Select Hodgson Surname Genealogy

Here are some Hodgson stories and accounts over the years:

Hodgson Origins

The surname authority P. H. Reaney has stated 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 as well. 

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. 

It was Henry Barber, in two editions of his major work on British surnames in 1894, who in fact first advanced the idea Hodgson may have derived from the Old Norse Oddgeir-son.  Charles Bardsley in 1901 took a similar line, offering multiple explanations including "son of Roger" but also giving due prominence to the possibility of Old Norse origins. 

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 Y-DNA is roughly one-third Norse and 5-10 per cent Danish, most of the remainder being similar to indigenous British or Irish.  The proportion of Norse blood among Hodgsons is much higher than in the British population as a whole.  Stephen Oppenheimer has estimated that about 6 per cent of Y-DNA in the British Isles is of Norwegian origin.  The proportion of Hodgsons with Norse paternal ancestry is in fact closer to that found on Shetland and Orkney, known areas for Norse settlement.

The Hodgson 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. 

Heraldic records confirm this coat of arms was displayed by the Hodgsons of Hebburn, a mine-owning Catholic family living in NE England in the 16th and 17th centuries.  This same coat of arms is associated with other Hodgson families, including the Hodgsons of West Keal in Lincolnshire, the Hodgsons of Bascodyke in Cumberland, the Hodshons of Amsterdam, and with Thomas Hodgson, a Liverpool merchant and slave trader, and the owner of a mill in Caton, Lancashire.

Christopher Hodgson the Catholic Priest

Christopher Hodgson was a Catholic priest who played a role in the Babington Plot during Elizabethan times.  The plot was a failure and eighteen of the main conspirators were hung, drawn, and quartered in London in 1586. 

The records concerning his ordination suggest that Christopher Hodgson was born in 1561.  Surviving letters in the English State Papers confirm that his father was also called Christopher.  Christopher the elder was a tenant farmer in Altham in Lancashire where he died in 1590.  Parish records show the baptism of a Christopher Hodgson, son of Christopher Hodgson, in Kendal in Westmorland in 1561.  If this record applies to the future priest, then Christopher would have moved from Kendal to Altham when he was a young boy. 

Hodgson was a committed Roman Catholic, in defiance of the Elizabethan authorities.  But he clashed with the Jesuits and like several other English Catholics he opposed a Spanish invasion.  He was a close friend of Gilbert Gifford and an acquaintance of Charles Neville, the 6th Earl of Westmoreland, in  exile.

George Hodson and Robert Hodgson, Quakers in Pennsylvania

George Hodson was thought to have been eldest son of the Rev. Robert Hodgson and the grandson of Quaker immigrant Robert Hodgson (although other lines have been suggested as well).  He was left with no inheritance when he eloped with Mary Thatcher, also a Quaker, in 1729 without the approval of either his father or that of the Chester Meeting House.  Both were disowned. 

George and his wife Mary lived in Chester county, Pennsylvania for many years before, in 1750, moving with their seven children and settling in the Quaker stronghold of Guilford (later Rowan) county in North Carolina.  His brother Robert Hodgson joined them in 1756.  Cousins of Mary had previously scouted the Piedmont area and returned with glowing reports of the region.  This encouraged George and Mary, perhaps feeling the effects of a lack of inheritance, to move there.

Adam Hodgson - Social Reformer and Social Conservative

Adam Hodgson was the second son of the Liverpool slave trader Thomas Hodgson.  He formed the cotton broking partnership of Hodgson and Ryley in Liverpool in 1824 which continued throughout his life.  Despite his involvement in brokering slave grown cotton he became a founder member of the Liverpool Anti-slavery Society in 1822.  He was also a founding member of the board of the Liverpool to Manchester Railroad and of the Bank of Liverpool. 

He resigned from the railway board over the issue of Sunday working and this evangelical piety was reflected in the many philanthropic organizations in which he was involved.  He was appointed a magistrate for the county and became involved, alongside the son of the blind Liverpool poet Edward Rushton, in many of the leading issues of the day - including the re-organization of the Liverpool workhouse which had briefly become notorious as the biggest brothel in England. He also committed himself to the health of towns movement. 

Liverpool experienced a huge influx of Irish poor during the Irish Famine and this brought out the right wing social conservative side of Hodgson.  Hodgson and Rushton were active in suppressing the Chartist rebellion of the time.  The prominence of the Irish Question then and the attempts to disestablish the Anglican Church led Hodgson to become increasingly associated with the Rev Hugh McNeile’s ultra-Tory anti-catholicism. Following the liberation of the Empire slaves in 1838 both he and McNeile ceased to attend anti-slavery meetings.

Hodgson Convicts in Australia

There were 41 convicts, including four women, recorded as being transported to Australia - starting with John Hodgson in 1792 and ending with another John Hodgson in 1864.  They came mostly from the north of England.

Convict Origin in England
Durham and Northumberland
Cumberland and Westmoreland

Herbert Hodgson and Impressions of War

Born in South London in 1893, Herbert Hodgson served from 1915 to 1918 in France and Belgium in the First World War.  His account of life and death in the trenches, Impressions of War, is moving and forceful.  It is one of the few memoirs of the First World War that was not written by an officer and it provides a unique point of view from the other ranks.  The opening chapter of this book also gives a vivid account of life a century ago in the poorer areas of the capital. 

In a battle in April 1918 he found a mud-encrusted Bible in a shell hole. Amazingly, 92 years later, the original owner of this Bible was traced back to Private Richard Cook from New Zealand. 

Hodgson was by trade a printer.  From 1923 to 1926 he printed the extremely rare subscribers’ edition of T. E. Lawrence’s Seven Pillars of Wisdom.  Copies of this work now attract prices of up to US$80,000 each.

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