THE ROBERT STEPHENSON TRUST, c/o The North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers, Neville Hall, Westgate Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 1SE Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Some notes on the name Stephenson
The name Stephenson is quite widespread in England but it is most prevalent in the
North, particularly Durham and Yorkshire.
The spelling with ph or v was not considered important up to the early nineteenth
century as the entries in the Parish registers were spelled as the vicar or parish
clerk thought fit. It became more important as time went on with better education.
Other spellings that are met with are Steavenson and Steenson. Our family, by tradition,
came from Scotland, where it is fairly common, although there it is more often spelt
with a v.
By the 1880s it is estimated that there were over 2000 nuclear families with the
name Stephenson, consisting of parents and several children. No doubt many of these
can be connected, depending how far back in time one searches. However, there can
be no doubt that in the period of surname formation a number of different families
were formed, as there must have been several Stephens who had sons.
Unfortunately our family cannot be traced with certainty before the marriage of “Old
Bob” Stephenson in 1778, although there have been several suggestions but none proved.
The question of descendants is complicate by the marriage of daughters as they change
their name to that of the husband, and this depends on the proportion of daughters
to sons. In our family there are four times as many descendants who do not have the
name Stephenson than those who do.