Browse Submitted Surnames
This is a list of submitted surnames in which the usage is English or American.
Submitted names are contributed by users of this website. The accuracy of these name definitions cannot be guaranteed.
RIVETT English, French
English (East Anglia): metonymic occupational name for a metalworker, from Middle English, Old French rivet
‘small nail or bolt’ (from Old French river
‘to fix or secure’, of unknown origin).... [more]
Means "person from Rochester", Kent (probably "Roman town or fort called Rovi"). A fictional bearer of the surname is Mr Rochester, the Byronic hero of Charlotte Brontë's 'Jane Eyre' (1847).
Topographic name for someone who lived near a notable crag or outcrop, from Middle English rokke
"rock" (see Roach
), or a habitational name from a place named with this word, as for example Rock in Northumberland.
Means "person from Rockwell", Buckinghamshire and Somerset (respectively "wood frequented by rooks" and "well frequented by rooks"). Famous bearers include American illustrator Norman Rockwell (1894-1978) and Utah pioneer Porter Rockwell (1813-1878).
From Roddam in Northumberland. The name is thought to have derived from Germanic *rodum
, meaning 'forest clearing'.
It is of Old German origin, and the meaning of Rodman is "renowned man". The most famous bearer of the surname is the basketball player Dennis Rodman
The surname Rodman is an ancient English surname, derived from a trade name, "men who were by the tenure or customs of their lands to ride with or for the lord of the manor about his business". The most famous bearer of this name is the basketball player Dennis Rodman.
Nickname for a timid person, derived from the Middle English ro
meaning "roe"; also a midland and southern form of Ray
From the Middle English personal name Rolf
, composed of the Germanic elements hrōd
"renown" and wulf
"wolf". This name was especially popular among Nordic peoples in the contracted form Hrólfr
, and seems to have reached England by two separate channels; partly through its use among pre-Conquest Scandinavian settlers, partly through its popularity among the Normans, who, however, generally used the form Rou(l)
English habitational name from any of various places, such as Rowlston in Lincolnshire, Rolleston in Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire, and Staffordshire, or Rowlstone in Herefordshire, near the Welsh border... [more]
ROMAN Catalan, French, Polish, English, German, Hungarian, Romanian, Ukrainian, Belorussian
From the Latin personal name Romanus
, which originally meant "Roman". This name was borne by several saints, including a 7th-century bishop of Rouen.
English: habitational name from a place in Kent, so called from an obscure first element, rumen
, + Old English ea
‘river’ (see Rye
From a medieval nickname for someone thought to resemble a rook (e.g. in having black hair or a harsh voice).
ROOT English, Dutch
English: nickname for a cheerful person, from Middle English rote ‘glad’ (Old English rot). ... [more]
English: occupational name for a maker or seller of rope, from an agent derivative of Old English rāp ‘rope’. See also ROOP
Americanized form of Norwegian Røys(e)land
; a habitational name from about 30 farmsteads, many in Agder, named from Old Norse reysi ‘heap of stones’ + land ‘land’, ‘farmstead’.
ROSEVEAR Cornish, English
From the name of a Cornish village near St Mawgan which derives from Celtic ros
"moor, heath" and vur
ROSSEAU French, American
Variant spelling of Rousseau
. Comes from the Old French word rous
meaning "red", likely a nickname for someone with red hair or a particularly rosy complexion.
nickname for a person with red hair, from Middle English, Old French rous ‘red(-haired)’
ROVER English, German (Anglicized)
This surname is derived from Middle English roof
(from Old English hrof
) combined with the agent suffix (i)er
, which denotes someone who does/works with something. Thus, the surname was originally used for a constructor or repairer of roofs.... [more]
English from a medieval personal name composed of the Germanic elements hrod
‘renown’ + wald
‘rule’, which was introduced into England by Scandinavian settlers in the form Róaldr
, and again later by the Normans in the form Rohald
Anglo Saxon Name- locational, comes from several places in England such as in Devonshire, Yorkshire, County Durham and Staffordshire. It means ' rough wood or clearing', from the Old English 'run' meaning rough and 'leah', meaning clearing in a wood.
ROWSON English (British, Anglicized)
The ancestors of the Rowson family first reached the shores of England in the wave of migration after the Norman Conquest of 1066. Their name is derived from the Norman given name Ralph. This name, which also occurs as Ralf, Rolf, and Raoul, is adapted from the Old French given name Raol.... [more]
A famous bearer is political activist Mark Rudd.
From the medieval French male personal name Ruffin
, from Latin Rūfīnus
, a derivative of Rūfus
(literally "red-haired one"). A known bearer of the surname is US soul singer Jimmy Ruffin (1939-).
From Rugby, Warwickshire. Originally named *Rocheberie
, from Old English *Hrocaburg
, 'Hroca's fort', the name was altered due to influence fort Danish settlers, with the second element being replaced with Old Norse byr
, 'farm'.... [more]
RULE Scottish, English
Scottish name from the lands of Rule in the parish of Hobkirk, Roxburghshire. The derivation is from the River Rule which flows through the area, and is so called from the ancient Welsh word "rhull" meaning "hasty or rushing".... [more]
Means "person from Rumbelow", the name of various locations in England ("three mounds").
A different form of Rumbold
(from the Norman personal name Rumbald
, of Germanic origin and probably meaning literally "fame-bold"). A fictional bearer of the surname is Horace Rumpole, the eccentric QC created by John Mortimer (originally for a 1975 television play).
RUNCIE English, Scottish
Derived from Latin runcinus, and related to the Old French "roncin", for a horse of little value. Middle English, Rouncy, as in Chaucer's Cantebury Tales.... [more]
RUTH English, German (Swiss)
English: from Middle English reuthe ‘pity’ (a derivative of rewen to pity, Old English hreowan) nickname for a charitable person or for a pitiable one. Not related to the given name in this case.... [more]
Either (i) "player of the rote (a medieval stringed instrument played by plucking)"; or (ii) from a medieval nickname for a dishonest or untrustworthy person (from Old French routier
"robber, mugger")... [more]
From any of several places in England named from Old English ryge
"rye" + hyll
RYDELL Swedish, English
Swedish: ornamental name composed of the place name element ryd
‘woodland clearing’ + the common suffix -ell
, from the Latin adjectival ending -elius
SAINT English, French
Nickname for a particularly pious individual, from Middle English, Old French saint
"holy" (Latin sanctus
"blameless, holy"). The vocabulary word was occasionally used in the Middle Ages as a personal name, especially on the Continent, and this may have given rise to some instances of the surname.
SALE English, French
English: from Middle English sale ‘hall’, a topographic name for someone living at a hall or manor house, or a metonymic occupational name for someone employed at a hall or manor house. ... [more]
Habitational name from the city in Wiltshire, the Roman name of which was Sorviodunum (of British origin). In the Old English period the second element (from Celtic dun
‘fortress’) was dropped and Sorvio-
(of unexplained meaning) became Searo-
in Old English as the result of folk etymological association with Old English searu
‘armor’; to this an explanatory burh
‘fortress’, ‘manor’, ‘town’ was added... [more]
From a medieval nickname for a fool (from Middle English samwis
"foolish", literally "half-wise").
From Middle English sanguine
(blood) ,one of the four humours.
SANKEY English, Irish
Habitational name from a place in Lancashire, which derived from the name of an ancient British river, perhaps meaning "sacred, holy." ... [more]
SAPPINGFIELD American (Anglicized, Rare)
From the German name "Sappenfeld," a small town in Bavaria, Germany. (Pop. 380.) The town itself is named after an early resident named "Sappo;" in English, the name means "Sappo's Field." The name "Sappo" may mean noble (unconfirmed)... [more]
SARD English, French, Spanish, Italian
In the book "Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary by Henry Harrison and Gyda (Pulling) Harrison 1912 - Reprinted 1996.... The Sard surname (which has been in England, Italy and Europe for a long time) is defined thus on page 136...... [more]
SARVER English, Jewish
English and Jewish (eastern Ashkenazic) occupational name from Old French serveur
(an agent derivative of server
‘to serve’), Yiddish sarver
A habitational name from an uncertain place in Northern France. This is most likely Sainville, named from Old French saisne
, 'Saxon' and ville
, indicating a settlement.
Habitational name from a place in West Yorkshire, possibly also one in Cambridgeshire, both so named from Old English Seaxe
"Saxons" and tūn
Habitational name from Scarborough on the coast of North Yorkshire, so named from the Old Norse byname Skarði
+ Old Norse borg
"fortress", "fortified town".
SCHADE German, Dutch, Scottish, English
German and Dutch: from schade
‘damage’, a derivative of schaden
‘to do damage’, generally a nickname for a thug or clumsy person, or, more particularly, a robber knight, who raided others’ lands.... [more]
SCHRAM German, English, Yiddish
Derived from German Schramme
(Middle High German schram(me)
) and Yiddish shram
, all of which mean "scar".
Derived from Scotforth
, the name of a village near Lancaster (in Lancashire) in England. The village's name means "ford of the Scot(s)" and is derived from Old English Scott
"Scot" combined with Old English ford
(i) "person from Scotland"; (ii) "person from Scotland or Scotlandwell", Perth and Kinross; (iii) from the Norman personal name Escotland
, literally "territory of the Scots"
Habitational name from a place in Leicestershire, recorded in Domesday Book as Satgrave and Setgrave; probably named from Old English (ge)set meaning "fold", "pen" (or sēað meaning "pit", "pool") + grāf meaning "grove" or græf meaning "ditch".
Version of Sayer
. Used in the United States. Famous bearer of the name is Richard Warren Sears, one of the founders of Sears, Roebuck and Co.
SEE English, German
Topographic name for someone who lived by the sea-shore or beside a lake, from Middle English see meaning "sea", "lake" (Old English sǣ), Middle High German sē. Alternatively, the English name may denote someone who lived by a watercourse, from an Old English sēoh meaning "watercourse", "drain".
East Anglian surname, from the medieval English masculine name Saulf
which was derived from the Old English elements sǣ
"sea" and wulf
Americanized form of German Sensenbach
, a topographic name formed with an unexplained first element + Middle High German bach ‘creek’.
From the name of the River Severn, which is of unknown meaning. The Severn is Great Britain's longest river, flowing from Wales through much of western England to the Bristol Channel. It is one of Britain’s most ancient river names, recorded as early as the 2nd century AD in the form Sabrina
; its original meaning may have been "slow-moving" or "boundary".
Occupational name for a sieve-maker, Middle English siviere
(from an agent derivative of Old English sife
SEWALL English (British, Modern)Dates back at least to Middle English (1500s or earlier)
; many believe it is Saxon in origin
; "may mean "sea" and "victory" or "war""
Perhaps from a medieval nickname for a man who had had sexual relations with a woman of higher social class (from shag
"to copulate with" (not recorded before the late 17th century) and lady
SHACKLEFORD English, Medieval English
Locational surname deriving from the place called Shackleford in Surrey, near the town of Farnham. The origin of "shackle" is uncertain. It could be derived from Old English sceacan
"to shake"... [more]
SHADE English, German, Dutch, Scottish
Topographic name for someone who lived near a boundary, from Old English scead
‘boundary’.nickname for a very thin man, from Middle English schade
‘shadow’, ‘wraith’.... [more]
Origin unidentified. The name Shadue
is recorded in England in the 12th and 13th centuries, from Middle English shadwe
‘shadow’, Old English sceadu
). However, there is no evidence of its continuation into modern times in this form.
Means "person from Shallcross", Derbyshire ("place by the Shacklecross", an ancient stone cross in the High Peak, its name perhaps denoting a cross to which people could be shackled as a penance).
SHANDY English (Rare)
Shandy appears as a rare surname, mostly found in English-speaking countries going back to the 1600s. This name may originate from the English dialect adjective meaning "boisterous" or "empty headed; half crazy", of which the earliest record dates to 1691, though any further explanation for its origins are unknown... [more]
Habitational name from Sharperton in Northumberland, possibly so named from Old English scearp
"steep" and beorg
"hill", "mound" and tun
English surname which was originally from a place name meaning "gap between hills" in Old English.
Meaning unknown, though possibly a variant of Sean. A famous bearer of the surname is actor Charlie Sheen.
From an Old English place name meaning "valley with steep sides".
From a medieval nickname for a dandyish (showy) or vain man, from Middle English scheldrake
, the male of a type of duck with brightly-coloured plumage (itself from the East Anglian dialect term scheld
"variegated" combined with drake
Probably from a medieval nickname based on Middle English shere
"bright, fair", with the derogatory suffix -ard
English: nickname for a swift runner, from Middle English schere(n)
‘to shear’ + wind
Metonymic occupational name for an armorer, from Middle English scheld
"shield" (Old English scild
An occupational name for someone who laid wooden tiles, or shingles on roofs, an agent derivative Middle English schingle
‘shingle’. ... [more]
Metonymic occupational name for a Skinner, from Old English scinn, Middle English shin ‘hide’, ‘pelt’. In Middle English this word was replaced by the Norse equivalent, skinn.
SHIPLEY English (Rare)
English: habitational name from any of the various places, for example in Derbyshire, County Durham, Northumberland, Shropshire, Sussex, and West Yorkshire, so called from Old English sceap
‘sheep’ + leah
(i) perhaps "person from Shocklach", Cheshire ("boggy stream infested with evil spirits"); (ii) perhaps an anglicization of Swiss German Schoechli
, literally "person who lives by the little barn"
A different form of Carbonell
. Shrapnel (i.e. metal balls or fragments that are scattered when a bomb, shell or bullet explodes) is named after General Henry Shrapnel (1761-1842), a British artillery officer who during the Peninsular War invented a shell that produced that effect.
Regional name from the county of Shropshire, on the western border of England with Wales.
Origin uncertain; perhaps a nickname from Middle English schucke
Originally denoting someone from Sigsworth Moor in North Yorkshire, England.
SILK English, Irish
English: metonymic occupational name for a silk merchant, from Middle English selk(e), silk(e) ‘silk’. ... [more]
A different form of Shillito
(which is 'a name of unknown derivation and meaning, probably originating in Yorkshire'), borne by British novelist, short-story writer and poet Alan Sillitoe (1928-2010).
From Middle English silver
"silver", hence a nickname for a rich man or for someone with silvery gray hair, or a metonymic occupational name for a silversmith.
Topographic name from any of the various streams in different parts of England named with this word, probably from the silvery appearance of the water.
SINNOTT English, Irish
From the medieval personal name Sinod
(from Old English Sigenōth
, literally "victory-brave").... [more]
metronymic from the medieval female personal name Siss, Ciss, short for Sisley, Cecilie, or possibly from a pet form of Sisley (with the old French diminutive suffix -on). variant of Sessions
SKELTON English, German, Norwegian (Rare)
Habitational name from places in Cumbria and Yorkshire, England, originally named with the same elements as Shelton
, but with a later change of ‘s’ to ‘sk’ under Scandinavian influence.
Occupational name for a slater, from Middle English slate
A characteristic name for someone noted for being thin.
SMALLEY English, Cornish (?)
Locational surname from places in Derbyshire and Lancashire, so called from Old English smæl
‘narrow’ + leah
‘wood’, ‘clearing’. This may also be a Cornish name with an entirely separate meaning.
From Old English (smeart
) meaning "quick". This surname was used to refer to person who worked as a handyman.
From Old English Smiðatun
meaning "settlement of the smiths".
SMILEY Scots, English
From elements small
meaning "a small clearing" or as a nickname may refer to a person of happy disposition known for smiling.
From Middle English smoc, smok meaning "smock", "shift", hence a metonymic occupational name for someone who made or sold such garments, or a nickname for someone who habitually wore a smock (the usual everyday working garment of a peasant).
SNAPE English (British), Scottish
An old, now rare surname, with various origins in Suffolk and Yorkshire in England and Lanarkshire in Scotland. This is also the name of Severus Snape, a character from J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter book series.
History largely unknown. The word's original meaning, in the mid-nineteenth century, was to snort / snore, or to find fault. ... [more]
Means "son of Snell
", Snell being a nickname for a brisk or active person, from Middle English snell
"quick, lively" (cf. the Dutch cognate Snell
), but "in part also representing a survival of the Old English personal name Snell or the Old Norse cognate Snjallr
Habitational name from Snowden, a place in West Yorkshire named from Old English snāw ‘snow’ + dūn ‘hill’, i.e. a hill where snow lies long.
Variant spelling of Snowden
, a surname initially used by the Border Reivers. Comes from the mountain in Wales.
Reportedly German and Dutch background? Never have really known. The history that has been told my siblings and I is that three brothers came from Germany to the US in late 1800 and went into business in Phila - they eventually argued and split up and two of them changed the spelling of their last name and scattered throughout PA - When I left home in 1963 - mY Father James Edward Soliday, son of John Soliday and Martha Freidline Soliday and us children were the only ones in our area... [more]
Regional name from the county of this name, so called from Old English sumer(tun)saete
meaning "dwellers at the summer settlement".
From a medieval nickname meaning literally "little red-haired one", from a derivative of Anglo-Norman sorel
From Middle English south
, hence a topographic name for someone who lived to the south of a settlement or a regional name for someone who had migrated from the south.
Occupational surname for a leader or supervisor, derived from the English word sovereign
meaning "possessing supreme or ultimate power".
Habitational name from any places so-called in Northern England. Named from Old Norse saurr
, 'mud, filth' and by
, 'farm, estate'.