The I’Anson Name


The Oldest Written Form of Our Name
The Latin-alphabet letters I and J were not systematically distinguished until the 17th century.  In early documents, therefore, the letters I and J were interchangeable, thus the name IANSON or I’Anson appeared as Janson or J’anson. Transcribers of early documents, usually people unfamiliar with the name and its pronunciation, almost invariably write the J instead of the I, indeed, a few even use an L (L’anson), assuming the name to be French.  At least one branch of the family officially adopted the name Janson when they moved to London from Yorkshire.

Pronunciation seems to have been the cause of some variations in the spelling of our name: some branches of the family say “Eye -anson”, some “EEan-son” and some “Ine-son”.  In an age of general illiteracy it would have been the job of the cleric of the parish church to try to write the name appropriately, based on the pronunciation.

Thus, we find our family referred to variously as Janson, Jansonn, Jansonne, Jainso, Jenson, Ienson, Ianson, Eyanson, Ainson, Ineson, Hineson, Hinson, Iveson – – and more.  This makes the researching of the family ancestors a difficult task.

We have yet to determine the source of the name, but we generally think that it is of Scandinavian origin, possibly a contraction of a name like Johannson (a very common Scandinavian name, akin to Johnson).  The name JANSON is found in the Netherlands and even in France (though it is rare there, probably arriving with the Norse settlers who became the Normans).  Bryan I’Anson, in his “History of the I’Anson Family” (1915), claims a French noble origin, but this seems unlikely and his sources for this assertion have not yet been found.  In the Orkneys there are many with the name EUNSON that claim Viking ancestry, and this name, too, may relate to ours.

The biggest mystery is where the apostrophe came from.  It seems to have been used consistently by the literate members of the family in the 17th century.  Could this have been its original spelling? — or an aid to correct pronunciation? — or just an affectation?
quoted from
This unusual surname is English, but is said to be cognate with the Scottish patronymics Ianson and Iainson.
It derives from the male given name Iain, from the Gaelic Eoin, itself a form of the Hebrew John.
Ian or Iain is also pronounced like Jan, the Dutch version of John, and consequently Janson and I’anson frequently appear together in the same records. Examples include John Janson or I’anson, in the Register of the Freemen of the city of York, dated 1569 to 1673.
Examples of recordings include that on January 24th 1608, of Margaret Ianson, who was christened at Kendal in Westmorland, and on December 24th 1759, John I’anson and Jane Evans who were married at St. Mary’s, Nottingham.
John Bankes I’anson, the rector of Corfe Castle in Dorset, died on October 28th 1799.
A coat of arms granted to the I’anson family has the blazon of a shield divided quarterly azure and red, charged with a cross patonce and a gold chief.
The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of James I’anson, given as being a sea captain.
This is dated 1509, in the records of Hawkeswell, in Yorkshire, during the reign of King Henry V111th,1509 – 1547.