One of the first things that spark an interest in many of my clients is the meaning of their surname. What exactly does their surname mean? Some surnames have obvious meanings, and some do not. No Genealogy website would be complete without a list of surname definitions.
This page will be updated on a regular basis and expanded as time allows. I am going to use the Census.gov page as a guide for the top 10 most common names for now:
Top 10 most popular American Surnames in the 2000 US Census
1) Smith – Meaning of name “Smith” – metal worker, blacksmith” from Old English smið, derived from smitan “to smite, to hit”.
2) Johnson – Meaning of name “Johnson” – son of John
3) Williams – Meaning of name “Williams” – son of William
4) Brown – Meaning of name “Brown” – Originally a nickname for a person who had brown hair or skin
5) Jones – Meaning of name “Jones” – Derived from the given name Jon, a medieval variant of John
6) Miller – Meaning of name “Miller” – Occupational surname referring to a person who owned or worked in a grain mill.
7) Davis – Meaning of name “Davis” – Son of David
8 ) Garcia – Meaning of name “Garcia” – According to Elsdon C. Smith, author of “American Surnames,” the name Garcia could mean either “descendant of Garcia, Spanish form of Gerald” or “one who came from Garcia, in Spain. Or, derived from the Basque word hartz, meaning “bear.”
9) Rodriguez – Meaning of name “Rodriguez” – Son of Rodrigo
10) Wilson – Meaning of name “Wilson” – Son of WIll
Surname Meaning Pages