American Surnames

American names are used in the United States. See also about American names.
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NATHANSEnglish
Derived from the given name NATHAN.
NATHANSONEnglish
Means "son of NATHAN".
NEALEnglish
Derived from the given name NEIL.
NEILIrish, Scottish, English
Derived from the given name NEIL.
NELSONEnglish
Means "son of NEIL". This name was borne by the British admiral Horatio Nelson (1758-1805).
NESSScottish, English, Norwegian
Means "headland" in Middle English, originally referring to a person who lived there.
NEVILLEEnglish, Irish
From a Norman French place name meaning "new town".
NEWMANEnglish
Means "new man, newcomer" from Old English neowe, niwe, nige and mann.
NEWPORTEnglish
Given to one who came from the town of Newport (which means simply "new port"), which was the name of several English towns.
NEWTONEnglish
From the name of one of many English towns meaning "new town". A famous bearer was the English physicist Sir Isaac Newton (1643-1727).
NICHOLSEnglish
Derived from the given name NICHOL.
NICHOLSONEnglish
Means "son of NICHOLAS". A famous bearer of this surname is the American actor Jack Nicholson (1937-).
NIGELEnglish
From the given name NIGEL.
NILESEnglish
Means "son of NEIL".
NIXONEnglish
Means "son of NICHOLAS". A famous bearer was the American president Richard Nixon (1913-1994).
NOELFrench, English
Either from the given name NOËL, or else derived directly from Old French noel "Christmas" and given to a person who had a particular connection with the holiday.
NORMANEnglish
Referred to a person who was originally from Scandinavia or Normandy. Even before the Norman Conquest, Scandinavians were settling the north and east of England. The Normans who participated in the Conquest were originally from Scandinavia, but had been living in Normandy, France for over a century and spoke French.
NORMANSONEnglish
Means "son of NORMAN".
NORRIS (1)English, Scottish
Means "from the north" from Old French norreis. It either denoted someone who originated in the north or someone who lived in the northern part of a settlement.
NORRIS (2)English, Scottish
Means "wet nurse, foster mother" from Old French nurise, norrice.
NORTHEnglish
Name for a person who lived to the north.
NORTHROPEnglish
From the name of a town in England meaning "north farm".
NORTONEnglish
Originally taken from a place name meaning "north town" in Old English.
NORWOODEnglish
Originally taken from a place name meaning "north wood" in Old English.
NOWELLEnglish
Variant of NOEL.
NYEEnglish
Means "dweller at the river" from Middle English atten eye meaning "at the river".
OAKLEYEnglish
From a place name meaning "oak clearing" in Old English. It was borne by American sharpshooter Annie Oakley (1860-1926).
ODELLEnglish
Originally denoted a person who was from Odell (Bedfordshire), England.
OGDENEnglish
Means "(dweller in the) oak valley" from Old English âc "oak" and denu "valley".
OLHOUSERNorwegian, English
Means "(dweller by or near the) old house".
OLIVERCatalan, English, French, German, Scottish
Derived from the given name OLIVER.
OLIVERSONEnglish
Means "son of OLIVER".
OSBORNEEnglish
Derived from the given name OSBORN.
OSBOURNEEnglish
Derived from the given name OSBORN.
OTISEnglish
Means "son of ODE".
OTTEnglish, German
From the given name OTTO.
OUTLAWEnglish
Means simply "outlaw" from Middle English outlawe.
OUTTERRIDGEEnglish
Derived from the Old English given name Uhtric which was composed of the elements uht "dawn" and ric "power".
OVERTONEnglish
Denoted a person who hailed from one of the various places in England called Overton or Orton.
OWSTONEnglish
Denoted a person who came from any one of the places in Britain called Ouston or Owston.
PADMOREEnglish
Originally indicated a person from Padmore, England.
PAGEEnglish, French
Occupational name meaning "servant, page". It is ultimately derived (via Old French and Italian) from Greek παιδιον (paidion) meaning "little boy".
PAGETEnglish, French
Diminutive of PAGE.
PAIGEEnglish
Variant of PAGE.
PALMEREnglish
Means "pilgrim", ultimately from Latin palma "palm tree", since pilgrims to the Holy Land often brought back palm fronds as proof of their journey.
PARENTEnglish, French
Derived from old French parent "notable".
PARISH (1)English
Originally denoted a person who came from the French city of Paris, which got its name from the ancient Celtic tribe known as the Parisii.
PARISH (2)English
Derived from the rare medieval given name Paris, an Old French form of PATRICK.
PARK (2)English
From Middle English parc, this was a name for someone who worked in or lived in a park.
PARK (3)English
From the medieval name Perkin, a diminutive of PETER.
PARKEREnglish
Means "keeper of the park" in Middle English. It is an occupational name for a man who was the gamekeeper at the medieval park.
PARKSEnglish
Patronymic form of PARK (3).
PARSONSEnglish
Originally denoted a person who served as a parson.
PATERNOSTEREnglish, French, German, Italian
Occupational name for a maker of rosaries, also called paternosters. They are derived from the Latin phrase pater noster "our Father", the opening words of the Lord's Prayer.
PATRICKEnglish
From the given name PATRICK.
PATRICKSONEnglish
Means "son of PATRICK".
PATTONEnglish, Scottish
Diminutive of the medieval name Pate, a short form of PATRICK.
PAULEnglish, French, German, Dutch
From the given name PAUL.
PAULSONEnglish
Means "son of PAUL".
PAYNEIrish, Scottish, English
Means "villager, rustic" and later "heathen" from Middle English Payn, Old French Paien which was often given to children whose baptism had been postponed or adults whose religious zeal was lacking.
PAYTONEnglish
From the name of the town of Peyton in Sussex. It means "PÆGA's town".
PEACOCKEnglish
From the Middle English words pecok and pocok which mean "peacock". It was originally a nickname for a proud or haughty person.
PEAKEnglish
Means "dweller by the pointed hill" from Old English peac. It could also denote a person from the Peak District in Derbyshire, England.
PEARCEEnglish
From the given name PIERS.
PECK (2)English
Occupational name for a maker of pecks (vessels used as peck measures) from Middle English pekke.
PELLEYEnglish
Means "bald" from Modern French pelé.
PEMBERTONEnglish
From a place name composed of elements meaning "hill", "barley" and "town".
PENDER (1)English
From Middle English pind "to pen up". This was an occupational name for someone who penned animals.
PENNYEnglish
Means "penny (the coin)" from Old English pening, penig.
PERKINSEnglish
Means "son of Perkin", a medieval diminutive of PETER.
PERRY (1)English
Derived from Middle English perrie, Old English pyrige meaning "pear tree". A famous bearer was Matthew Perry (1794-1858), the American naval officer who opened Japan to the West.
PETEREnglish, German, Dutch
Derived from the given name PETER.
PETERSEnglish, German
Derived from the given name PETER.
PETERSONEnglish
Means "son of PETER".
PETITCatalan, English, French
Means "small, little" derived from Old French petit. It was perhaps used for a short, small person or to denote the younger of two individuals.
PETTIGREWEnglish, French
Derived from French petit "small" and cru "growth".
PHELPSEnglish
Means "son of PHILIP".
PHILIPSEnglish, Dutch
Means "son of PHILIP". Famous bearers of this surname are Frederick Philips and his son Gerard, the Dutch founders of the company Philips.
PHILLIPSEnglish
Means "son of PHILIP".
PICKERINGEnglish
From the name of a town in Yorkshire, derived from Old English Piceringas, the name of a tribe.
PICKLEEnglish
Derived from Middle English pighel "field".
PIERCEEnglish
From the given name PIERS.
PIERSONEnglish
Means "son of PIERS".
PIPEREnglish
Originally given to a person who played on a pipe (a flute).
PITTSEnglish
Means "dweller by the pit, hollow" from Old English pytt. It could also indicate a person from Pitt (Hants) or Pett (East Sussex) in England.
PLANKGerman, English
Means "plank" from Latin plancus. This could have referred to a person who lived by a plank bridge over a stream, someone who was as thin as a board, or a carpenter.
PLASKETTEnglish
Means "dweller by the swampy meadow" from Old French plasquet.
PLATTEnglish
Habitational name from Platt or Platt Bridge in Lancashire, named in Middle English with Old French plat "flat, thin", in the dialect sense "plank bridge".
POINDEXTEREnglish
From the Jèrriais surname Poingdestre, possibly meaning "spur steed".
POLLEYEnglish
From Old French poli "polite".
PONDEnglish
Referred to one who dwelt near a pond.
POOLEEnglish
From Old English pol meaning "pool". It referred to a person who lived by a small body of water.
POPEEnglish
From a nickname which originally designated a person who played the part of the pope in a play or pageant. Otherwise the name could be used as a nickname for a man with a solemn, austere, or pious appearance.
PORCHEREnglish, French
Means "swineherd" from the Old French and Middle English word porchier.
PORTEREnglish
Occupational surname meaning "doorkeeper", ultimately from Old French porte "door", from Latin porta.
POTTEREnglish
Occupational name for a potter, one who makes earthen vessels.
POUNDEnglish
Occupational name for a person who kept animals, from Old English pund "animal enclosure".
POWER (1)English, Irish
Indicated a person who came from Pois (Picardy), France.
POWER (2)English
Means "poor" from the Middle English and Old French word povre, poure. Could be used as a nickname for a miser as well.
PRATTEnglish
Means "cunning, trick" from Old English prætt. This was a nickname for a trickster.
PRESCOTTEnglish
From an English place name meaning "priest's cottage".
PRESLEYEnglish
Variant of PRIESTLEY. This name was borne by musician Elvis Presley (1935-1977).
PRESTONEnglish
Originally derived from a place name meaning "priest town" in Old English.
PRIESTLEYEnglish
From a place name meaning "priest clearing", from Old English preost and leah.
PROUDFOOTEnglish
Means "one with a proud step", a nickname for a proud person.
PRYOREnglish
Belonged to one who was a prior (a religious official), or one who worked fro a prior.
PURCELLEnglish
Means "swineherd" or perhaps just "piglet" from Old French pourcel.
PUTNAMEnglish
Means "from Putnam (Herts, Surrey), England". The place name means "Putta's homestead".
QUEENEnglish, Irish
Means "woman" from Old English cwen which was sometimes used as a given name. In some occurrences the meaning could simply have been "queen" derived from Old English cwene. Occasionally it could be a shortened form of MACQUEEN.
QUESHIREEnglish
Probably an unusual variant of CHESHIRE.
QUICKEnglish
Derived from Middle English quik or Old English cwic, which both mean "lively".
QUICKLEY (1)English
Derived from Middle English quiklich or Old English cwiclic, which both mean "lively".
QUINCYEnglish
Originally from various place names in Normandy which were derived from the given name QUINTUS.
RADCLIFFEnglish
From various place names in England which mean "red cliff" in Old English.
RAINESEnglish
Originally denoted a person from Rayne (Essex), England or from Rennes, France.
RAINSEnglish
Variant of RAINES.
RAKEEnglish
Means "dweller on a narrow pass or hillside" from Old English hraca.
RAKESEnglish
Variant of RAKE.
RAMSEYScottish, English
Means "garlic island", derived from Old English hramsa "garlic" and eg "island". The surname was brought to Scotland by the Norman baron Simundus de Ramsay.
RANDALLEnglish
Derived from the given name RANDEL.
RAYNEEnglish
Derived from a Germanic name which was short for longer names beginning with the element ragin meaning "advice, counsel".
RAYNERSONEnglish
Means "son of RAYNER".
READ (1)English
Means "red" from Middle English read, probably denoting a person with red hair or complexion.
READ (2)English
Means "dweller in a clearing in woodland" from Old English ried. It is also derived from various English place names with various meanings, including "roe headland", "reeds" and "brushwood".
READY (1)English
Means "prepared, prompt" from Middle English readi.
REEVEEnglish
Occupational name for a sheriff, from Middle English reeve.
REVIEEnglish
Variant of REEVE.
REY (1)English, Spanish, French, Catalan
Means "king" in Old French, Spanish and Catalan, ultimately from Latin rex (genitive regis), perhaps originally denoting someone who acted like a king.
REY (2)English
Means "female roe deer" from Old English ræge, probably denoting someone of a nervous temperament.
REYNOLDSEnglish
Derived from the given name REYNOLD.
RHODESEnglish
Either a topographical name derived from Old English rod meaning "a clearing in woodland", or a locational name from any of the locations named with this word.
RICHARDEnglish, French, German, Dutch
From the given name RICHARD.
RICHARDSEnglish
Derived from the given name RICHARD.
RICHARDSONEnglish
Means "son of RICHARD".
RIDEREnglish
Variant of RYDER.
RIDLEYEnglish
Denoted a person who hailed from one of the various places in England with that name.
RIGBYEnglish
Originally derived from a place name meaning "ridge farm" in Old Norse.
RILEY (1)English
Originally derived from a place name meaning "rye clearing" in Old English.
RIMMEREnglish
Means "poet" from Middle English rime(n).
ROACHEnglish
From Middle English and Old French roche meaning "rock", from Late Latin rocca, a word which may be of Celtic origin. It indicated a person who lived near a prominent rock, or who came from a town by this name (such as Les Roches in Normandy).
ROBBINSEnglish
Derived from the given name ROBIN.
ROBERTEnglish, French, Dutch
From the given name ROBERT.
ROBERTSEnglish
Means "son of ROBERT".
ROBERTSONEnglish
Means "son of ROBERT".
ROBINSONEnglish
Means "son of ROBIN".
ROBSONEnglish
Means "son of ROB".
RODERICKEnglish
Derived from the given name RODERICK.
RODGERSEnglish
Derived from the given name RODGER.
ROGERSEnglish
Derived from the given name ROGER.
ROGERSONEnglish
Means "son of ROGER".
ROLLINSEnglish
From a diminutive of the given name ROLAND.
ROMEFrench, English
English and French form of ROMA (2).
ROMILLYEnglish, French
Originally denoted a person who came from any of the various places in northern France called Romilly or Remilly, or from Romiley in England.
ROSCOEEnglish
From a place name meaning "doe wood" in Old Norse.
ROSE (1)English, French, German, Scottish, Jewish
Means "rose" from the Middle English, Old French and Middle High German rose. All denote a person of a rosy complexion or a person who lived in an area abundant with roses. It is also found derived from the Yiddish royz, which always referred to the flower.
ROSE (2)English
Derived from the given name ROSE.
ROSSEnglish, Scottish
From various place names (such as the region of Ross in northern Scotland) which are derived from Scottish Gaelic ros meaning "promontory, headland".
ROUNDSEnglish
Means "son of the fat person" from the Middle English and Old French rond, rund.
ROWBOTTOMEnglish
Means "dweller in the overgrown valley" from Old English ruh "rough, overgrown" and boðm "valley".
ROWEEnglish, Scottish, Irish
Means "dweller by a row of hedges or houses" from Middle English row. Some examples of the name are derived from the medieval name Row, which is either a variant of ROLLO or ROLAND.
ROWLANDEnglish
Derived from the given name ROLAND.
ROWNTREEEnglish
Given to a person who lived near a rowan tree or mountain ash.
ROYCEEnglish
Originally derived from the medieval given name Royse, a variant of ROSE.
ROYDONEnglish
Originally derived from a place name meaning "rye hill", from Old English ryge "rye" and dun "hill".
ROYLEEnglish
Originally derived from a place name meaning "rye hill" from Old English ryge "rye" and hyll "hill".
ROYSTONEnglish
Originally taken from an Old English place name meaning "Royse's town". The given name Royse was a medieval variant of ROSE.
RUGGLESEnglish
From a medieval diminutive of the given name ROGER.
RUSHEnglish
Refers to a rush, the grasslike plant that grows in a marsh.
RUSKIN (2)English
Means "little Rose" from the medieval given name ROSE.
RUSSELLEnglish
From a Norman French nickname which meant "little red one", perhaps originally describing a person with red hair.
RYDEREnglish
Occupational surname for a mounted forest officer, from Old English ridere meaning "rider".
RYEEnglish
Topographic name. It could be a misdivision of the Middle English phrases atter ye meaning "at the island" or atter eye meaning "at the river". In some cases it merely indicated a person who lived where rye was grown or worked with rye (from Old English ryge).
RYEREnglish
Variant of ROYER.
RYERSEnglish
Variant of ROYER.
SACKVILLEEnglish
From the name of the Norman French town of Saqueneville.
SADLEREnglish
Occupational name for a make of saddles, from Old English sadol "saddle".
SALMONEnglish, French
Derived from the given name SOLOMON.
SAMPSONEnglish
Derived from a medieval form of the given name SAMSON.
SAMSEnglish
Derived from the given name SAMUEL.
SAMSONEnglish, French
Derived from the given name SAMSON.
SAMUELEnglish, French, German, Jewish
Derived from the given name SAMUEL.
SAMUELSEnglish
Derived from the given name SAMUEL.
SAMUELSONEnglish
Means "son of SAMUEL".
SANDERSEnglish
Patronymic of the given name Sander, a medieval form of ALEXANDER.
SANDFORDEnglish
Indicated a person from Sandford, England, which means simply "sand ford".
SANDSEnglish
From Old English, indicated the original nearer lived on sandy ground.
SANGSTEREnglish, Scottish
Occupational name or nickname for a singer, from Old English singan "to sing, to chant".
SAPPINGTONEnglish
Possibly from the city of Sapperton, England, derived from Old English sapere meaning "soap maker" and tun meaning "enclosure, yard, town".
SAVAGEEnglish
English nickname meaning "wild, uncouth", derived from Old French salvage or sauvage meaning "untamed", ultimately from Latin silvaticus meaning "wild, from the woods".
SAWYEREnglish
Occupational name meaning "sawer of wood, woodcutter" in Middle English, ultimately from Old English sagu meaning "saw". Mark Twain used it for the main character in his novel 'The Adventures of Tom Sawyer' (1876).
SAYLOREnglish
Occupational name meaning "acrobat, dancer", derived from Old French sailleor, from Latin sallitor.
SCARLETTEnglish
Denoted a person who sold or made clothes made of scarlet, a kind of cloth, possibly derived from Persian سقرلاط (saghrilat).
SCOTTEnglish, Scottish
Originally given to a person from Scotland or a person who spoke Scottish Gaelic.
SCRIVENEnglish
Occupational name meaning "writer, clerk, scribe" in Old French, derived from Latin scriba.
SEABROOKEnglish
Denoted a person from a town by this name in Buckinghamshire, England. It is derived from that of a river combined with Old English broc "stream".
SEAVEREnglish
From the unattested Old English given name Sæfaru, derived from the Old English elements "sea, ocean" and faru "journey".
SELBYEnglish
From the name of a village which meant "willow farm" in Old English.
SEMPERSEnglish
From the name of various towns named Saint Pierre in Normandy, all of which commemorate Saint PETER.
SENIOREnglish
Originally a name for the elder of two brothers.
SERGEANTEnglish, French
Occupational name derived from Old French sergent meaning "servant", ultimately from Latin servire "to serve".
SESSIONSEnglish
From the name of the city of Soissons in northern France, itself derived from the name of the Celtic tribe of the Suessiones.
SEWARD (1)English
Derived from the given name SIGEWEARD.
SEWARD (2)English
Means "swineherd" from Old English su "sow, female pig" and hierde "herdsman, guardian".
SEXTONEnglish
Occupational name for a sexton (Middle English sexteyn), a caretaker for a church or graveyard.
SEYMOUR (1)English
From Saint Maur, a French place name, which commemorates Saint MAURUS.
SEYMOUR (2)English
From an English place name, derived from Old English "sea" and mere "lake".
SHAKESPEAREEnglish
From a nickname for a warlike person, from Old English scacan "to shake" and spere "spear". A famous bearer was the English dramatist and poet William Shakespeare (1564-1616).
SHARPEnglish
Nickname for a keen person, from Old English scearp "sharp".
SHARROWEnglish
Originally a name for someone from Sharrow, England, derived from Old English scearu "boundary" and hoh "point of land, heel".
SHAWEnglish
Originally given to a person who lived near a prominent thicket, from Old English sceaga meaning "thicket, copse".
SHEAREREnglish
English cognate of SCHERER.
SHELBYEnglish
Variant of SELBY.
SHELTONEnglish
From the name of various English towns, meaning "shelf town" in Old English.
SHEPARDEnglish
Occupational name meaning "shepherd, sheep herder", from Old English sceaphyrde.
SHERBURNEnglish
Denoted a person hailing from any of the various places called Sherborne or Sherburn in England, derived from Old English scir "bright" and burna "spring, fountain, stream".
SHERMAN (1)English
Means "shear man", referring to someone who used shears in his line of work, such as a sheep-shearer.
SHINE (1)English
Means "beautiful, attractive" from Old English sciene.
SHORTEnglish
From a nickname for a short person, from Middle English schort.
SIDDALLEnglish
From the name of various English towns, derived from Old English sid "wide" and halh "nook, recess".
SIDNEYEnglish
Originally derived from various place names in England meaning "wide island", from Old English sid "wide" and eg "island". Another theory holds that it comes from the name of a town in Normandy called "Saint DENIS", though evidence for this is lacking.
SIERŻANTEnglish
Polish cognate of SERGEANT.
SILVEREnglish
From a nickname for a person with grey hair, from Old English seolfor "silver".
SIMENEnglish (Rare)
From the given name SIMON (1).
SIMMONSEnglish
Derived from the given name SIMON (1).
SIMMSEnglish
Derived from the medieval given name Sim, a short form of SIMON (1).
SIMONEnglish, French, German, Dutch, Hungarian, Jewish
Derived from the given name SIMON (1).
SIMONSEnglish, German
Derived from the given name SIMON (1).
SIMONSONEnglish
Means "son of SIMON (1)".
SIMPKINEnglish
From a diminutive of the given name SIMON (1).
SIMPSONEnglish
Means "son of Sim", Sim being a medieval short form of SIMON (1).
SIMSEnglish
Variant of SIMMS.
SINCLAIREnglish
Derived from a Norman French town called "Saint CLAIR".
SKEATESEnglish
From the Old Norse nickname or byname skjótr meaning "swift".
SKINNEREnglish
Occupational name for a person who skinned animals, from Old Norse skinn.
SLATEREnglish
Occupational name indicating that an early member worked covering roofs with slate, from Old French esclat "shard", of Germanic origin.
SMALLEnglish
From a nickname for a small person, from Middle English smal.
SMALLSEnglish
Variant of SMALL.
SMEDLEYEnglish
From an unidentified place name probably meaning "smooth clearing" in Old English.
SMITHEnglish
Means "metalworker, blacksmith" from Old English smiþ, related to smitan "to smite, to hit". It is the most common surname in most of the English-speaking world. A famous bearer was the Scottish economist Adam Smith (1723-1790).
SMYTHEEnglish
Variant of SMITH.
SNELLEnglish
From Old English snel meaning "fast, quick, nimble".
SNYDEREnglish
Means "tailor" from Middle English snithen "to cut", an occupational name for a person who stitched coats and clothing.
SOLOMONEnglish, Jewish
Derived from the given name SOLOMON.
SOMMER (1)German, English
Means "summer", from Old High German sumar or Old English sumor meaning "summer". This was a nickname for a cheerful person, someone wgo lived in a sunny spot, or a farmer who had to pay taxes in the summer.
SOUTHGATEEnglish
Name for a person who lived near the southern gate of a town or in a town named Southgate, from Old English suþ and gæt.
SOWARDSEnglish, Irish
Possibly a variant of SEWARD (1) or SEWARD (3).
SPALDINGEnglish
From the name of the town of Spalding in Lincolnshire, derived from the Anglo-Saxon tribe of the Spaldingas.
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