Did you know that “Smith” is the most common American surname? It occurred over 2.442 million times in the 2010 US Census returns (1).
America is a diverse country, and most last names or surnames have been derived from places, cultures, occupations, and heritages of people who have settled there over the years.
The top-ranking surnames are primarily of English, Irish, and Scottish origins since most settlers came from these places.
Although the list of the common American surnames can be nearly endless, below is a list of the 200 most common American surnames or last names with meanings.
200 Common American Surnames Or Last Names, With Meanings
Derived from the Middle English word Abbeye, the last name Abbey is used for someone living in or near an abbey, or sometimes, for someone who works in an abbey.
The surname Abbott is an English and Scottish name that refers to an “abbot” or a “priest.” It originated as an occupational name for a priest or head of a monastery.
This Anglo Scottish surname has a deep history. It is derived from the Hebrew given name “Hebel” meaning breath or vapor and was used as a name of endearment. Abel was also the second son of Adam and Eve.
Of Norman origin, this surname was brought to England with the Norman conquest of 1066. The Abney family lived in or near the settlement of Abney in Derbyshire. The surname is also pretty popular in the US.
This last name is derived from the Hebrew name Abram, meaning “father of a multitude of nations.” Abram is known to Jews as the founding father of the Jewish people.
This name is patronymic from the surname Abraham and means “father of the nation.” The first instance of the use of the name dates to ancient Scotland.
Another form of the Hebrew name Abraham, this is a popular Christian last name prevalent in the Welsh areas, and now, in the US.
A patronymic name of Abraham, the surname, Abramson, was first found in Balfeth, Scotland, in 1163. Some of the Abramson families later migrated to Ireland, and the last name eventually spread to other parts of the world.
Acker, like many other English last names, is a topographical name meaning “field.” It is also related to the word “acre.”
Since the name Acker comes from the German and Old English word meaning “ploughed field,” the last name Ackerman means “ploughman.” Did you know that Willie Ackerman was a famous American drummer who performed with legends such as Johnny Cash and Louis Armstrong?
This Scottish and northern Irish name is also spelled as Edzear, another form of the name Edgar, which means prosperity. A man known as James Adair (c. 1709 to c.1783), born in Northern Ireland, was an Indian trader who emigrated to the US.
The Book of Genesis states that Adam was the first man on earth, while in Hebrew, the word “adama” means “earth.” The “s” ending generally indicates a patronymic surname, meaning “son of Adam.” Adams is the 39th most popular surname in the United States. One of the most well-known Adams of our time is Bryan Adams!
The patronymic surname means “son of Adam.”
The surname Adcock was first known to have been used in Yorkshire county in England, before the Norman conquest, around 1066 A.D. It is an ancient Anglo-Saxon surname derived from a baptismal name meaning “Adam.”
This last name means “son of Adam.” One famous personality with this surname was Joseph Addison (1672-1719), a distinguished essayist, poet, and statesman who formed friendships with Jonathan Swift and Richard Steel.
The surname Adkins was first found in Westmorland and Northumberland and dates back to the ancient Anglo Saxon period. It is a derivative of the name “Adams,” meaning “son of Adam.” A famous personality with this surname is the English singer and songwriter Adele.
Aiken is a Scottish-Irish surname used as a variant of the original Scottish name “Aitken.” It is also a derivative of the last name “Adams.”
The last name Ainsworth has its origins in the Northwest of England. The Anglo-Saxon word “worth” means “enclosure,” while “ain” is speculated to have been someone’s name. It is also believed to be a habitational name for a village near Manchester.
This great ancient last name is derived from the Greek word “Alexandros,” meaning “defender of men.” Alexander the Great was one of the most famous bearers of this name. This surname is also traditionally found in the highland regions of Scotland.
A common surname around England, Wales, and Scotland, the surname Allen also holds several notable entries in the British “Dictionary of National Biography.” Originally a Celtic surname from Ireland, Allen is the 41st most common surname in England. The most well-known bearer of this last name is the American film director Woody Allen.
This last name is of English and Scottish origin, meaning “son of Andrew,” which in itself is derived from the Greek word “Andreas” meaning “man” or “manly.” Anderson is the eighth most common surname in Scotland and 52nd most common in England.
It is a surname of Hebrew origin. Aaron is also the elder brother of Moses. In some countries, Aaron is also a personal name, not necessarily of Jewish descent.
Of Anglo-Saxon origin, the name Babcock comes from the personal name Bartholomew. It is also a diminutive name of the name Babb. The medieval female given name for Babb was Barbara, derived from the Greek word “barbaros,” meaning foreigner.
The last name, Bailey, is a status name for a steward or an official. It comes from the Latin word “baiulus,” meaning porter, carrier, or attendant. It is also a topographical name for someone who lived near the outer walls of a castle. A famous personality with the surname Bailey is the Australian cricketer George Bailey.
This Scottish surname means “bones.” The earliest records of settlers with this surname in the United States date back to the 17th century.
The surname Baker has old English origins dating back to the 8th century. While this is an occupational surname, it does not always refer to a baker. During the 19th century in England, this surname became the most popular name in the country owing to the explorer Sir Samuel Baker.
This name is derived from the German name Baldavin, meaning “bold or brave friend.’ It was also a personal name for several brave crusaders during the 12th century. The most popular Baldwin is the American novelist James Baldwin, who explored racial and sexual discrimination in his works.
Of Old English origin, the last name ”Bancroft” means “field of beans.”
It is derived from the Anglo-Norman French word “barbier,” meaning “beard.” In medieval times, a barber was not only skilled in cutting hair and shaving, but also acted as a tooth puller and a surgeon.
The surname is derived from the Roman personal name “Benedictus,” meaning blessed. A famous reference to the surname Bennet can be found in Jane Austen’s novel Pride and Prejudice.
This family name of English origin is a locational name for a small village near Lancashire.
The name Blakesley dates back to the Anglo-Saxon period. The name is derived from “Blæcleah,” meaning “dull wood” or “dim clearing.” It is also a locational name for a village in West Northamptonshire, England.
It is a topographical name from any of the various places named Bolton in northern England, particularly the one in Lancashire. A famous person with this surname was Michael Bolton, the famous American rockstar.
This name is common in a lot of European countries. It is derived from the Anglo-Saxon name “Bonde” or “Bonda” and was a status surname for a farmer. The most common reference to this surname in pop culture is of the famous action thriller hero James Bond.
This last name is found among the aristocrats in Germany, England, Scotland, and the US. It is a topographical surname for someone who lives close to a brook.
Brown is believed to be the second most common surname in Canada and Scotland, third most common in Australia and the UK,and fourth most common in the US. While it mainly refers to someone who has a brown complexion or hair, it is also used to refer to someone who generally wears brown clothing.
Of English and Irish origin, Butler was an occupational name derived from the Norman French word “butiller” meaning “wine steward,” and ultimately from the Latin word “butticula,” meaning “bottle.” A famous bearer of this surname is the fictional character Rhett Butler in Margaret Mitchell’s novel Gone with the Wind.
It is a locational name from any of the places with this name in England and Scotland. It generally refers to a place with cold streams or springs.
Derived from Gaelic roots, it was usually used as a nickname to mean “crooked mouth.” The Campbell clan is considered to be one of the most influential Highland clans in Scotland.
The Anglo-Saxon name dates back to the pre 7th century. It is derived from “Karlmann” or “Jarlmann,” which are personal and baptismal names of endearment.
An ancient name, Carter is thought to be originally derived from the Celtic word “cairt,” meaning “cart.” It is generally an occupational name for a transporter of goods. One famous Carter is the 39th President of the United States, Jimmy Carter.
Castillo, the 25th most common Hispanic surname, often denoted someone who lived at or near a large fortified building or a worker in a castle. It is derived from castillo (Latin castellum), meaning “castle.”
This English surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin and means “town or village of Chad.”
An English surname, Chambers is an occupational surname for a man working in his lord’s private chambers.
The name is of French and English origin and is an occupational name for a clergyman endowed to sing mass daily on behalf of the souls of the dead. The most famous bearer of this last name was the legendary comedian Charlie Chaplin.
This long-established surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin and is a medieval occupational name for a scribe or secretary or a member of a minor religious order. Clark evolved from the word “clerk.”
It is apatronymic surname based on the English and Scottish name Colin, a dimunitive English form of Nicholas. Notable bearers of this name are English musician Phil Collins and his celebrity daughter Lily Collins.
This interesting and unusual medieval English name is a metonymic occupational name given to someone who looked after young horses.
With forty entries in the “Dictionary of National Biography,” this distinguished surname is derived from the Old English word “coc” and is an occupational name for a cook or seller of cooked meats. A famous bearer of the name is the current CEO of Apple, Tim Cook.
Derived from the German word “kuper” or “kup,” meaning container, Cooper usually referred to makers of tubs, barrels, containers, etc., over the centuries. However, as they all do, the last name has gone through variations and is now no longer only an occupational name. Television journalist Anderson Cooper is a famous holder of this surname.
This unique name is of Norman origin and dates back to the Norman conquest of 1066. It can be interpreted as either a topographical last name for people living in places called Courtenay or a nickname for a courtier with a short nose, with “court” meaning short and “nes” meaning nose.
This name could refer to anyone living near the hills or a pet name of endearment for someone who was a natural leader or an aggressive riser. A famous TV personality with this surname is the Friend’s star, Courtney Cox.
With different spellings, this English-origin surname dates back to pre 6th century. A well-known bearer of this name is the fictional character Lara Croft of the video game franchise Tomb Raider.
This last name is an ancient Roman name derived from the word ‘Crucis’ meaning ‘cross.’ The Hollywood actors Tom Cruz and Penelope Cruz carry this surname.
A patronymic derivative of the male given name David, this last name holds has notable entries in the “Dictionary of National Biography.” The name is of Welsh origins and means “son of David.” Davis is the 7th most common surname in the United States. A legendary bearer of this name is Jazz musician Miles Davis.
It is a locational name from any of the places with the same name and means “from the valley town.” A notable bearer of the surname was the English chemist and physicist John Dalton (1766-1844).
A frequently found surname of Spanish origin, it was first found in the Kingdom of Castile, where the name originated in the Visigoth period. The name accounts for about 0.17% of the Spanish population. Famous personalities with this surname are the Hollywood star Cameron Diaz and UFC fighter Nate Diaz.
This is one of the many patronymic forms of the name Richard. The name translates as brave and powerful. Charles Dickens was one of the most famous people with this last name.
It is derived from the Old English word “Eadgar,” and is composed of the elements “ead,” meaning “prosperity or fortune,” and “gar,” meaning “spear.”
It is an English surname, meaning “Edie’s son.” This last name was borne by the inventor of the light bulb, Thomas Alva Edison.
A patronymic surname meaning “son of Edward,” this last name dates back to pre 7th century. It is the 14th most common surname in England.
The surname is of Scottish and English origins and is derived from Ellis or Elias, meaning “gracious of God.”
Of Welsh origin, this name is a patronymic name meaning “son of Evan.” The surname Evans in the modern world takes many different forms, including Evans, Evins, and Evance. It is the 8th most common surname in the UK.
This locational name has its origins in Fairburn Yorkshire. It includes the elements “fearn,” meaning “fern” and “burna,” meaning stream, and thus, it means “stream by which ferns grew.”
This surname has two distinct possible sources, the first and most likely being the Old French occupational name for a keeper or trainer of hawks. The derivation is from the French word fau(l)connier, which means one who hunts falcons or follows hawks as a sport.
It is an occupational name for a professional player of the fiddle. The surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin.
Fisher is an occupational name borne by someone who fished for a living. It is also an Irish name given to people who lived near a body of water. A famous bearer of this last name is the Star Wars actor Late Carrie Fisher.
Fleming is an Old French surname meaning a “Flemish person.” It originated amongst the industrious people of Flanders. The name was brought to Ireland by the Anglo-Norman settlers following the Strongbow-led invasions of 1171 and 1172.
The English, Scottish, and Irish origin-name is an occupational name for an arrowsmith or seller of arrows.
This is an Italian, Spanish, French and Portuguese surname, although with some Germanic associations. It is the plural form of “flor,” meaning “flower,” in Spanish.
The surname Foster is an occupational name given to those bestowed with the responsibility of overseeing the upkeep of the hunting territories of a monarch. A famous bearer of this last name is American actor Jodie Foster.
Of Spanish origin, this is the most popular surname of the region. Derived from the word “artz” meaning “bear,” this surname dates back to centuries ago. The American guitarist Jerry Garcia was a celebrity bearer of this last name.
This last name is of early medieval English origin. It might have been a topographic name for someone living near a granary.
This last name is of German origin and means “from Gaddesby.” This name was used and popularized by the American author F. Scott Fitzgerald for the central character in his novel The Great Gatsby.
This surname is derived from the Old French name “Godefroy,” meaning “God’s peace.”
This is of Spanish-origin patronymic name meaning “Son of Gome,” A famous bearer of this name is the German football player Mario Gomez.
Of Spanish and Portugese origin, its origins can be traced back to the 5th century. The patronymic surname means “son of Gonzalo.”
This English and Scottish last name comes from a nickname for a person with grey hair or grey clothes. A popular classic literature reference of this name comes from Oscar Wilde’s novel The Picture of Dorian Gray.
This last name is given to someone who often wore the color green or lived in grassy surroundings. A famous bearer of this surname is the French actor Eva Green.
This is a well-recorded and popular surname in Spain. It dates back to the 5th century A.D and is originally derived from the baptismal name Gutierre, a Spanish form of Walter.
Of English and Scottish origin, this last name derived from Old English has the elements “hamel,” meaning “crooked or mutilated” and “dun,” meaning “hill.” This was also the name of a town (which no longer exists) in Leicestershire, England. A notable bearer of this name is the British racing driver Lewis Hamilton.
This English and Scottish surname is an occupational name for an individual employed in a hall or manor place.
This surname is of early medieval English and French origin and is a nickname for a brave or courageous person. It was made popular in literature by the famous children’s mystery novel series The Hardy Boys.
It is an English surname derived from the words “hara,” meaning “hare,” and “leah,” meaning “wood,” “meadow,” or “clearing.”
An ancient Scottish, Irish, and English name Harris is derived from the personal name “Henry,” meaning “home-ruler.”
It is an English habitational name for someone who dwelled near a path across a heath. A notable bearer of this name is the famous Hollywood actor Anne Hathaway.
From northern English place names meaning “high burial mound” in Old English. It was borne by Mary Queen of Scot’s infamous third husband, James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwall. Other famous bearers include the actors Katharine Hepburn (1907:2003) and Audrey Hepburn (1929:1993).
With over fifty entries in the “Dictionary of National Biography,” and no less than seventy-five Coats of Arms, this distinguished surname is most likely a topographical name for someone living near the hills.
Howard is a common English surname of Gaelic origin. This name dates back to the 7th century.
It is a short form of any of the various Germanic compound names with the first element “hug,” meaning “heart” or “mind.” A notable personality with this last name is the late English poet Ted Hughes.
Recorded as Huntar, Hunter, Huntress, and Huntriss, this ancient surname is of Anglo-Scottish origins. It is an occupational surname for someone who made a living out of hunting.
Derived from the Norman personal name Hildebert, it was first heard of during the Norman Conquest of 1066. It is a matronymic surname derived from the name Ibota, a diminutive of Isabel.
This name is derived from the old English personal name Eoforwine, which means “boar friend.”
This English name means “son of Jack.” Famous bearers of this name are the American president Andrew Jackson (1767-1845) and the singer Michael Jackson (1958-2009).
This name has Biblical as well as Crusader origins. James is a common surname throughout Wales.
The English name means”son of Jeffrey.” A famous bearer of this name was the American president Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826). This is a common surname among the African-American population.
It is an English last name derived from the Breton personal name Judicaël, meaning “generous lord.” Robert Louis Stevenson used this name for the character of Dr Henry Jekyll in the book Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886).
This is a famous Anglo-Scottish patronymic surname of medieval origins and is a derivative of the personal name John.
The most popular surname in Wales, this name has medieval English origins. This is probably a patronymic version of the name John or a matronymic version of the name Joan.
Recorded as Kay and Kaye, this interesting surname is British. It has at least five possible origins. The most common meaning is derived from the old French word “kay,” meaning wharf or quay. It is a topographical surname for someone who lived near or worked on a wharf.
Kelly is an English surname. The name has numerous origins, most notably from the Ui Maine. In some cases, it is derived from toponyms in Ireland and Great Britain, and in other cases, it is derived from patronyms in the Irish language. A notable persona with the name Kelly was the late American actor and Princess Grace Kelly.
This surname is borne by over 21% of South Korea’s population. It can be translated as metal, iron, or gold.
The English surname originated from the name of a town in Yorkshire. A famous bearer of this name was the author Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936).
This surname is usually given to a tribal leader. It was used for someone who conducted himself in a kingly manner, one who had played the part of a king in a medieval pageant or perhaps won the title in some contest.
This famous name is of English and Korean origin. It is probably derived from any of the places named with the pre 7th Century element “leah,” meaning an open place in a forest or wood.”
Derived from the German personal name Lewis, it means famous battle. It is a popular surname in the US, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.
It is an English last name derived from a place in West Yorkshire. It refers to an “enclosed wood” in Old English.
This ancient name is a derivative of the Gaelic name Ó Longáin, meaning “descendant of Longán,” a personal name. It is another surname gradually derived from the use of nicknames.
It is a patronymic surname of Spanish origin meaning “son of Lope,” with Lope meaning wolf. A famous personality bearing this last name is the American actor Mario Lopez.
Of English and French origin, this last name originally denoted a person from the city of Lyon in central France. It could also denote a person from the small town of Lyons-la-Forêt in Normandy.
A famous bearer of this surname was the fourth American president James Madison (1751-1836). It is a variant of Mathieson, meaning “son of Matthew.”
Of English origin, this name originally denoted a person who hailed from one of the various places in Britain called Marley, meaning either “pleasant wood” or “boundary wood” in Old English. A famous bearer of this surname was Bob Marley.
While this is an English and French surname, it also has pre 7th-century German origins. The surname Marshall is a name of ancient Norman origin. It comes from the Old French “mareschal,” which is in turn derived from the Germanic elements “marah,” meaning “horse” and “scalc” meaning “servant.” Thus, this name was given to a person who tended horses.
The last name Martin is recorded in almost 200 different forms. It is derived from the Latin name “Martinus,” which is a derivative of “Mars,” the god of fertility and war.
This famous name is also a derivative of “Martinus,” a personal name derived from “Mars,” the god of war.
Another occupational surname, this English name given to a trader in textiles. It is derived from the Old French word “Mercier,” which in turn is derived from the Latin word “merx,” meaning “merchandise.”
This is an aristocratic locational name of Spanish origin. The name means “cold mountain.”
It is an occupational surname referring to someone who owned or worked in a grain mill.
The surname of English and Scottish origins is derived from the medieval Hebrew and Biblical name “Michel,” meaning “One who is like the Lord.” This last name was first recorded around the year 1160.
Of Anglo-Celtic origin, Moore was the 16th most common surname in the United States in 2000. A similar surname
This unusual and interesting surname is of Spanish origin and is a topographical name for someone who lived by a blackberry or mulberry bush. A famous bearer of this last name is the former President of Bolivia, Evo Morales.
This is a popular Gaelic-Celtic surname that dates back to the pre-Christian era. The Welsh surname is derived from the Old Welsh personal name”Morcant,” which is probably derived from the word “mor,” meaning “sea chief,””sea protector,” or “sea defender.”
This surname is popular in the countries of the British Isles. It is derived from the given name Maurice, which, in turn, is derived from the Latin word “maurus,” meaning “moorish” or “dark.”
This is one of the most popular Irish surnames, which is said to have been derived from the Gaelic name “O’ Murchadha,” meaning “the descendant of the Sea Warrior.” The American actor and comedian Eddie Murphy is a famous bearer of this name.
This name is of medieval English origin and is a patronymic name meaning “son of a mayor.” Myers is also of German origin, meaning “steward” or “bailiff.”
Nash is a topographic name of Middle English origin and refers to someone who lived near an “ash tree.” A famous bearer of this name was John Nash, the mathematician who lived from 1928 to 2015.
Nelson is a patronymic surname that translates to “son of Nell,” a form of the Irish name Neal, from the Gaelic Niall, which means “champion.” The American musician Willie Nelson bears this last name.
Who hasn’t heard of Sir Isaac Newton, the English physicist who discovered gravity? The English word is the name of many English towns and means “new town.”
Nicholson is a German and Scottish surname. It is a patronymic form of the first name Nichol, a common medieval form of Nicholas. The three-time Oscar winner Jack Nicholson is a bearer of this last name.
This English surname means “son of Nicholas.” A famous bearer of this last name was the American president Richard Nixon (1913-1994).
This English surname refers to a person who was originally from Scandinavia or Normandy. The surname is derived from the Scandinavian word “noromenn,” meaning “men from the north.”
While this is a medieval English surname, it is of ancient Viking origins. The Vikings were keen on using names that indicated strength and conquest, which would fit their warlike image. It is derived from the Viking personal name Asbjorn, meaning “god bear.”
This surname denoted a person who hailed from one of the various places in England called Overton, meaning “upper settlement” or “riverbank settlement” in Old English.
This Anglo-French surname is derived from the word “palme,” meaning “palm tree.”
While this surname has a few different interpretations, it is commonly believed that it was a locational surname implied for people from the French capital Paris.
Meaning “keeper of the park” in Middle English, it is an occupational name for a person who was a keeper of a park.
Peacock as a name was derived from a nickname usually given to a proud, haughty person. It could also have been an occupational name for someone who bred birds.
Out of all the surnames derived from the Christian Church, “Petros,” meaning The Rock has given the world the most number of given names and derivative surnames. There are an estimated 700 variations of this name.
This Old English surname originated from the word “pirige,” meaning “pear tree.” The Latin source of the word is “pirum” meaning “pear.” Two famous bearers of this last name also coincidentally share the same first name. Katy Perry, the American singer and songwriter, is a famous bearer of this name.
This is a patronymic surname meaning “son of Peter.” Peter is derived from the Greek word “Petros,” meaning “rock” or “stone.”
Of medieval English origin, this patronymic last name means “son of Phillip.” Phillip is derived from the Greek name Philippos, meaning “friend of horses.”
The English variant of “Priestley,” a famous personality with this surname was the musician Elvis Presley.
Price is a patronymic name derived from the Welsh word “ap Rhys,” which translates to “son of Rhys.” It means “enthusiasm” in Welsh and is a famous last name in Wales.
It is derived from a given name that was further derived from the Old English word “cwen,” meaning “queen” or “woman.” In some occurrences, it may have been a nickname.
It is derived from various place names in England that mean “red cliff” in Old English. Daniel Radcliffe, known for his role as Harry in the Harry Potter movie series, is a notable bearer of the name.
Ramsey means “garlic island” and is derived from the Old English elements “hramsa,” meaning“garlic” and “eg,” meaning “island.” A famous personality with this surname is Aaron Ramsey.
It is derived from the English word “read,” meaning “red.” It was probably first used as a nickname for someone with red hair.
This unique surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin and is a locational surname for people dwelling in a place called Remington near Gisburn in West Yorkshire.
This English surname means “female roe deer” from Old English ræge, probably denoting someone of a nervous temperament.
A patronymic form of a personal name, this last name means “son of Richard.”
It is a habitational name derived from the name of various English towns. The name is a derivation of the Old English word “ripel” with the elements “ripel,” meaning “strip of land,” and “leah,” meaning “clearing.”
This is a surname of Spanish and Italian origin and is most likely a topographic surname referring to people living near river banks.
This last name has over 70 recorded spellings and variations. Of English and Scottish origin, the last name Roberts is borne by famous Hollywood actor Julia Roberts.
A popular surname from the British Isles, it is a patronymic name meaning “son of Robin.”
This surname is derived from the geographical locality, Rodney Stoke, a parish in Somerset, but can be traced back earlier to Rodney, a small moss island in the parish of Wedmore in the same county.
This ancient and noble surname meaning “son of Rodrigo” is recorded in many forms. These include Roderick (English), Rodiger (German), Rodriguez (Spanish), and Rodrigues (Portuguese).
A patronymic form of “Roger,” this last name is of English and Scottish origins. The name is composed of the elements “hrod,” meaning renown, and ‘gari,” meaning “spear.” A famous bearer of this last name is the country singer Kenny Rogers.
As a Scottish surname, Rose has been recorded in Scotland from the early 14th Century onwards. It could be a topographical name for someone living near a bed of roses, or it could also be a nickname for someone with a rosy complexion.
While Ross is often used as a first name, it is also a family name of Scottish descent. Bob Ross, a famous American painter universally adored, bore this surname.
This English surname is originally derived from a place name meaning “rye hill.” The name has two elements in Old English, namely “ryge,” meaning “rye” and “dun,” meaning “hill.”
The Spanish family name Ruiz is derived from the individual Germanic name “Hrodric,” which is made out of the components “Hrōd,” meaning “fame,” and “rīc,” meaning “power(ful).” Ruiz is also a patronymic form of the individual name Ruy, short for Rodrigo, signifying “son of Roderick.”
A Norman-French name, Russell is a name adopted by Americans and people of many other English-speaking countries. The nickname means “little red one,” probably describing a person with red hair. Andre Russell is a famous West Indies cricketer.
This popular surname is derived from the name of the French town of Saqueneville in Normandy.
It is derived from a medieval form of the given name Samson and means “son of Samson.” Popular variants of this surname include Samson, Sansom, Sansum, and Samsen.
This famous Spanish and Portugese surname has many forms, including Sancho, Sanz, etc. It is derived from the Roman word “sanctus,” meaning “blameless” and “holy.” A notable person with this last name is the Chilean football player Alexis Sanchez.
A derivative of the Greek personal name Alexander, this surname was introduced in Britain by crusaders and pilgrims. US senator and Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is a famous bearer of this last name.
This surname is derived from the Old French word “sauvage,” meaning “untamed,” and ultimately from the Latin word “silvaticus,” meaning “wild,” or “from the woods.”
In Mark Twain’s novel The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, the protagonist of the story got his name from this Middle English occupational name meaning “sawer of wood” or “woodcutter.” The Old English word “sagu” meant “saw.”
Of Gaelic origin, this last name was used for a Scotsman who had taken part in conquering the west coast of Scotland around the 5th century AD. The great Scottish writer and poet Sir Walter Scott bears this last name.
While there has been a dispute over the origins of this surname, the most reasonable and likely interpretation is that the surname derives from a nickname for a spearman or a belligerent person. This name was made famous by the great English dramatist and poet William Shakespeare.
This habitational name is derived from the name of any of various places in England, including Nottinghamshire, Bedfordshire, Norfolk, Shropshire, and Staffordshire. These names are derived from the Old English words “scylf,” meaning “shelf,” and “tun,” meaning “enclosure” or “settlement.”
Coined by the Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain, this last name is usually an occupational name either for someone employed to tend and watch over sheep or a town watchkeeper.
This American last name originated from England. Various places in England have this name. The island of Australia also has a city by the name Sidney. The word means”wide island” in Old English.
This English name means “son of Sim.” Sim is the short form of Simon, a cross-bearer for Jesus from the New Testament. This name also became famous due to the animated, fictional American family television series The Simpsons.
Smith is probably one of the most popular American surnames. This surname refers to a “metalworker” or “blacksmith” and is derived from the Old English word ‘smiþ,” meaning “to smite” or “to hit.” A famous bearer of this name was the Scottish economist Adam Smith.
Spencer is an occupational surname for a person who supplies provisions. The English name has been derived from the Middle English name “spense,” meaning “larder” or “pantry.”
This English name means “stone clearing” in Old English. The British-American explorer and journalist Sir Henry Morton Stanley was a notable bearer of this surname.
Statham is an English surname derived from the name of a village in the English county of Cheshire. The original Old English term stæð means “wharf” or “landing place” and ham refers to a “home” or “settlement.”
This is a famous Scottish surname generally given to an officer who looked after the estates of a royal or noble household.
The surname Summerfield finds its origins in English and is a habitational name from Summerfield in Wiltshire.
Swanson is a Patronymic form of the Middle English word “swein,” meaning “servant.” It finds its roots in Old Norse.
This common American surname refers to a person who tanned leather. The Old English term “tannian”means “to tan.”
The name Taylor is derived from the Old French word “tailleur,” meaning “tailor.” The original Latin word “taliare” means “to cut.” A famous bearer of this name is the legendary Hollywood actor Elizabeth Taylor.
A derivative of the personal name Dennis, Tennison, meaning “son of Dennis,” is one of the patronymic forms of the surname “Tenney.” This name is found mainly in the northern parts of England.
This old English surname refers to a person who thatched roofs using straws. A famous personality by this name was Margaret Thatcher, who served as the Prime Minister of the US from 1979 to 1990.
This is a surname derived from the Aramaic term “t’om’a,” meaning “twins.” The last name has over two hundred variations in spellings. This surname is famous all over the world.
This famous surname is a diminutive of the male personal name Thomas. British actor Dame Emma Thompson is a bearer of this last name.
With roots in an English town, the old English name means timber wood. Lake originates from the word “lacu,” meaning “a pool, stream, or water body.” Justin Timberlake is a famous bearer of this surname.
This European surname of Roman origin is said to be a residential surname applied to those who lived in or owned a fortified castle or fortress. A notable bearer of this name is the Spanish football player Fernando Torres.
This is most likely an occupational surname for a maker of small objects with wood, metal, or bone by turning on a lathe. It is derived from the Anglo-Norman French word “torner.”
This distinguished last name has over fifty entries in the “Dictionary of National Biography” and is either an occupational name for a fuller of cloth or a locational name from a place called Walker in Northumberland. The late American actor Paul Walker bore this surname.
Ward is an Old English name derived from an occupational surname for a civil guard or keeper of the watch, or alternately as a topographical surname from the word “werd,” meaning “marsh.”
Watson is a patronymic surname of English and Scottish origin. It means “son of Walter.” It is in the top 50 most common English surnames. Harry Potter star Emma Watson holds this last name.
Among several possible origins, White is usually a descriptive name or nickname given to a person with very light hair or complexion. It is derived from the Middle English “whit,” meaning “white.”
Of French, English, and Italian origin, this is a patronymic surname meaning “son of William. Famous bearers of this last name are the American tennis champions and sisters Venus Williams and Serena Williams.
This medieval English and Scottish surname is a patronymic form of “Will.” The most common interpretation of its meaning is “William,” which includes the elements “will,” meaning “desire,” and “helm,” meaning “helmet” or “protection.” The 28th U.S President Woodrow Wilson bore this last name.
This surname was first recorded in the early part of the 12th century. A famous bearer of this name was the English writer Virginia Woolf (1882-1941).
This surname originated as a topographic name to describe a person who lived in or worked in a wood or forest. The surname was first recorded in the early half of the 13th century.
It is an occupational name for a maker of machinery or objects, primarily using wood. The name is derived from the Old English word ‘wyrhta’ meaning “a craftsman.” The Wright brothers were the famous bearers of this surname.
This intriguing family name is of Middle English origins and derived from “yunge” or “yonge,” meaning “The youthful one.”
A surname connects you with your family’s history and background. The common American surnames on this list are mostly derived from Scottish, Irish, and English origins. Some of these surnames have been in use for centuries and remain unaltered, while others have gone through various alterations.
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