DNA is roughly one-third Norse and 5-10 per cent Danish, most of the remainder being similar to indigenous British or Irish. This Irish component can be explained by the fact that the Viking invaders of Cumbria in the tenth century came from Ireland. Furthermore, about 26 per cent Norwegian Y-DNA is similar to that of the Irish (Helgason et al. 2000).
The proportion of Norse blood among Hodgsons is much higher than in the British population as a whole. Stephen Oppenheimer (2006, p. 462) estimates that about 6 per cent of Y-DNA in the British Isles is of Norwegian Origin.
Y-DNA data show that the proportion of inhabitants with Norse paternal ancestry from Shetland and Orkney are 42 and 37 per cent respectively, by the highest known estimates (Sykes 2006, p. 194). These islands are known to be areas of dense Norse settlement. The proportion of Hodgsons with Norse paternal ancestry is close to that found on Shetland and Orkney.
Coat of arms
In heraldic language this coat of arms is "per chevron, embattled or and azure, three martlets counterchanged". According to one authority, these arms were displayed by members of the family at the Battle of Towton in Yorkshire in 1461, during the Wars of the Roses (Hodgson 1925). This was the largest battle ever fought on British soil.
Heraldic records confirm this coat of arms was displayed by the Hodgsons of Hebburn, a mine-owning Catholic family living in the North East of England in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries (Surtees 1820, vol. 2, pp. 77, 319, James 1974, Hodgson 2008). This same coat of arms is associated with several other Hodgson families, including the Hodgsons of West Keal in Lincolnshire, the Hodgsons of Bascodyke in Cumberland (Hodgson 1925), the Hodshons of Amsterdam, and with Thomas Hodgson (1738–1817) a Liverpool merchant and slave trader, and the owner of a mill in Caton, Lancashire (Hodgson 2008).
Border Reivers and Hodgson Clans
For centuries before the unification of England and Scotland in 1707, the remote Anglo-Scottish borderland region had been the lair of unruly clans and gangs of robbers that were largely beyond the reach of the law. A peculiar form of clan organisation grew up in this area. This was the land of the Border Reivers.These clans recognised no legal authority other than the clan itself. They would steal goods, cattle and women from across the nominal border.
Some Hodgsons in Cumberland were themselves a clan organisation (Fraser 1971). The map above shows several clusters of Hodgsons, some of which may have functioned at some time as clans. The border clans were eventually subjection by state authorities. Many were forced or obliged to emigrate to North America in the eighteenth century (Fischer 1989). Many Hodgsons emigrated in this period.
Royal and Presidential Connections
Henrietta Mildred Hodgson (1805–1891) was a great-great-grandmother of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom. Mildred Porteus was Henrietta's grandmother on the paternal side. Mildred Porteus and George Washington (the First President of the United States of America) were second cousins.
People with the Surname
- Andy Hodgson, British TV presenter
- Arthur Hodgson (1818–1902), Australian pioneer and politician
- Brian Hodgson, British television composer and sound technician
- Brian Houghton Hodgson (1800–1894), British naturalist
- Caroline Hodgson (1851–1908), Australian brothel proprietor
- Chris Hodgson, Canadian politician
- Christopher Hodgson (priest) (1561-?), Catholic priest and conspirator
- Claire Merritt Hodgson (1897–1976), second wife of Babe Ruth
- Frances Hodgson Burnett, born Frances Eliza Hodgson (1849–1924), English–American playwright and author
- Godfrey Hodgson (born 1934), British historian and journalist
- Geoffrey Hodgson (born 1946), economist
- Gordon Hodgson (1904–1951), South African-born English footballer and football manager
- Henrietta Mildred Hodgson (1805–1891), great-great-grandmother of Queen Elizabeth II
- Herbert John Hodgson (1893–1974), soldier and printer of The Seven Pillars of Wisdom
- Isaac Hodgson (architect) (born 1826), Irish-US architect
- James D. Hodgson (born 1915), US politician
- Jane Elizabeth Hodgson (1915–2006), American obstetrician and gynecologist
- Jimmy Hodson, born James S. Hodgson (1962) American actor, narrator, TV presenter
- Joel Hodgson (born 1960), creator and former host of Mystery Science Theater 3000
- John Hodgson Mayor of Melbourne, Australia 1853-4
- John Evan Hodgson (1831–1895), artist, Member of the St John's Wood Clique
- Joseph Hodgson (1788–1869), British physician
- Jules Hodgson, English guitarist
- Julian Hodgson (born 1963), English chess grandmaster
- Laurence C. Hodgson (1874–1937), US newspaper writer and politician
- Leonard Hodgson (1889–1969), Anglican priest, philosopher, theologian, and historian
- Marshall Hodgson (1922–1968), American Islamic scholar
- Nick Hodgson (born 1977), English drummer and musician
- Patricia Hodgson, Principal of Newnham College, Cambridge
- Pete Hodgson (born 1950), New Zealand politician
- Ralph Hodgson (1871–1962), English poet
- Robert Hodgson (judge) (1798–1880), Canadian lawyer, politician, judge and administrator
- Robert MacLeod Hodgson (1874—1956), British diplomat
- Robert Hodgson (cricketer) (born 1973), Australian cricket player
- Robin Hodgson, Baron Hodgson of Astley Abbotts (born 1942), Baron Hodgson of Astley Abbotts, British politician
- Roger Hodgson (born 1950), English singer/songwriter
- Shadworth Hodgson (1832–1912), English philosopher
- Sharon Hodgson (born 1966), British politician
- Sharyn Hodgson (born 1968), Australian actress who appeared in Home and Away
- Stuart Milton Hodgson (born 1924), Canadian commissioner
- Studholme Hodgson (1708–1798), British field marshal
- Sydney Hodgson (died 1591), English Roman Catholic lawyer and martyr
- Walter J. Hodgson (1924–1978), American helicopter test pilot, who was one of 3 men to fly the Avrocar and was twice awarded the Feinberg award.
- W. N. Hodgson (1893–1916), First World War poet who published under the pen name Edward Melbourne
- Wil Hodgson (born 1978), English stand-up comedian
- William Hope Hodgson (1877–1918), English writer of horror and fantasy
- Arthur Hodgson (footballer) (born 1926), Australian rules footballer
- Aub Hodgson (1912–1982), Australian rugby union player
- Billy Hodgson (born 1935), Scottish footballer
- Brett Hodgson (born 1978), Australian rugby league player
- Charlie Hodgson (born 1980), rugby union player
- Cody Hodgson (born 1990), Canadian junior ice hockey player
- Dan Hodgson (born 1965), Canadian ice hockey player
- Geoffrey Hodgson (cricketer) (born 1938), English cricketer
- George Hodgson (1893–1983), Canadian swimmer and Olympic gold medalist
- Gordon Hodgson (1904–1951), British footballer, cricketer and baseball player
- Gordon Hodgson (footballer) (1952–1999), English footballer
- Isaac Hodgson (1828–1867), English cricketer
- Martin Hodgson, English rugby league footballer
- Michael Hodgson (born 1979), Australian rugby league player
- Neil Hodgson, English motorcycle racer
- Pat Hodgson (born 1944), US American football player
- Paul Hodgson (born 1982), English rugby union player
- Philip Hodgson (born 1935), English cricketer
- Rick Hodgson (born 1956), Canadian ice hockey player
- Richard Hodgson (born 1979), English footballer
- Robert Hodgson (cricketer) (born 1973), Australian cricketer
- Roy Hodgson (born 1947), English football manager
- Rusty Hodgson (born 1981), British motorcycle racer
- Ted Hodgson (born 1945), Canadian ice hockey player
Hodgson can also be a given name:
- Hodgson Pratt (1824–1907), English pacifist
Hodgson (2008) includes short biographies of a number of prominent Hodgsons and Hodsons.
- David Hodgson (disambiguation)
- Richard Hodgson (disambiguation)
- Barber, Henry (1894) British Family Names: Their Origin and Meaning, first edition (London: Elliot Stock).
- Barber, Henry (1903) British Family Names: Their Origin and Meaning, second edition (London: Elliot Stock).
- Bardsley, Charles W. (1901) A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames (London: Henry Frowde).
- Ferguson, Robert (1858) English Surnames and their Place in the Teutonic Family (London: George Routledge).
- Fischer, David Hackett (1989) Albion’s Seed: Four British Folkways in America (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press).
- Fraser, George MacDonald (1971) The Steel Bonnets: The Story of the Anglo-Scottish Reivers (London: Barrie and Jenkins).
- Helgason, Agnar, Sigrún Sigurðardóttir, Jayne Nicholson, Bryan Sykes, Emmeline W. Hill, Daniel G. Bradley, Vidar Bosnes, Jeffery R. Gulcher, Ryk Ward, and Kári Stefánsson (2000) ‘Estimating Scandinavian and Gaelic Ancestry in the Male Settlers of Iceland’, American Journal of Human Genetics, 67(3), September, pp. 697–717.
- Hodgson, Geoffrey M. (1993) The Hodgson Surname: Its Norse Origin and Cumbrian Location (Standon, Hertfordshire: Martlet Books).
- Hodgson, Geoffrey M. (2008) Hodgson Saga, second edition (Standon, Hertfordshire: Martlet Books).
- Hodgson, James (1925) 'The Hodgsons of Bascodyke', Transactions of the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society, New Series, 25, pp. 244–49.
- James, Mervyn (1974) Family, Lineage, and Civil Society: A Study of Society, Politics, and Mentality in the Durham Region, 1500-1640 (Oxford: Oxford University Press).
- Lower, Mark A. (1860) A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom (London: John Russell Smith).
- Oppenheimer, Stephen (2006) Origins of the British (London: Robinson).
- Reaney, P. H. (1958) A Dictionary of English Surnames, first edition (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul).
- Reaney, P. H. (1967) The Origin of English Surnames (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul).
- Surtees, Robert (1820) History and Antiquities of the County Palatine of Durham, volume 2 (London: Nichols).
- Sykes, Bryan (2006) Blood of the Isles (London: Bantam).