The English surname Pearson is of patronymic origin, being one of those names that was based on the first name of the father or mother. As the system of surnames first evolved, it was inevitable that children in the community should be known by their father's name. In this instance, the name simply means "the son of Piers", Piers being a form of the French name Pierre which in England became Pearse or Piers and later, Peter. Records of this surname in England date back to the fourteenth century. An example of this occurs in 1379 when one Robertus Perisson was mentioned in the Poll Tax Returns for Yorkshire which were compiled in that year. In the later records there is mention of one John Pereson who, in 1610, was registered as a student at Oxford University. Later references include one James Ambrose Pearson, born 1807, who married one Mary Ann Routledge on January 9th, 1831 in St. Peters, Leeds, Yorkshire. Earliest name recorded seems to be Wautier Pieressone in 1296. MacPherson was sometimes written M’A’Phaarsoin and as the "Mac" was dropped, Pearsoin likely merged with Pearson 1645. Derivitives are: Pairsone, Pearsone, Peirsonde, Peirsone, Peirsound, Pesirsaunde, Persone, Peyrsoune, Peyrson 1480.
The Pearson family (also spelt until the 18th century, Pierson, Piersone, Peirsoun, Pieressone, Perysoun and Person; where son was spelt as "sonne") originated in Northumber, England where some members still live at this present time. The origin of the name was Pier’s son, ie. the son of Piers. The Pearson name originated from "Son of Pierre", the French form of Peter.
The first Pearson was Wautier Pieresoune, who was mentioned in 1226 in the Ragman’s Roll as Pledging Alliegance to Edward I, King of England. Edward Pearson of Bamburgh was alive in 1506.Other Pearsons appearing in early print were David Perisone 1369, David Perysoun 1375, Johannes Peryson 1408, John Perison or Peryson 1473, Sandie Peirsoun 1567 and Archibald Pierson 1642.
In the Ragmans Rolls, the reeled instrument of fealty subscribed by the representative of Scotland, to Edward I of England, in his office arbitrater between Bruce and Baliol—Wautier Pieresone (del Cornite de Bereuyk), signs as landowners in Berwickshire, 28th Aug 1296. In a safe conduct granted by Edward II of England, signed by the king at Westminister, 11th June 1369, David Perisone, "Mercator de Scotia", is permitted to pass through England "Cumquatuorsocic’s
equitibus". Six others named in the same document have passes for two mounted companions each. The safe conduct provides against the export of bows and arrows to the prejudice of Edward.
From 1372 to 1390, David Perisone and his brothers Alexander and John, were Comptollers of the Customs of North Berwich, Dumfries and Haddington. In the Close Rolls, to Richard III., 27th June 1396, the king, Richard III, commands his cousin, Henry Perig, Earl of Northunberland to order the release of the "Scots merchants and their goods", lately wreaked in a "ship" of Henry Pierson’s, on the coast of Werkworth, last Lent, and said to be his (the Earl’s) custody, that "the truce be not broken".
The Scottish branch of the family was founded about 1400 when Christopher Pearson left Northumberland, England for Wanlockhead, Scotland. The old Scotish family of Person of Lochlands, Pierson of the Barony of Balmadies, Fordarshire, and Pearson of the Baroney of Kippenrose, Dunvane, Perthshire, of which the Hon. William Pearson is head, appears under various spellings, in some of the earliest records of Scotland. This family is described as recently as1684 by the John Ochterlong of the Guynd in his account of the "Shire of Forfar."
In 1425, the head of the family, John de Perison, was burgess of Linlithgow, to the king, James I of Scotland, made payment to his son, Thomas Perison. Thomas Perison in 1450 held lands at Blackness, Eister Liff, Forfarshire. When he died in 1466, the lands were granted to his daughters, Mariota and Sybella Personn. Sir Andro Pierson was a chaplin of Dunfermline Abbey in 1469. In 1506, the chartulany of the abbey contains revesal charters, granting lands to Thomas Peirson and his successors.
Thomas and Marcota Pearsoun on 13th Oct 1508 obtained a grant of lands of Kepty which became the properties of Lachlands. In 1524, Thomas Peirsone died leaving a will to: 1) John, a monk of Arbroath some land; 2) Walter, of whom again, ancestor of the Pearsons of Kippenross, Dunblane; 3) Thomas, ancestor of the Pearsons of Clow, Dumnning; 4) David, ancestor of the Pearsons of Piersons, Baithe, Dunfermline, and 5) David, son of Thomas Peirsone by 3rd wife Margareta.
James Peirsone represented Arbroth in the Scottish Parliment in 1628. James Peirsone born in1666, was commissoner of supply in 1690, 1702 and 1745. James Pierson is mentioned in 1779. Mr. James Pearson who became head of Kippeurons, Perthshire, b. 1594, studied at Edenburn, and took a MA degree in 2 July 1615. Hugh Pearson was mentioned in 1742.