These names are a mystery and not necessarily connected with Langton, although possibly they might be. One feature in name development is the drift towards recognisable words. So Langton may have become Langthorn or Langhorn. Lange the original Anglo Saxon for long might catch up with English language development and become long as in Longton and occasionally Longstone. Changes in the first and second parts of names can further cement changes, because in combination they make sense hence Longhorn and Longthorn. These changes are sometimes called word capture where a familiar word captures a similar sound. Other examples of this seem to be Lamp and Lamb as in Lampton, Lambson, Lambden. It is possible these names derived from Langton but they could just as well have another origin. .

A further development may be that the ending –ton may change to the more familiar ending –son. This may have occurred in Lampson, Lanson, Lambson, Lainson and Linson. However, it is also possible that these names are actually patronymics similar to Johnson, Richardson, Jackson. There is of course an obvious difficulty in working out what might be the original form of Lamp, Lan, Lamb, Lain and Lin. We can be fairly certain that a Lambson is not descended from someone called Lamb. The wool can’t be pulled over our eyes with that one.

This group of names whilst being English in form do not seem to be from England in origin or at least they scarcely exist. In the English 1881 census there were a mere 72 Lamptons, 54 Lampsons, 69 Lansons, 3 Linsons, no Lamsons, no Lambsons, and no Lainsons. The 72 Lamptons are widely and thinly scattered looking like drifts from several similar names. The 69 Lansons have a similar distribution to Langton with most in Yorkshire and Lancashire so some but certainly not all may have drifted from Langton. The 54 Lampsons seem to have no evident distribution pattern other than very thin, although 20 of them are resident in London. It obviously represents drift from other names.

It would therefore be easy to write these names off but the USA evidence throws up further questions. Firstly these hardly existent names in England have modern day totals in USA of Lampton 1,172, Lampson 912, Lanson 373, Lamson 2,705 Lambson 705, Lainson 133 and Linson 1,338. These hardly existent names seem to have been gathering adherents in America. Lampton seems to have a focus in the south with Mississippi 172, Louisiana 107, Kentucky 95, Indiana 94, Texas 86, Missouri 83. The name could have captured Langdons, Langtons or indeed other names. Lampson although sounding similar has more of a northern distribution California 123, Texas 85, Washington 82, Michigan 54, Illinois 53, Kansas 33, north Dakota 6 South Dakota 7. The name could have drifted from Langton but there are other explanations. Lanson is a puzzle, whilst it has Florida 46, Louisiana 42, Californis 42 and New York 35 it also has New England concentrations in Massachusetts 31 and Connecticut 11 suggesting it is an early name. The similar Lamson also shows this pattern. Whilst having California 236, Florida 172, Ohio 171 and Michigan 143, it has a heavy New England presence Massachusetts 187, Vermont 135, New Hampshire 75, Connecticut 105. It looks like Lamson/Lanson are variants, effectively one name, but are they derived from Langton or elsewhere? There is no easy answer. .

Lambson although sounding similar to Lanson has a different distribution which is markedly western perhaps suggesting that the name movement may have been from Lan to Lam to Lamb. Utah 159, Arizona 85, California 82, Idaho 77, Washington 46, New Mexico 41, Montana 14. Lainson distribution is covered in a different article. Linson seems to have a bit of everything and may have drifted from Linton: California 130, Texas 121, Ohio 118, Indiana 88, Missouri 80, New Mexico 35, Louisiana 70, Arkansas 40. .

So if you have one of these names it may be a bit of a nightmare tracing back perhaps through several layers of name changes. The good news is that DNA doesn’t lie. If you have results send them in. You may be lucky enough to get a Langton match.

Lambden doesn’t entirely belong with the rest of these names, it behaves differently and I also have a personal interest in this name which whilst having some similarities with Langton also has marked differences. One concentration of Lambden is the small village of Aldbourn in Wiltshire where there were 8 Lambdens in 1881. The parish church was also the scene of a seventeenth century Langton marriage, the bride being a possible sister of my earliest known ancestor William Langton of Newbury. Lambden had 279 people in the UK in 1881 with the main concentrations in Hampshire, Berkshire, Wiltshire and London. Its distribution is not scattered but localised suggesting it may have its own origin and not be derived from another name. The highest numbers occur in Overton Hampshire 30, but it also has a high frequency in Berkshire in Reading, Sulham, Sulhampstead Banister and Streatley. In the USA the name looks a mixture of early and late settlement and there are only 114 Lamdens. It looks as if there were early settlements of Lambdens in Maryland 26 and Delaware 18. It looks as if the name lost out to other names before late settlement in Texas 23, California 21, Colorado 7, New Mexico 2. So if you are a USA Lambden you are probably descended from a long line of Lambdens because the drift was not into your surname but away from it. So Lambdens of both UK and USA if you have DNA results send them in. .

Finally, I can’t close without a word about Australia. There are 41 Lamptons, 2 Lampsons, 24 Lansons and 22 Lamsons. There are no Lambsons or Linsons. There are 47 Lainsons and a bumper crop of 132 Lambdens more than in the USA. I’m sure you can find your way to the DNA articles and the DNA project.