- This is a patronymic i.e. 'the son of Adam', itself coming from the Hebrew 'adama' meaning 'red earth'. The first man, according to the Book of Genesis, was so named because God fashioned him out of the earth. Adam (without surname) occurs in the Domesday Book of 1086. The surname first appears in 1281 - Alianor Adam, (Assize Court Rolls of Cheshire). The patronymic form is first recorded in Scotland towards the end of the 13th Century, (see below). One, Colin Adamson was Provost of Aberdeen in 1340 and John Adamson, a Scot, was granted leave to travel overland from England to Bruges in 1433. Patrick Adamson (1537 -1592) M.A. St. Andrews, 1558 and archbishop of St. Andrews, 1576, became James VI's ambassador to Elizabeth in 1583. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Adamsone, which was dated 1296, 'Records of Berewyke County', during the reign of John Balliol of Scotland, 1292 - 1296. 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.
Surnames reference. 2013.