|MaggsMotto: Cura pii diis suntTranslation: Pious men are a care to the godsThis surname is derived from the name of an ancestor. ‘the son of Margaret,’ from the nick. Magg. The mag-pie still preserves the memory of this homely name.
This unusual name is of early medieval English origin, and is one of the rare group of modern surname classed as “metronymics”, where the original surname derived from the name of the first bearer’s mother, the majority of surnames being created from patronymics, that is, through the female side. In this instance, Megson means the “son of Megg”, itself a medieval female given name, a short, “pet” form of “Margaret”, a very popular name in the Middle Ages in England which generated a wide variety of surnames. The ultimate origin of Margaret is believed to be Persian, borrowed into Greek and Latin as “Margarita”, meaning “a pearl”, and the name was borne by several early Christian saints in Europe, helping to spread its popularity. Other metronymics from this source include Maggs, Magson, Moxson, Moxon, Moxham and Mox(s)om. Recordings from London Church Registers include: the christening of Ann Megson at St. Dunstan’s, Stepney, on February 22nd 1594; the christening of John, son of Robert Megson, on June 15th 1597, also at St. Dunstan’s, Stepney; and the marriage of Thomas Megson and Mary Duke on February 25th 1665, at Allhallows, London Wall. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Adam Meggesone, which was dated 1332, in the “Subsidy Rolls of Cumberland”, during the reign of King Edward 11, known as “The Father of the Navy”, 1327 – 1377. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to “develop” often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.