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.
Northern English: of uncertain origin, perhaps a habitational name from a minor place named with Old Norse gafl
‘gable’, which was applied to a triangular-shaped hill. The mountain called Great Gable in Cumbria is named in this way.... [more]
Habitational name from Cadborough, alias Gateborough, in Rye, Sussex, probably so named from Old English gāt meaning "goat" + beorg meaning "hill".
Habitational name from Gaddesby in Leicestershire, recorded in Domesday Book as Gadesbi
and so named from the Old Norse personal name Gaddr
(or from Old Norse gaddr
"spur (of land)") and býr
GAINES English, Norman, Welsh
English (of Norman origin): nickname for a crafty or ingenious person, from a reduced form of Old French engaine
‘ingenuity’, ‘trickery’ (Latin ingenium
‘native wit’). The word was also used in a concrete sense of a stratagem or device, particularly a trap.... [more]
From the city of Gainsborough in Lincolnshire, England. A famous bearer of this surname includes English painter Thomas Gainsborough.
GALL Scottish, Irish, English
Nickname, of Celtic origin, meaning "foreigner" or "stranger". In the Scottish Highlands the Gaelic term gall
was applied to people from the English-speaking lowlands and to Scandinavians; in Ireland the same term was applied to settlers who arrived from Wales and England in the wake of the Anglo-Norman invasion of the 12th century... [more]
Nickname for a cheerful or high-spirited person, from Old French, Middle English galant
"bold, dashing, lively". The meanings "gallant" and "attentive to women" are further developments, which may lie behind some examples of the surname.
English: occupational name for a messenger or scullion (in a monastery), from Old French galopin ‘page’, ‘turnspit’, from galoper ‘to gallop’.
from the Old Norse byname Gamall meaning "old", which was occasionally used in North England during the Middle Ages as a personal name. ... [more]
From a medieval nickname applied to a merry or sportive person (from Middle English gamen
"game"), or to someone who walked in a strange way or had some peculiarity of the legs (from Anglo-Norman gambon
From the Norman personal names Geribodo
, of Germanic origin and meaning literally "spear-messenger", and Geribald
, of Germanic origin and meaning literally "spear-brave".
(i) "grower or seller of garlic"; (ii) perhaps from a medieval personal name descended from Old English Gārlāc
, literally "spear-play"; (iii) an anglicization of the Belorussian Jewish name Garelick
, literally "distiller"
Meaning "Goat Shelter". English (Lancashire) habitual name from Gatesgill in Cumbria, so named from Old Norse geit ‘goat’ + skáli ‘shelter’. The surname is first recorded in the early half of the 14th Century.
Topographic name for someone who lived by the gates of a medieval walled town. The Middle English singular gate
is from the Old English plural, gatu
, of geat
"gate" (see Yates
English of uncertain origin; probably a variant of Catlin
, a nickname from Old English gœdeling
‘kinsman’, ‘companion’, but also ‘low fellow’.
A different form of Gadsby
("person from Gaddesby", Leicestershire ("Gaddr's farmstead")). A fictional bearer is Jay Gatsby, the central character of F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel 'The Great Gatsby' (1925).
Perhaps an altered spelling of the middle English Gabbett
, which is from a pet form of the personal name GABRIEL
GAY English, French
Nickname for a lighthearted or cheerful person, from Middle English, Old French gai
GAY English, Norman
Habitational name from places in Normandy called Gaye, from an early proprietor bearing a Germanic personal name cognate with Wade.
Derived from Old French gaillard
meaning "high-spirited, boistrous".
Variant of Geer, Gehr or Geary
, all related to the Old High German element gēr
(Old English gār
, Old Norse geirr
) meaning "spear, arrow". A famous bearer is American actor Richard Gere (b... [more]
GERMAN English, Norman, German, Jewish, Greek
From Old French germain
meaning "German". This sometimes denoted an actual immigrant from Germany, but was also used to refer to a person who had trade or other connections with German-speaking lands... [more]
Gifford is an English name for someone who comes from Giffords Hall in Suffolk. In Old English, it was Gyddingford, or "ford associated with Gydda." Alternatively, it could come from the Middle English nickname, "Giffard," from Old French meaning "chubby-cheeked."
Means either (i) "person from Gilby", Lincolnshire ("Gilli's farm"); or (ii) "little Gilbert
Topographic name for someone who lived by a ravine or deep glen, Middle English gil(l), Old Norse gil "ravine"
From the Norman personal name Gillebrand
, of Germanic origin and meaning literally "hostage-sword".
Either (i) from a shortened form of the Germanic personal name Gangulf
, literally "walking wolf"; or (ii) a different form of Gingold
From a medieval nickname applied to a brave man (or, with heavy irony, to a cowardly one), from Old French cuer de lion
From a short form of the various Old English personal names with a first element glæd
"shining, joyful". Compare Gladwin
Probably means "bright island", from the Old English element glæd
"bright" and the English element ney
"island" (cf.... [more]
Means either "sword-maker" or "sword-seller", or else from a nickname applied to a skilled swordsman (in either case from Middle English gleyve
GLISSEN English, Irish
Possible British version of the Irish surname Glasson from the the Gaelic word O’Glasain. Meaning green from the counties of Tipperary.
GOBER English, French
The surname Gober was first found in Warwickshire where they held a family seat as Lords of the Manor. The Norman influence of English history dominated after the Battle of Hastings in 1066. The language of the courts was French for the next three centuries and the Norman ambience prevailed.
Comes from the Germanic personal name Godin-, a pet form of any of various compound names beginning with god, got ‘god’. Compare Godbold, Goddard, and Godfrey.
GOLD English, German
From Old English, Old High German gold
"gold", applied as a metonymic occupational name for someone who worked in gold, i.e. a refiner, jeweler, or gilder, or as a nickname for someone who either had many gold possessions or bright yellow hair.
Occupational name for a worker in gold, a compound of Old English gold
"gold" and smið
"smith". In North America it is very often an English translation of German or Jewish Goldschmidt
Nickname from Middle English gode
"good" (Old English gōd
Habitational name from Gowdall in East Yorkshire, named from Old English golde
"marigold" and Old English halh
From Middle English gode
"good" and ale
"ale, malt liquor", hence a metonymic occupational name for a brewer or an innkeeper.
From a medieval nickname probably applied either to someone of average abilities or to an easily satisfied person; also, perhaps from a medieval nickname meaning "good servant".
Generally explained as a nickname meaning 'good fellow' or 'good companion'.
The name Gooding comes from the baptismal name for "the son of Godwin"
A combination of the words "good" and "man". A nickname given to a kind man.
Nickname for a dutiful son, from Middle English gode
‘good’ + sone
A name originating from Kent, England believed to come from the elements gara
meaning "from a triangular shaped homestead." Compare Gore
English: habitational name from Gotham in Nottinghamshire, so named from Old English gat
‘goat’ + ham
‘homestead’ or hamm
Metonymic occupational name for a clerk or scribe, from Anglo-Norman French grafe
"quill, pen" (a derivative of grafer
"to write", Late Latin grafare
, from Greek graphein
GRANGE English, French
English and French topographic name for someone who lived by a granary, from Middle English, Old French grange
‘granary’, ‘barn’, from granum
GRANT English, Scottish
From a medieval personal name, probably a survival into Middle English of the Old English byname Granta
Habitational name from Grantham in Lincolnshire, of uncertain origin. The final element is Old English hām
"homestead"; the first may be Old English grand
"gravel" or perhaps a personal name Granta
, which probably originated as a byname meaning "snarler"... [more]
GRASS English, German
Topographic name for someone who owned or lived by a meadow, or a metonymic occupational name for someone who made or sold hay, from Middle English gras
, Middle High German gras
"grass, pasture, grazing".
Occupational name from Middle English greyve "steward", from Old Norse greifi or Low German greve
GRAYLING English (British)
Uncommon surname of unclear origin; possible medieval locational name, or a derivative of the French surname Grail or the diminutive Graillon.... [more]
GREELEY English, Norman
English (of Norman origin): nickname for someone with a pock-marked face, from Old Northern French greslé
‘pitted’, ‘scarred’ (from gresle
‘hailstone’, of Germanic origin).
Notable bearers include film director Paul Greengrass and baseball player Jim Greengrass.
From one of two placenames, located near the Anglo-Scottish border. Named with Old English grēne
, 'green' and halw
, 'hill, mound'.
From Old English grēne
"green" and lēaf
"leaf", presumably applied as a nickname, the significance of which is now lost.
habitational name from any of various minor places, for example in Staffordshire, so named from Old English grene ‘green’ + leah ‘woodland clearing’.
Originally given to a person who lived near a grassy path, from Middle English grene
"green" and weye
"road, path" (cf. Way
Topographic name for someone who lived in a dense forest, from Middle English grene
"green" and wode
"wood", or a habitational name from a minor place so named, as for example Greenwood in Heathfield, East Sussex.
GRIMES English, Irish
The surname Grimes means 'son of Grimme'. It is also an anglicized version of the Irish surnames 'O Gormghaile', and 'O Goirmleadhaigh' from Ulster.... [more]
GRIMKÉ English (American)
Meaning unknown. This was the surname of Sarah (1792-1873) and Angelina (1805-1879) Grimké, sisters who opposed slavery and supported women's rights.
GRIMM Anglo-Saxon, English, German, Danish, Swedish (Rare), Norwegian (Rare)
Nickname for a dour and forbidding individual, from Old High German grim
"stern, severe" or from the given name GRÍMR
derived from Old Norse gríma
"mask, helmet". The name had its greatest popularity in Germany but was almost equally popular in England, having been introduced there by the conquering Norman-French after the invasion of 1066... [more]
Name for someone who lived by a grove or thicket, Middle English grove
, Old English graf
Probably a Middle English metathesized form of the Old French personal name Gondri
GRYLLS English (Rare)
There was an old and distinguished family of Grylls of Tavistock (Devon) and Lanreath (Cornwall) in the 17th century; two high sheriffs of the county then bore the name. The manor of Gryils (commonly mispronounced Garles), near the rocks called the Gryils or Garles, from which they probably derive their name, is in the parish of Lesneweth in that county.
from Middle English gojon, gogen, Old French gougon ‘gudgeon’ (the fish) (Latin gobio, genitive gobionis), applied as a nickname or perhaps as a metonymic occupational name for a seller of these fish... [more]
Nickname for a stranger or newcomer to a community, from Middle English g(h)est meaning "guest", "visitor" (from Old Norse gestr, absorbing the cognate Old English giest).
From the Middle English personal name Gullake
, a descendant of Old English Gūthlāc
, literally "battle-sport".
From a medieval nickname for a greedy person (from Old French goulafre
"glutton"). Jonathan Swift used it in his satire 'Gulliver's Travels' (1726), about the shipwrecked ship's surgeon Lemuel Gulliver, whose adventures "offer opportunities for a wide-ranging and often savage lampooning of human stupidity and vice."
From a nickname or byname from Middle English gome
, Old English guma
, an Old French personal name introduced to Britain by the Normans, composed of the Germanic elements gund
"battle" and rīc
English habitational name from a place in Wootton Fitzpaine, Dorset, Gupehegh in Middle English. This is named with the Old English personal name Guppa
(a short form of Guðbeorht
"battle bright") + (ge)hæg
Occupational name for a guide, Old French gui
(a derivative of gui(d)er
"to guide", of Germanic origin).
GUY English, French
From a French form of the Germanic personal name Wido
, which is of uncertain origin. This name was popular among the Normans in the forms Wi
as well as in the rest of France in the form Guy
Derived from the Old English word had meaning "heathland" and the Old English suffix -don meaning "hill"; hence, the "heathland hill" or the "heather-covered hill".... [more]
HAILES Scottish, English
Scottish habitational name from Hailes in Lothian, originally in East Lothian, named from the Middle English genitive or plural form of hall
‘hall’. ... [more]
Probably a variant of Harefield, a habitational name from a place so named, for example the one Greater London or Harefield in Selling, Kent, which are both apparently named from Old English here ‘army’ + feld ‘open country’.
Location name combining the elements hall
as in "large house" and lee
meaning "field or clearing."
Northern English (Lancashire) habitational name from a place near Manchester called Halliwell, from Old English halig
‘holy’ + well(a)
‘well’, ‘spring’, or from any of the numerous other places named with these elements (see Hollowell
From Middle English halfmark ‘half a mark’, probably a nickname or status name for someone who paid this sum in rent.
English: topographic name from Middle English hal(l)owes
‘nooks’, ‘hollows’, from Old English halh
). In some cases the name may be genitive, rather than plural, in form, with the sense ‘relative or servant of the dweller in the nook’.
HAMER English, German
From the town of Hamer in Lancashire from the old english word Hamor
combining "Rock" and "Crag". It is also used in Germany and other places in Europe, possibly meaning a maker of Hammers.
Nickname for a scarred or maimed person, from Middle English, Old English hamel
HAMMER German, English, Jewish
From Middle High German hamer
, Yiddish hamer
, a metonymic occupational name for a maker or user of hammers, for example in a forge, or nickname for a forceful person.
From a personal name, Hamo(n)
, which is generally from a continental Germanic name Haimo
, a short form of various compound names beginning with haim
"home", although it could also be from the Old Norse personal name Hámundr
, composed of the elements hár
"high" and mund
Habitational name from a place called Hanham in Gloucestershire, which was originally Old English Hānum, dative plural of hān ‘rock’, hence ‘(place) at the rocks’. The ending -ham is by analogy with other place names with this very common unstressed ending.
This surname is of Anglo-Saxon origins, and is derived from the personal names Rabin, Robin, and Robert. It has the English prefix 'har', which means gray.... [more]
HARBOUR English, French
English: metonymic occupational name for a keeper of a lodging house, from late Old English herebeorg
‘shelter’, ‘lodging’ (from here ‘army’ + beorg ‘shelter’). (The change of -er- to -ar- is a regular phonetic process in Old French and Middle English.... [more]
From a sporting phrase used to guide and incite hunting dogs.
HARKER English (British)
English (mainly northeastern England and West Yorkshire): habitational name from either of two places in Cumbria, or from one in the parish of Halsall, near Ormskirk, Lancashire. The Cumbrian places are probably named from Middle English hart ‘male deer’ + kerr ‘marshland’... [more]
HARKNESS Scottish, English (British), Northern Irish
Apparently a habitational name from an unidentified place (perhaps in the area of Annandale, with which the surname is connected in early records), probably so called from the Old English personal name Hereca
(a derivative of the various compound names with the first element here
‘army’) + Old English næss
‘headland’, ‘cape’... [more]
HARLESS English, German
English: probably a variant spelling of Arliss
, a nickname from Middle English earles
‘earless’, probably denoting someone who was deaf rather than one literally without ears.
English surname transferred to forename use, from the Norman French personal name Herluin
, meaning "noble friend" or "noble warrior."
HARMER English (British)
Meaning, of the Army or man of Armor, from the battle at Normandy, France. It was formerly a French last name Haremere after the battle at Normandy it moved on to England where it was shortened to Harmer.
HAROLD English, Norman, German
English from the Old English personal name Hereweald
, its Old Norse equivalent Haraldr
, or the Continental form Herold
introduced to Britain by the Normans. These all go back to a Germanic personal name composed of the elements heri
‘army’ + wald
‘rule’, which is attested in Europe from an early date; the Roman historian Tacitus
records a certain Cariovalda
, chief of the Germanic tribe of the Batavi, as early as the 1st century ad... [more]
Means "person from Harrow", the district of northwest Greater London, or various places of the same name in Scotland ("heathen shrine").
Habitational name from Hertford, or from either of two places called Hartford, in Cheshire and Cumbria; all are named with Old English heorot ‘hart’ + ford ‘ford’.
HARTLEY English, Scottish
Derived from the Old English words meaning heorot
meaning "hart" and leah
meaning "clearing". Also from Scottish Ó hArtghaile
meaning "descendant of Artghal". Hartley
is also an English given name.
This surname is a habitational one, denoting someone who lived in a village in County Durham or in North Yorkshire.... [more]
Habitational name from places in Buckinghamshire, Northamptonshire, and Staffordshire called Hartwell, from Old English heorot
‘stag’, ‘hart’ + wella
‘spring’, ‘stream’... [more]
From the Old English given name Hereweard
, composed of the elements here
"army" and weard
"guard", which was borne by an 11th-century thane of Lincolnshire, leader of resistance to the advancing Normans... [more]
HARWOOD English, Scots
Habitation name found especially along the border areas of England and Scotland, from the Old English elements har
meaning "gray" or hara
referring to the animals called "hares" plus wudu
for "wood"... [more]
Habitational name of uncertain origin. The surname is common in London, and may be derived from Alsa (formerly Assey) in Stanstead Mountfitchet, Essex (recorded as Alsiesheye in 1268). nother possible source is Halsway in Somerset, named from Old English hals
‘neck’ + weg
Means "person from Hassall", Cheshire ("witch's corner of land").
English (mainly Hampshire and Berkshire): topographic name from Middle English hacche ‘gate’, Old English hæcc (see Hatcher). In some cases the surname is habitational, from one of the many places named with this word... [more]
Southern English: topographic name for someone who lived by a gate, from Middle English hacche (Old English hæcc) + the agent suffix -er. This normally denoted a gate marking the entrance to a forest or other enclosed piece of land, sometimes a floodgate or sluice-gate.
From the Middle English male personal name Havelok
, from Old Norse Hafleikr
, literally "sea sport". It was borne by the British general Sir Henry Havelock (1795-1857).
HAVERFORD Welsh, English
Haverford's name is derived from the name of the town of Haverfordwest in Wales, UK
HAWLEY English, Anglo-Saxon
Means "hedged meadow". It comes from the English word haw
, meaning "hedge", and Saxon word leg
, meaning "meadow". The first name Hawley
has the same meaning.
HAWTHORNE English, Scottish
English and Scottish: topographic name for someone who lived by a bush or hedge of hawthorn (Old English haguþorn
, i.e. thorn used for making hedges and enclosures, Old English haga
, (ge)hæg), or a habitational name from a place named with this word, such as Hawthorn in County Durham... [more]
HAY English, Scottish, Irish, Welsh, French, Spanish, German, Dutch, Frisian
Scottish and English: topographic name for someone who lived by an enclosure, Middle English hay(e)
(Old English (ge)hæg
, which after the Norman Conquest became confused with the related Old French term haye
‘hedge’, of Germanic origin)... [more]
English (West Midlands): from a medieval personal name, a pet form of Hay
, formed with the Middle English hypocoristic suffix -cok (see Cocke
English habitational name from several places called Heyford in Northamptonshire and Oxfordshire, or Hayford in Buckfastleigh, Devon, all named with Old English heg
‘hay’ + ford
Either (i) "person from Hayling", Hampshire ("settlement of Hægel's people"); or (ii) from the Old Welsh personal name Heilyn
, literally "cup-bearer" (see also Palin
English (Hampshire, Dorset, and Wiltshire) topographic name for someone who lived at the top of a hill or on a piece of raised ground, from Middle English heyt
‘summit’, ‘height’ + the agent suffix -er
English: habitational name from Haywards Heath in Sussex, which was named in Old English as ‘enclosure with a hedge’, from hege ‘hedge’ + worð ‘enclosure’. The modern form, with its affix, arose much later on (Mills gives an example from 1544).
HAZARD English, French, Dutch
Nickname for an inveterate gambler or a brave or foolhardy man prepared to run risks, from Middle English, Old French hasard
, Middle Dutch hasaert
(derived from Old French) "game of chance", later used metaphorically of other uncertain enterprises... [more]
Means "person from Hazelden", the name of various places in England ("valley growing with hazel trees").
Hazel is referring to hazel trees, while ton is from old english tun meaning enclosure, so an enclosure of hazel trees, or an orchard of hazel trees.
Habitational name from any of various places, for example in Devon, Derbyshire, Suffolk, Surrey, and West Yorkshire, so called from Old English hæsel (or Old Norse hesli) ‘hazel (tree)’ + wudu ‘wood’; or a topographic name from this term.
HAZLETT English (British)
Topographic name for someone who lived by a hazel copse, Old English hæslett (a derivative of hæsel ‘hazel’). habitational name from Hazelhead or Hazlehead in Lancashire and West Yorkshire, derived from Old English hæsel ‘hazel’ + heafod ‘head’, here in the sense of ‘hill’; also a topographic name of similar etymological origin.
Habitational surname for a person from Healey near Manchester, derived from Old English heah
"high" + leah
"wood", "clearing". There are various other places in northern England, such as Northumberland and Yorkshire, with the same name and etymology, and they may also have contributed to the surname.
Occupational name for a tender of animals, normally a cowherd or shepherd, from Middle English herde
(Old English hi(e)rde
English habitational name from any of various places called Heathcote, for example in Derbyshire and Warwickshire, from Old English h?ð
‘heathland’, ‘heather’ + cot
Famous bearer is William Heddle Nash (1894-1961), the English lyric tenor.
Topographic name for someone who lived by a hedge, Middle English hegg(e)
. In the early Middle Ages, hedges were not merely dividers between fields, but had an important defensive function when planted around a settlement or enclosure.
From various place names in United Kingdom. Derived from Olde English elements of "halig" meaning holy, and "waella", a spring.
This English habitational name originates with the North Yorkshire village of Helmsley, named with the Old English personal name Helm
, meaning 'clearing'.