Surname of the Month - Anderson

Published: 22nd July 2014


Origin of Anderson

Most surnames originating in Shetland were patronymic - the children taking their father's forename with -son added to it. Andersons are descended from men called Andrew.

Anderson in Shetland

The surname is common and there are many, unrelated, Anderson families in Shetland. It is widely distributed throughout the isles.


In 1881 there were 951people recorded in Shetland with the surname Anderson, being nearly three percent of the population.

Notable Andersons

Arthur Anderson was born in the Bod of Gremista in 1792. He was educated in Lerwick and joined the Royal Navy as a midshipman. Promotion was hard to find so he switched to being a Captain's clerk. At the end of the Napoleonic Wars he entered business and with Wilcox formed a company which is now internationally famous - P&O. He was MP for Orkney and Shetland for some years. Throughout his life he sought to improve the circumstances in Shetland, creating work for fishermen and late in life funding the building of alms houses and the secondary school, both of which still bear his name.


Arthur Anderson by John Nicolson

Broken Lights and Auld Mansie's Crö both by Basil Ramsay Anderson

Shetland Sketches in Prose and Verse by John Anderson

Shetland Surnames by Dr. Alan Beattie