This interesting and popular surname is of medieval English origin. It is a patronymic form of the given name "Nik(ke)", a short form of Nicholas, itself a derivation of the Greek "Nikolaos". This is a compound of the consisting of the elements "nike", meaning 'victory', plus 'laos' - the people. As 'The Victory People' it is not surprising that the name was popular, as this is how the Ancient Greeks saw themselves. The name is found in pre-Conquest England, one 'Nicolaus' being recorded in the 1086 a.d.Domesday Book as holding land before 1066. The surname is first recorded in the early 14th Century (see below) and is also found as Nickson and Nixson, whilst John Nickeson is listed in the Subsidy Rolls of Warwickshire (1332). The surname is widespread on both sides of the Scottish Border, with William Nycson occupying lands in the district of Ermyldoune, in Liddesdale, Scotland, in 1376. William Nykson was one of the "borowis" for the earl of Douglas's 'bounds of the West March' in 1398. Today, the surname is also numerous in Ulster, since it was established in counties Antrim and Fermanagh at the time of the Plantation of Ulster (1609). One of the earliest settlers in the New World was one Mary Nixon, who is recorded as holding five acres of land in the parish of Christ Church, in the Barbados, in 1678. A Coat of Arms granted to the family is gold, on a red chevron between three red leopards' faces, three suns in splendour proper. The Crest is that of a leopard rampant guardant proper. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Nikkesune, which was dated 1309, in the "Records of the Borough of Nottingham", during the reign of King Edward 11, known as "Edward of Caernafon", 1307 - 1327. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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