Saturday, September 15, 2012

Lawson

Boyband Lawson - Andy, Adam Joel and Ryan

I always feel a sense of serendipity when a concept you hadn't heard or noticed before suddenly appears a couple of times in quick succession. That is how I felt this week with Lawson. Firstly, I've just finished reading Stephen King's "The Stand" this week, and was struck by how I got almost all of the way through the book before realising that the character Larry's name was actually short for Lawson, not short for Lawrence or even a name by itself. I was already thinking about looking at Lawson further, when I'm in the toilets at the movies last night and in walk two women and one is talking about her son Lawson. I figured it must be a sign.

Lawson started as a surname, meaning 'Man from Laurentum' after the town Laurentum in Italy that was famous for it's Laurel trees. It was thought to have been brought to England and Scotland in the 12th century by crusaders as Lawrence. This would be why Lawson (as a given name) is now seen as on Old English name meaning 'son of Lawrence'.

Lawson has been in use as a first name since 1850, but has been more commonly known as the surname of some great people. Here in Australia the name is synonymous with the legendary Henry Lawson, a poet and short story writer from the late 1800's to early 1900's. Other famous Lawsons include:

Henry Lawson
  • Louisa Lawson, Australian writer and suffragist, and mother of Henry Lawson
  • English politician Nigel Lawson
  • American four time Grand Prix motorcycle racing World Champion Eddie Lawson
  • British explorer, naturalist and writer John Lawson
  • 17th Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, Canada, Frank Ray Lawson OBE
  • Creator of the Lawson criterion, British engineer and physicist John David Lawson FRS
  • British food writer and broadcaster, Nigella Lawson
  • Josh Lawson, current Australian actor
  • rising UK boyband Lawson

Lawson feels right at home with today's popular surnames, and it's modern sound belies it's strong history. For boys, it's a less popular alternative for people who like the look of Lawrence but want a slightly cooler feel. Popular nicknames are Lars, Laz, Larry and Law -which was apparently an extremely popular nickname in medieval times. I actually quite like the nickname Law, it's sounds like a strong nickname for a boy.

Some girls are now being given the name Lawson too. I personally think it would be a little harder for a girl to wear the name Lawson, but it could be done. I personally would go for a softer nickname though, like Lacy or Lo.

In the US the name is yet to crack the top 1000 for girls, whereas Lawson sat at #582 for boys in 2011. This makes it one of those great not-unheard-of-but not-too-popular names. As of yet it seems to be quite rare in Australia, but I think it would be a great name if you want something to honour your Australian heritage without being too obvious.




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