Common Scottish surname, also appears as Paterson, Pattison, Patrickson and Patersen.
A patronymic surname literally meaning 'Son of Patrick'. The name Patrick is from the Latin 'Patricius' and means 'nobleman'. This form of the name is from the Scottish lowlands, but Highland names like MacPhadrick, MacFeat and MacPhater and the Galloway names MacFetridge and MacPhetruis (meaning son of Peter) were also anglicised as Patterson.
According to a 1996 survey it was the 354th most popular surname in England and Wales and the 18th most popular in Scotland.
The earliest reference to the name was in the Lord High Treasurer's Accounts, 1533. Duncan Paterson was implicated with other MacLarens in the murder of the Vicar of Balquhidder in 1531.
In the history of Clan MacLaren, Patterson is listed as the only true Sept of the MacLaren Clan. The story goes that there was an outstanding Blacksmith named Patterson who was in great demand for his services. Clan MacLaren won the bidding war and Patterson became a Sept of Clan MacLaren. At the height of the MacLaren Clan's reputation as a waring tribe it was the Patterson family who provided the weaponry.
A Few Famous Pat(t)ersons: