Introduction to the Surname
The only Family Reunion of the descendants of George Washington Roberson took place in the summer of 1971. This event was organized by Bill Roberson of Pawhuska, Oklahoma, George W. Roberson's great-grandson. This reunion was attended by a great- great-grandson between his junior and senior year in high school, Roger L. Roberson, Jr. of Ogden, Utah. Roger had the opportunity to meet many different members of the family. He was particularly impressed to meet William B. Roberson, the oldest child of George Washington Roberson and 90 years old at the time.
This event sparked an interest in Roger to find out the background of his given name. As an American, he knew it was European in origin, but did not know what country. He liked the idea it could be Scandinavian, like Anderson or Larson, but did not know for sure. Upon arriving back home in Utah, he visited the Family History Library of the LDS Church in Salt Lake City, but could not find any answers. So, for years he clung to the notion that it could be Scandinavian. With the arrival of his own family beginning in 1980, his interest in family history went into hibernation.
In June 1988, Roger had the privilege of representing his company at an International Mining Congress held in Stockholm, Sweden. This trip provided Roger with an opportunity to check the possibility of Roberson being Scandinavian in origin. As soon as he arrived in Stockholm, one of the largest cities in Scandinavia, he checked the phone book. Not a single Roberson to be found. Finding a surprising number of Swedes who could speak reasonably good English, Roger inquired of several people as to whether the name was familiar. No one had ever heard of it. It was suggested that if it was Scandinavian, it certainly wasn't Norwegian or Finnish. It was not familiar to anyone in Sweden either, leaving only Denmark. Roger just happened to meet the Technical Director of a major Danish company at the conference and inquired of him whether or not he had ever heard the last name of Roberson in Denmark. He never had.
Roger left at the end of the week to spend a weekend in Scotland to visit with his Uncle Bill, the same Bill Roberson who had organized the family reunion years earlier. He lived in Aberdeen, but was away on a trip leaving Roger to spend a day on his own, before he returned home. Roger spent the day driving up into the Scottish Highlands via the Dee River, a beautiful canyon east of Aberdeen. Having spent most of the day seeing the sights and visiting interesting places in the little villages along the way, by late afternoon, Roger found himself on the far side of Scotland [it isn't all that big a country] in a little town called Pitlochry. It was a beautiful little village with many quaint shops of various types inviting people inside. Roger chose a store that had some particularly impressive samples of woolen goods hanging in the window to venture inside. Passing through the door, he noticed an entire wall covered with ties designed around the tartan pattern of all the Scottish clans. One of them was Robertson. He inquired of the elderly lady at the counter as to how one might go about finding out what family names were associated with these Scottish clans.
"Quite simple, sir!" she said, reaching under the counter. Pulling an enormous, very official looking old book from under the counter, she proceeded to dust it off and open it up. Turning to Robertson she showed Roger where it indicated the name Roberson was a permutation of the old Scottish name Robertson.
"Are you sure this is correct?" Roger asked.
"Absolutely!" she said with her prototypical British air of superiority.
She went on to tell Roger the Robertson clan was one of the most distinguished of Scotland and asked if he was going to be in the area a couple of weeks hence. When Roger indicated he was only there for the day, she said that was unfortunate. The Robertson clan was to hold its annual "clan gathering" in two weeks time. She further informed Roger the Robertson clan had been recognized for some great deed of valor in ancient Scottish history resulting in their being awarded a prime part of Scotland for their home land. In fact, Roger was standing in the midst of it and the annual "gathering" took place beside a beautiful lake a few miles to the north of Pitlochry.
Roger thanked her for help, purchased a couple of the different Robertson clan tartan ties and was on his way.
Today, we have an enormous amount of information at our fingertips via the "Information Superhighway," i.e. the Internet. The following URL is highly recommended for those interested in learning more about the Robertson clan origins. It contains a detailed accounting of how the clan got its start. It covers in detail the deed of valor mentioned above.
Clan Donnachaidh - "the Children of Duncan"
So, all evidence available at present indicates the surname Roberson is Scottish in origin. Perhaps the day will come when the family of George Washington Roberson can trace their ancestry all the way back to Scotland.
The author would be most grateful if anyone uncovering more
information would be so kind as to pass it on.
E-mail the Robersons
Author: Roger L. Roberson, Jr. Last updated: 06 December 2009