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Nelson Family History

Nelson Name Meaning

English and Scottish: patronymic from the medieval personal name Nel or Neal, Anglo-Scandinavian forms of the Gaelic name Niall (see Neill). This was adopted by the Scandinavians in the form Njal and was introduced into northern England and East Anglia by them, rather than being taken directly from Gaelic. Americanized spelling of the like-sounding Scandinavian names Nilsen, Nielsen, and Nilsson.

Source: Dictionary of American Family Names ©2013, Oxford University Press


Similar surnames: Kelson, Belson, Neilson, Elson, Melson, Nilson, Nelon, Yelton, Merson

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Hint: Try searching for a relative alive in 1940.

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Where is the Nelson family from?

You can see how Nelson families moved over time by selecting different census years. The Nelson family name was found in the USA, the UK, Canada, and Scotland between 1840 and 1920. The most Nelson families were found in the USA in 1920. In 1911 there were 1,988 Nelson families living in Ontario. This was about 33% of all the recorded Nelson's in Canada. Ontario had the highest population of Nelson families in 1911.
Use census records and voter lists to see where families with the Nelson surname lived. Within census records, you can often find information like name of household members, ages, birthplaces, residences, and occupations.

What did your Nelson ancestors do for a living?

In 1921, Farmer and Housekeeper were the top reported jobs for men and women in the CA named Nelson. 43% of Nelson men worked as a Farmer and 13% of Nelson women worked as a Housekeeper. Some less common occupations for Americans named Nelson were Carpenter and Servant.

View Census data for Nelson | Data not to scale

*We display top occupations by gender to maintain their historical accuracy during times when men and women often performed different jobs.

Top Male Occupations in 1921

  • Farmer
    43%
  • Labourer
    9%
  • Laborer
    7%
  • Carpenter
    3%

Top Female Occupations in 1921

  • Housekeeper
    13%
  • Student
    9%
  • Farmer
    9%
  • Servant
    7%
Black & white image of two construction labourers

What Nelson family records will you find?

Census Records

There are 2 million census records available for the last name Nelson. Like a window into their day-to-day life, Nelson census records can tell you where and how your ancestors worked, their level of education, veteran status, and more.

Search Canadian census records for Nelson

Passenger Lists

There are 287,000 immigration records available for the last name Nelson. Passenger lists are your ticket to knowing when your ancestors arrived in Canada, and how they made the journey - from the ship name to ports of arrival and departure.

View all Nelson immigration records

Draft Cards

There are 379,000 military records available for the last name Nelson. For the veterans among your Nelson ancestors, military collections provide insights into where and when they served, and even physical descriptions.

View all Nelson military records

You've only scratched the surface of Nelson family history.

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What is the average Nelson lifespan?

Between 1940 and 2004, in the United States, Nelson life expectancy was at its lowest point in 1944, and highest in 1998. The average life expectancy for Nelson in 1940 was 36, and 75 in 2004.

View Social Security Death Index (SSDI) for Nelson

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