History and Distribution

History of the name

A talk given by George Redmond on the origins and distribution of surnames encouraged me to buy his book on Yorkshire surnames as my own family of Sarginsons are from the East Riding. The entry on page 643 of his book is directly relevant to my own one name study research and includes and entry for the following surname variants: Sargeantson, Sargentson, Sargeson, Sargenson, Sargerson, Sarginson, Sargison, Sarjeantson, Sergeantson, Serginson, Sergison, Serjeantson.

The basic meaning of this surname grouping is ‘son of the sergeant’ although sergeant has a range of interpretations from ‘serving men’ to ‘court official’. Although these surnames existed in the 1881 census in Yorkshire some of them are in very small numbers. I have included the more common ones in the next section on frequency of the name.

Redmond also goes onto mention some aliases which have occurred through the surnames history. I was particularly taken with Sardison as I have recently come across some parish records inSnaith which I wasn’t sure about. He also mentions the Serjeantson family from Hanlith which I have looked into and I’ve included some information about them in the family tree section of this site. There are also Serjeantsons in Lincolnshire which I am working on at the moment.

Frequency of the name

Five maps have been derived from the 1881 census in Great Britain to show the occurrences of: Sarginson’s/Sargeson’s/Sargison’s/Serginson’s/Sergeson’s (source: the British 19thCentury Surname Atlas ver1.20 www.archersoftware.co.uk). These are available as separate pages in the section of the website.

The maps and numbers from the British 19th Century Surname Atlas ver1.20 (www.archersoftware.co.uk) have been analysed further as follows:

County Sarginson Sargison Sargeson Sergison Serginson
Berkshire 0 0 0 7 (14.63) 0
Cambridgeshire 0 14 (18.04) 0 0 0
Cumberland 83 (37.62) 19 (18.05) 2 (1.73) 1 (1.83) 9 (20.17)
Derbyshire 7 (1.74) 0 22 (10.46) 0 0
Devon 0 0 0 4 (3.07) 0
Co. Durham 32 (4.21) 3 (0.83) 0 0 4 (2.6)
Lancashire 27 (0.81) 7 (0.48) 10 (0.63) 18 (2.39) 2 (0.33)
Lincolnshire 3 (0.74) 11 (5.65) 15 (7.03) 0 0
Nottinghamshire 1 (0.29) 14 (8.47) 8 (4.42) 0 0
Northumberland 0 0 0 3 (3.18) 10 (13.02)
Sussex 0 0 0 4 (3.73) 0
Westmoreland 42 (74.39) 0 0 0 0
York 3 (5.95) 0 0 0 0
Yorkshire East Riding 6 (2.18) 2 (1.52) 8 (18.07) 4 (5.86) 13 (23.36)
Yorkshire North Riding 34 (11.43) 28 (3.06) 0 5 (1.05) 14 (23.26)
Yorkshire West Riding 18 (0.94) 0 2 (4.49) 0 0
Other counties Gloucestershire
















Source: British 19th Century Surname Atlas ver1.20 (www.archersoftware.co.uk)

For each variant of the surname in this one name study, the table shows in which counties the name was found in the 1881 census, together with the actual number of people and the Banwell ratio in brackets. In some counties the instances of particular surnames were very low so the figures have not been included in the main table and just the names of the counties in the final row.

There are also two other surname variants which have not been included as they have very low numbers of occurrences in the 1881 census: Sergeson ( 1 person in Lancashire and 1 person in Lincolnshire) and  Sergenson ( 9 people in Lancashire and 3 people in Westmoreland).

The Banwell ratio can vary from 0, meaning there are no instances of the surname in the county, upwards. It indicates how far a surname is above or below the number you would expect from an even distribution of surnames in a county. For example, if the ratio is shown as 2 this means that there are twice as many instances of this surname in a particular county compared with the figure you would expect if surnames were evenly distributed across it. In the above table I have highlighted instances where a surname variant was found in a particular county 5 times or more than would have been expected. In 1881 Sarginson’s and the above surname variants resided in the following counties:

Sarginson Sargison Sargeson Sergison Serginson
Cumberland Cumberland Cumberland
Lincolnshire Lincolnshire
Yorkshire East Riding Yorkshire East Riding Yorkshire East Riding
Yorkshire North Riding Yorkshire North Riding