Anderson, Andersson, or Andersen is a surname deriving from a patronymic meaning "son of Anders/Andrew" (itself derived from the Greek name "Andreas", meaning "man" or "manly"). It originated in parallel in Britain and the Nordic countries.
In Scotland, the name first appeared in records of the 14th century as "Fitz Andreu" (meaning son of Andrew), and developed in various forms by the Scottish Gaelic patronymic of "MacGhilleAndrais" which means the servant of St. Andrew. Variations of this name were MacAndrew, Gillanders and Anderson. The name soon migrated to other parts of Scotland due to the popularity of the name "Andrew" as associated with the Patron Saint of Scotland and the largest grouping lies in the north-east of Scotland from the Mearns through Aberdeenshire, Banff and Moray.
In England, the very first recorded spelling of the family name anywhere, is probably that of William Andreu, which was dated 1237, in the ancient charters of the county of Buckinghamshire, England, in the year 1237. Anderson based names are to be found far earlier in English records than both Scottish and Scandinavian records.
Anderson is the ninth most frequent name in Scotland and 43rd-most common surname in the United Kingdom as a whole.
The Scandinavian forms Andersson and Andersen were often rendered as Anderson by immigrants to the English-speaking countries, whereby the latter form became one of the most common American surnames. The name was eleventh most common surname reported in the 1990 United States census, accounting for 0.3% of the population. It is the twelfth most common surname reported in the 2000 United States Census. Anderson is also one of the most common surnames in Canada.
Other spelling variations include: Andison, Andersonne, Andersoun, Andirsoone, Andresoun, Androson, Andirston, Andresson, Andrewson, and Andresen.
Notable persons with the surname Anderson include: