Most Popular Last Names have been a significant cultural practice for thousands of years all over the world. The nomenclature of a surname, or last name, is just as complicated as a given name because given names are chosen in a variety of ways across cultures.
Continue reading for a list of the most widely used family names in the United States, ranging from Smith to Sullivan, Sanders to Myers, and Reyes to Roberts!
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The History of Last Names
Last names, otherwise called family names, were first utilized during bygone eras and ordinarily alluded to an individual’s occupation (for example Turner, Mill operator, Designer, Potter, Weaver, Bread cook). These are called word related names.
Surnames can also come from places; for instance, the endings -field, -ford, -brook, or -wood can indicate that a name comes from a place. Over time, the locative name “Henry of the Marsh” might have been changed to “Henry Marsh.”
Many German, Dutch, Norwegian, and Swedish last names end in -berg, which means mountain in those languages. This trend of naming people after their origins extends beyond the English language Most Popular Last Names.
Patronymics & Surnames
When discussing the patronymic naming system, for example, many of these same principles apply to other languages.
Another common pattern for surnames was to take a father’s first name and add “son,” as in Stevenson, Davidson, Robertson, or Richardson.
Furthermore, a similar patronymic framework continued into unknown dialects, too. For instance, those of Spanish drop have an intriguing method for meaning familial lines through the last name alone. As a matter of fact, the postfix “- ez” in Spanish names is a patronymic expansion, similar to “child”. In that custom, Martínez then would be the relative of Martín.
Similar to this, Iceland’s patronymic and matronymic systems, which have existed for centuries and include the suffixes “son” and “daughter,” help people identify family ties. Icelandic surnames are based not only on family names but also on the child’s father or mother’s first name for those who use this system.
Thusly, you will find numerous Icelandic family names finishing off with – child or – dóttir, making an interpretation of individually to “child of” or “little girl of”, interfacing with the genitive type of the dad or mother’s name going before it. A few instances of this naming show remember a Viking pilgrim of Vinland for North America, named Gudrid Thorbjarnardóttir; creator of “The Young lady With the Mythical serpent Tattoo”, Stieg Larsson; and in 2009, Jóhanna Sigurardóttir, Iceland’s first female prime minister.
Where Do the Most Popular Last Names in America Come From?
The US has for quite some time been a mixture for different societies from across the globe. As a result, it should not come as a surprise that the number and ethnicity of immigrants who have joined the ranks of Americans has a significant impact on U.S. statistics for last names. America is full of people from all over the world, from Scots to Portuguese immigrants, and that diversity extends to its names.
Ethnicity, Immigration, and Surnames
Spanish, Portuguese, Scottish, Welsh, Irish, and English settlers who arrived on North American shores and brought their family nomenclature with them are among the most influential ethnic groups to have altered the fabric of American family names.
Since these pilgrims were a portion of the primary Europeans to show up in the New World and would proceed to populate a significant part of the huge, disrupted country, their names have stayed close by for quite a long time. Roberts, Lewis, Phillips, Edwards, Evans, Cooper, Hughes, Rogers, Bailey, and Scott are among these surnames.
In different spots the nation over — especially in the southwest — Hispanic or Latino populaces showed up with something else entirely of family names. These can incorporate Chavez, Diaz, Ruiz, Cruz, Gutierrez, Mendoza, Jimenez, and numerous others.
Also, across the west coast and Hawaii, you could track down last names of Asian plunge, including Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Thai, or Japanese. Nguyen, Lee, Zhang, Wong, and Kim are among the names that have seen a rise in popularity over the past few decades.
American History and Last Names
Surnames are also determined by their history. For instance, during the period before the American Nationwide conflict while slave-possessing was lawful, many obligated individuals had to assume the names of the people who bought them, for example, “Roberts”, “Jacobs”, or even last names that signified skin tone (like “White”, “Dark”, or “Brown”).
Likewise, when the Local American populaces were constrained into private schools or reservations, many had their character stripped away by the state and the public authority. Instead of their centuries-old traditional names, indigenous people were forced to adopt “white” or Catholic ones.
But the country we have today and the last names that you, your friends, and your acquaintances are known by are the result of these ripple effects and immigration status.
What Is the Most Common Last Name in the U.S.?
As a result, a state or county’s popularity will vary greatly based on its history and ethnic composition. Furthermore, it likewise relies upon which year you investigate!
For instance, in the US, Smith was the most famous family name in 1990 and held that spot a decade after the fact. From the 18th most popular name in 1990 to the sixth most popular last name in 2010, Garcia has grown in popularity. In 1990, Robinson ranked 20th, but as Latino surnames became more common, it dropped off the list.
Let’s take a look at fifty of the most popular and widespread last names in the United States now that we have briefly discussed the history of names.
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Summing Up Surnames
Did any of these lists include your last name? Even if you don’t hear a surname every day, you might be surprised at how common it is. However, regardless of how well-known your surname may be, it is still one of the most essential methods for tracing your family history and identity over time Most Popular Last Names !
Visit Family Name Search to learn more about the meanings and origins of last names if you are curious about your own name. Alternately, if you’re interested in learning more about America as a whole, take our U.S. States Quiz to test your knowledge Most Popular Last Names.