Jamaican last names reflect the country’s diverse culture from the colonization era, which brought people from different countries together. The names even have deep and historical meanings that also throw light on the culture and language. The country is also known for the fastest runners and renowned musicians, including Usain Bolt and Bob Marley, who made a mark on the global stage. We cannot miss the beautiful waterfalls, Jamaican rum, and aesthetic beaches that welcome tourists every year. If you want to know the names that ooze out the country’s fragrance, then scroll through this post for unique names from Jamaican roots.
Common Jamaican Last Names Or Surnames
Allen is a common surname in Jamaica with its roots in Ireland that means tiny stones or rocks.
Anderson translates to “son of Andrew,” where Andrew means man in Greek. James Michael Anderson is one of the most renowned names in cricket as he is considered to be one of the best bowlers of all time.
Adamson is an ancestral surname of English origin, and it means Adam’s son.
Azan is the last name of Arabic origin that means calling someone to pray.
Bailey is a surname of French origin that translates to the bailiff. Bailiff was used to refer to the person in charge of the court or the administration in ancient France. Bill Bailey, the founder of Britain’s first surf company, and Angela Bailey, a Canadian athlete, are its notable name bearers.
Baxter translates to “a person who bakes” or “a person making bread.”
It is a surname of English origin that can be traced to a village in Worcestershire of England with a similar name.
Derived from the French word Fontaine, Belafonte means fountain.
Bennett is derived from the Latin word “Benedictus,” meaning a blessed person. Tony Bennett, a legendary name in the music industry, is one of its famous name bearers.
It is a family name of German origin, meaning someone with the strength of a bear.
Blair is the last name of Scottish origin that means a piece of land or a battle field. Tony Blair, an erstwhile Prime Minister of the UK, is one of its notable name bearers.
Bolt, a surname of English origin, can mean either an “arrow” or “a strong person.” Usain Bolt is one of its famous name bearers.
Believed to have been derived from the ancient English words “brad” meaning wide and “sceaga,” meaning a thick group of trees, Bradshaw can also refer to any place with a similar name.
This last name arises from the Swedish surname Bäckland, which implies brook grove. Brook is a term that arises from the Old English term broc. In North America and England, this last name has been in use since the mid-17th century.
The surname Brown means the color brown. Gordon Brown, an erstwhile Prime Minister of the UK, is one of its notable name bearers.
Derived from the English word burel, Burrell means the color reddish-brown. Ty Burrell is one of its famous name bearers.
Derived from the word boton, which translates to button in French.
Cambell amalgamates the Scottish words “cam,” meaning wry or curved and “beul” meaning mouth. Julia Campbell, Danielle Campbell, and Naomi Campbell are notable name bearers in the entertainment industry.
Calder is a surname of Scottish origin that means harsh waters.
It refers to someone who knows everything.
A family name of Chinese origin, Chung, means unmasking or opening up. Chung Sye-kyun, one of the erstwhile Prime ministers of South Korea, and Chung Hyeon, a renowned South Korean tennis player, are Some of its notable name bearers.
Derived from the Latin word clericus, Clarke means clerk. Michael Clarke, considered among the best batsmen in cricket is one of its famous name bearers.
A surname of English origin, cliff, can mean a slope or the edge of the sea.
Clare is the last name of Celtic origin, meaning pleasant, bright, and kind.
Originating from the ancient English nickname cola, Cole means victory.
Derived from the Latin word crux, Cross denotes people living near a cross or crossroads.
A surname of Portuguese origin, Dacosta refers to an inhabitant of the sea coast.
Davis means the son of David, where David refers to someone who is loved. Claude Davis, Geena Davis, and Barbara Davis are some of its popular name bearers.
Originating from an Irish surname, Daley means “son of Dálach,” where Dálach refers to a congregation in Gaelic.
Deleon refers to someone hailing from Leon, a city in Spain.
Demetrius translates to “a person with loyalty towards the Goddess Demeter.”
It is the surname of English origin referring to the heir of Richard Keith from Scotland.
It denotes someone with a kind and friendly nature without a bad temper.
It is an English version of the Gaelic word Donnchadh, which is an amalgamation of the words donn meaning the color brown and cath meaning a war or a fight.Lindsay Duncan and Sandy Duncan are some of the notable names in the entertainment industry.
It is an ancestral surname of English origin that means son of Edmond.
Edwards is a surname of English origin that means heir of Edward. Edward translates to “someone who is a successful protector.”
Esson or Ayson, is a combination of the words Aodh meaning the God of fire in Celtic, and son, which translates to the son of the fire God.
Evans translates to heir of Evan, which itself is derivation of the Welsh name Ifan, meaning “a gift from the Lord.” Chris Evans is one of the most popular Hollywood actors.
It is the last name of French origin that means someone joyful and exuberant.
It denotes the heir of Fergus. Fergus means someone strong. Craig Ferguson, a Scottish-American talk show host is one of its famous name bearers.
Ford refers to a person who lives by a river crossing. Henry Ford was the founder of the Ford automobile company, developed the first-ever budget-friendly car.
The last name of English origin, Fullwood, refers to dirty wood.
Derived from the ancient English word gal, Gayle refers to a jolly and happy person. Chris Gayle is one of its notable name bearers.
Garvey translates to the heir of Gairbheith in Irish, where Gairbheith means tranquility that is rough.
Glenn is derived from the Gaelic word gleann, which translates to the valley. John Glenn, the famous Astronaut from America, was one of its notable name bearers.
Originating from Berwickshire, Gordon means a large or spacious castle.
The last name of English origin, meaning a good helper.
Believed to have originated from England, Graham means a farmhouse with gravels.
Derived from the word Grand, Grant means big and tall. Ulysses Grant commanded over the Union forces in the American Civil War and was a former president.
It comes from Graye, a place called in Calvados.
Green is a surname of English origin and comes from families who lived in Greene, a village in the UK.
It is the last name of Scottish and Irish origin, whose roots can be traced back to an old village of Barkby in Leicestershire. Hamilton is derived from “hamel,” meaning twisted or curved and “dun” meaning a hill.
Harris denotes a descendant of Harry. Kamala Harris, the current and the first female Vice President of America, is one of its notable name bearers.
This Jamaican last name also implies ‘son of Harry.’ According to experts, Harrison arose because of the attempt of the English-speaking people to pronounce the French word Henri. It is derived from the Germanic Heimirich, meaning ‘home ruler.’
Derived originally from the German word heimirich, where “heim” refers to home and “ric” refers to a leader.
Derived from the Irish word huiginn, Higgins refers to the son of Uiginn. Uiginn is a nickname that means viking. Alex Higgins, the Irish world champion in snooker, was one of its notable name bearers.
A surname of Scottish origin, Hogg is an occupational name for people who look after cattle.
Hutton refers to a tapered hilltop or mountain that has been enclosed.
Hyatt most likely originated as a topographic surname, meaning a tall gate or doorway.
Jeffrey is the last name of German origin that can either mean a calm and quiet vow or a person who travels.
Johnson translates to descendent of John. The former presidents of America, Andrew Johnson and Lyndon B. Johnson, were some of its famous name bearers.
Jonas refers to the bird dove, a symbol of peace.
Jones can mean John’s descendent or someone who God has chosen.
Kenton denotes people of royal descendent inhabiting a town.
From the old English word cniht, Knight means a soldier on a horse.
A surname derived from the Latin word Laurentium, which translates to someone hailing from Latium, a city in Italy.Jennifer Lawrence is one of the most famous personalities in the entertainment industry.
Lewis translates to a renowned fighter or soldier. C.S. Lewis was the author of the fictional best novels “The Chronicles Of Narnia,” which were later adapted into blockbuster movies.
Leon refers to the majestic animal “lion” in Greek.
Levy translates to “combining” in Hebrew.
Li/Lee is the Chinese word for the fruit plum. Bruce Lee, a legendary name in martial arts, was one of its famous name bearers.
The last name of French origin, Maye denotes the month May or a person related to the month.
It is derived from the combination of words, Moene meaning common and leah meaning forest or wood.
A habitational surname, referring to forests or woods that are pleasing to the eye. Bob Marley, the legendary musician from Jamaica, was one of its famous name bearers.
Derived from the Scottish word Máel Coluim, which refers to the apostle of Saint Columba.
The last name Marshall refers to the highest-ranking official of the armed forces. It can also mean someone with an appreciation and love for horses.
The surname McFarlane has Celtic and Hebrew origins, meaning “son of.” During the medieval era, the McFarlane clan inhabited the western shore of Loch Lomond, extending from Tarbet upwards. Members of this clan traced their ancestry back to the ancient Earls of Lennox.
McKenley, of Gaelic origin, refers to the “descendent of Finlay.”
An ancestral name, believed to have originated from the earliest descendants of the Dalriadan clans that lived in Scotland.
A family name of Scottish origin, it denotes a person with pleasant characteristics or someone who is pleasant to look at.
An English version of the Gaelic word Mac A’ Phearsain means heir of the parson.
It is an occupational name for people working in a mill.
A family name of Welsh origin, Morgan refers to an extraordinary province. J. P. Morgan, one of the most powerful persons in the banking industry, was one of its notable name bearers.
Morrison, a surname of Scottish origin, can either mean “heir of Morris” or “an upland.”
Murray is an ancient Scottish clan surname. It means ‘from the sea.’ This surname arises from Moray. This, in turn, arises from the Scottish Gaelic for ‘settlement by the sea’ or ‘sea settlement.’
Nembhard is believed to be derived from the Germanic word Nan(d)hart, where “nand” means bold or fearless and hard.
A surname of Welsh origin, Owen denotes someone born in a noble family or a noble person.
Palmer refers to someone on a pilgrimage to a religious place.
Phillips refers to a descendent of Phillip or someone who admires horses.
A surname of Scottish origin that translates to Patrick’s son. James Patterson is a renowned American author.
A derivation of the word plumber, Plummer refers to an occupational surname for people who work with the metal lead.
Powell refers to the successor of Hywel, meaning eminent in Welsh. Jerome Powell, the chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank, is one of its notable name bearers.
The last name is derived from the variations Pierre or Perre.
Pessoa is the Portuguese word for a person or human.
It is related to an ancient English word referring to someone who likes to play pranks or tricks. Chris Pratt is one of the most popular American actors.
A common last name, Reid literally means ‘red.’ It also derives from red as a nickname. This surname, according to scholars, may be given to those with a red complexion of hair or a ruddy face.
Reynolds means “heir of Reynold,” where Reynold refers to a powerful king.
Richards is a last name that comes from an ancestor. It is derived from the personal name Richard and implies ‘powerful’ or ‘brave.’ The surname has Germanic words, ‘ric, meaning ‘power’ and ‘hard,’ meaning ‘brave.’
Riley refers to a space of the cereal plant, rye.
A Welsh and English-origin surname, Roberts means ‘bright’ and ‘renown.’ This last name indicates someone who is the son of Robert. It can also be an anglicized version of the French last name Robert.
Believed to have been derived from the Germanic word Hrodohaidis meaning “someone famous.” Rose later came to be used as a surname that means the flower rose.
It refers to a person living beside a hedge or in a line of houses.
This patronymic last name implies ‘someone with red hair,’ and its origin lies in Rousel, a given name. Rousel is an Old French name for a person having a ruddy skin tone.
This last name is also derived from an ancestor. It means ‘the son of Samuel.’ Apart from Jamaica, it is also used extensively in the United States and England. Andrew Samuels, the renowned British psychologist, and John Samuels, the American actor, are some notable bearers.
Simpson comes from the medieval masculine personal name ‘Simme.’ It is also a variant of Simon. It is used for a person who is a descendant of a person named Simon.
An occupational surname refers to a person who cuts cloth.James Schoolcraft Sherman was the 27th president of the US.
Related to the French town called Saint Claire, Sinclair refers to someone renowned and pure.
A surname of English origin that can refer to places or towns of the south. Sutton is the name of a town in South England.
It is the last name which likely holds the meaning “a person hailing from Southern land,” which is a former country in the south of Scandinavia. Donald Sutherland is a renowned Canadian actor.
Smith, an occupational surname, means a person who works with metals. It can also mean “to strike” from the English word smitan.
The last name of Scottish origin, Stewart, is derived from the ancient English word stigeweard, wherein stige means a foyer and weird means a protector.
Tai refers to something extraordinary or something extreme.
It is the last name of English origin, meaning heir of Thomas. Emma Thompson is one of the most eulogized actresses of the UK.
Believed to have originated from the name Thomas, Tomlinson means twin. Louis Tomlinson and Eleanor Tomlinson are some of its famous name bearers.
A family name of Scottish origin, Tulloch is a derivation of the Gaelic word tulach. It refers to a person from a small hill.
The last name of English and French origin, Turner refers to someone who works with a shaping machine called lathe used for wood, metals, and different materials. Tina Turner, an American musician and Sophie Turner, an English actress, are some of its popular name bearers.
Tyndale denotes a person from the valley of Tynedale in England.
It is a derivative surname of the Welsh word bychan that means something small or tiny.
It refers to people who served under a king in Medieval English.
The surname Walker is an occupational name for a fuller who treats and thickens raw cloth. It is also a German and English surname with similar meanings, referring to a person who walked on a raw and damp cloth to thicken it.
Westone translates to a “town in the west.”
It is the last name of English origin that means someone who works with wheels or makes wheels. The American actress, Maggie Wheeler, and American ice hockey player,
Blake Wheeler are some of its notable name bearers.
Williams translates to “heir of William.”
Wilson Holds a similar meaning to the surname “William” and can also refer to “a will for protection.”
It is an occupational surname for someone who is an artisan. Inventors of the first airplane, Orville and Wilbur Wright, more popularly known as “the Wright brothers,” are its famous name bearers.
Yee in Chinese means rural areas or the countryside.
A derivative last name of the middle English word yunge, Young denotes someone of a younger age. Paul Young and Neil Young are some of its famous name bearers.
Discover More Names
When you have to choose a name for your baby, a few hundreds of names may not be just enough. Keep digging our mine of baby names until you find that one precious gem.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why do Jamaicans have two last names?
The first last name, in reality, is the middle name. The middle names could be more personal to the parents as they may represent the family’s heritage and traditions.
2. Why do so many Jamaicans have Scottish last names?
During the initial English colonization, many Scots moved to Jamaica. Over the years, the Jamaican and the Scottish cultures influenced each other (1). This mutual influence can also be seen in some Jamaican last names as they have Scottish origins.
3. How do Jamaican last names differ from African last names?
Jamaican surnames are different from African surnames because most of them were derived during British colonization, which is why there are Jamaicans with Irish and Scottish last names. African surnames are generally derived from tribal or clan affiliations.
Like their first name, an individual’s last name is also an integral part of their identity. Since last names reflect one’s cultural heritage, these popular Jamaican last names are a great way to understand the nation’s history and traditions. These distinctive surnames have deep meanings, and they sound attractive. Perhaps that’s the reason behind Jamaican last names being quite popular worldwide. Now that our list of popular Jamaican surnames with their meaning, share this post with your friends and enlighten them about Jamaica’s diversity.
Infographic: Jamaican Last Names
Jamaican last names emanate from mixed cultures, languages, and countries, which is why a few names may feel familiar to English, Spanish, and Latin surnames. At the same time, some surnames are truly representative of Jamaican culture. So, if you are interested in knowing some popular Jamaican last names, this infographic is a worthy read.
- The First Scots in Jamaica.