John is Head of the House of Kilwinnet, his coat of arms are recorded in Lyon Court.

The Wilson family may have moved from Dunbartonshire to Paisley sometime in the early 1700s, and from there, to Mauchline in Ayrshire, where they lived for a further 150 years. From Mauchline, John's great-grandfather then settled at Strathaven for a short period before finally settling in Campsie parish in the 1920's. Other family members still live in the parish.



The surname of Wilson means 'son of Will', Will being a shortened form of the personal name William, derived from the Germanic word 'Willahelm' later Normanised. William, along with other personal names of Continental origin, were introduced into Britain around the 11th century by William the Conqueror and his ruling Norman families. The name became popular when William the Conqueror became William I, the first Norman king of England.

In Scotland, William as a personal name, arrived by the reign of one, King William the Lion (1165-1214), when many of King WilliaM'S abbots, bishops, a chamberlain, a chancellor and a sheriff - all had the personal name, William. The name soon found its way into the Gaelic-speaking Scottish Highlands where it became 'Uilleam' for William and 'MacUilleam' for the son of William. Some Highland MacUilleams may have Anglicized their surname to Wilson on later settling in the Scottish Lowlands. Recent DNA research indicates a possible Highland or Irish Celtic ancestry for the LATER House of Wilson of Kilwinnet. The family's earliest origins may stem from the early Beaker Peoples of early Europe.

With the arrival of surnames in Scotland, not all of them were hereditary in the beginning, for example, a John Thomson may have taken his father's Christian name Thomas for his surname, indicating that he is: John, son of Thomas. This form of naming custom is called patronymic - i.e. a surname derived from the father's personal name with 'son' added on the end. In fact, you could have various men from one extended family ending up with different fixed surnames in later generations, all stemming from various patronymic names used earlier within that family. The result of family individuals adopting fixed surnames at different periods may have occurred over two or three generations. One particular family which may have been using the personal names: William, Robert, John and Thomas, could have ended up with any of the following names as patronymic-based surnames - Wilson, Robertson, Johnston, and Thomson - all becoming their fixed surnames. The result being that today, all of their blood descendants could be quite possibly bearing different fixed surnames, while all having a common genetic ancestor.

And of course, the same form of surnames would have very likely evolved independently in other unrelated Scottish families producing similar surnames which today confuse some researchers starting out in their family history. The basic rule for those researching their own particular Wilson family is to be aware that the various Wilson families do not share one common ancestor in Britain. In Scotland, they are essentially a noble NAME consisting of an unknown number of unrelated Wilson families.

In Scotland, some people like to call all of the Wilsons together as being a clan for fun, but really, the proper form is to call them a NAME. 

The Scottish Wilsons do not have a Chief of the Name and Arms (or Clan), but each noble family, or, territorial house, within the Name has a Head of house or family.

 The Wilsons have been mistakenly associated with Clan Gunn, but this is essentially nothing more than a Victorian myth, created to sell tartans and tartan goods. If Wilsons were indeed connected to this clan, it would only refer to Caithness Wilsons. For those interested in Clan Gunn septs, please visit: