Atkinson is a surname of English origin. It derives from the pet name Atkin, which is a diminutive of Adam.
The name corresponds to the Scottish name Aitchison. The name Atkinson is particularly common in Northern England. At the time of the British Census of 1881 , its relative frequency was highest in Westmorland (19.8 times the British average), followed by Cumberland, County Durham, Northumberland, Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Lancashire, Cheshire and Rutland. In Ireland the name is common only in Ulster and particularly in counties Antrim and Down. Some Atkinsons are descended from Planters, although the name was recorded in Ireland before that period.
Acheson is a variation of the name in Scotland and the Border region, having been originally spelled Atzinson (with the 'z' being pronounced as 'y', as in yet).