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Peterson Family History

Peterson Name Meaning

English, Scottish, and German: patronymic from Peter. Americanized form of similar surnames of non-English origin (such as Petersen, or Swedish Pettersson). In VT, there are Petersons who were originally called by the French name Beausoleil; in some documentation this was translated fairly literally as Prettysun, which was then assimilated to Peterson.

Source: Dictionary of American Family Names ©2013, Oxford University Press


Similar surnames: Person, Peters, Peerson, Pierson, Petersen, Pearson, Petersohn

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Hint: Try searching for a relative alive in 1940.

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Where is the Peterson family from?

You can see how Peterson families moved over time by selecting different census years. The Peterson family name was found in the USA, the UK, Canada, and Scotland between 1840 and 1920. The most Peterson families were found in the USA in 1920. In 1840 there were 179 Peterson families living in New York. This was about 22% of all the recorded Peterson's in the USA. New York had the highest population of Peterson families in 1840.
Use census records and voter lists to see where families with the Peterson surname lived. Within census records, you can often find information like name of household members, ages, birthplaces, residences, and occupations.

What did your Peterson ancestors do for a living?

In 1940, Farmer and Stenographer were the top reported jobs for men and women in the US named Peterson. 16% of Peterson men worked as a Farmer and 7% of Peterson women worked as a Stenographer. Some less common occupations for Americans named Peterson were Carpenter and Teacher.

View Census data for Peterson | Data not to scale

*We display top occupations by gender to maintain their historical accuracy during times when men and women often performed different jobs.

Top Male Occupations in 1940

  • Farmer
    16%
  • Laborer
    12%
  • Salesman
    4%
  • Carpenter
    4%

Top Female Occupations in 1940

  • Stenographer
    7%
  • Maid
    7%
  • Housewife
    6%
  • Teacher
    6%
Black & white image of two construction labourers

What Peterson family records will you find?

Census Records

There are 1 million census records available for the last name Peterson. Like a window into their day-to-day life, Peterson census records can tell you where and how your ancestors worked, their level of education, veteran status, and more.

Search US census records for Peterson

Passenger Lists

There are 260,000 immigration records available for the last name Peterson. Passenger lists are your ticket to knowing when your ancestors arrived in the USA, and how they made the journey - from the ship name to ports of arrival and departure.

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Draft Cards

There are 233,000 military records available for the last name Peterson. For the veterans among your Peterson ancestors, military collections provide insights into where and when they served, and even physical descriptions.

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You've only scratched the surface of Peterson family history.

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What is the average Peterson lifespan?

Between 1940 and 2004, in the United States, Peterson life expectancy was at its lowest point in 1944, and highest in 2004. The average life expectancy for Peterson in 1940 was 49, and 76 in 2004.

View Social Security Death Index (SSDI) for Peterson

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