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100 Stylish Southern Last Names: With Meanings

These Southern last names are fixin’ to win your heart.

The Southern portion of the U.S. has a rich history, including Southern last names. Those who claimed these titles helped make the South what it is today. If you’ve ever been curious about your family story, you won’t have to wonder for long.

This list of Southern surnames will help you piece together your family puzzle. It may even provide some first-name inspiration for expecting parents out there. You’ll learn origins, meanings, pronunciations, and fun facts. Little by little, you’ll connect your family tree and gain a better understanding of what makes you unique.

Grab a sweet tea and dive into an ocean of entertaining Southern family names.

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100 Popular Southern Surnames

Hold onto your hat and get lost in a whirlwind of Southern last names.


Abel is commonly associated with a biblical figure known as the first murder victim. Alternate meanings include “noble one.” Though Abel is a Hebrew forename, the surname is strictly German. Today, you’ll find the Abel family in America, Australia, and New Zealand.

  • Origin: Hebrew, German
  • Meaning: Breath
  • Pronunciation: AY-buhl
  • Namesakes: Jack Abel, an American comic book artist known for his work with Marvel.
  • Popularity: In the U.S., Abel is among the top 2,000 surnames.
Spiritual, Traditional, Strong


Adams joined the ranks of political Southern last names, as U.S. President John Adams claimed it. Adams was given initially to sons of Adam, a biblical title meaning earth. Because Adam was such a popular title for men, it’s no surprise that Adams is famous worldwide. Adams consistently ranks among the top 1,000 surnames in America, Canada, and South Africa.

  • Origin: English, Scottish
  • Meaning: Son of Adam
  • Namesakes: Bryan Adams, a Canadian singer and songwriter.
  • Popularity: Adams is well-known in Europe and America.
Biblical, Sophisticated, Classy


Aldean finds a place among country last names beginning with A, though it originated in Europe. Aldean is a variant of Alden, a last name given to friendly individuals. Notable namesakes include Jason Aldean, an American country music singer. This gorgeous namesake has given Aldean a sexy reputation with the ladies.

  • Origin: Irish, British
  • Meaning: Old friend
  • Pronunciation: al-DEEN
  • Popularity: Aldean is prevalent in America and across the pond.
Cute, Fun, Cool


Alden is a derivative of Ealdwine, an Old English last name given to popular men. Fans of the Boxcar Children books will associate Alden with the main character’s last name. Alden originated in England, where many men were wealthy members of society. There’s evidence that members of the Alden clan were on the Mayflower.

  • Origin: English
  • Meaning: Old friend
  • Pronunciation: ALL-dehn, AL-dehn
  • Namesakes: William Alden, an American journalist and writer.
  • Popularity: In America, Alden is among the top 7,000 surnames.
Handsome, Classy, Sophisticated


Allen is a derivative of Alain, an old-fashioned forename still used in France. Alternate meanings include “harmony,” referring to a unified family tree. Though Allen was aristocratic, it joins redneck last names claimed by country music stars. Allen is among the top 50 surnames in Europe and Canada.

  • Origin: Celtic
  • Meaning: Little rock, handsome
  • Variations: Allan, Alan
  • Namesakes: Tim Allen, an American actor known for his role in Toy Story.
  • Popularity: Allen is the 27th most popular surname in the U.S.
Popular, Strong, Traditional


Armstrong was initially bestowed upon those with strong arms. Over time, it evolved to mean “son of the strong man,” furthering its fame. Armstrong is prevalent in the American South, but you’ll also find it in Europe and Australia. The Armstrong family crest depicts arms covered in armor, cementing its tough status.

  • Origin: Scottish, English
  • Meaning: Strong arms
  • Pronunciation: ARM-strohng
  • Namesakes: Neil Armstrong, an American astronaut and the first person to walk on the moon.
  • Popularity: In Canada, Armstrong is among the top 105 surnames.
Fun, Cool, Popular


Atkinson is a derivative of Atkin, one of Adam’s many variations. Atkinson is most prevalent in Australia, but you’ll also find it in Europe and the U.S. The Atkinson clan has deep roots in historical England but migrated to Ireland and the West Indies over time. Interesting namesakes include Lawrence Atkinson, an English musician and poet.

  • Origin: English
  • Meaning: Son of Adam’s kin
  • Pronunciation: AT-kihn-SUHN
  • Namesakes: Alia Atkinson, a Jamaican Olympic swimmer.
  • Popularity: In Australia, Atkinson is among the top 200 surnames.
Patronymic, Classy, Traditional


Unsurprisingly, Baker originated as an occupational surname for those who had communal ovens. Baker has an old-timey feel that appeals to those who prefer stereotypical surnames. Baker is famous in America, Canada, Australia, the U.K., and South Africa. With a last name like Baker, life is sure to be sweet.

  • Origin: English
  • Meaning: Baker
  • Pronunciation: BAY-ker
  • Namesakes: Ronald Baker, an American folklorist.
  • Popularity: In the U.S., Baker is among the top 37 surnames.
Occupational, Fun, Traditional


Though Banks may sound like a title for rich families, it originally referred to clans that lived near rivers. The earliest recording of Banks was in Yorkshire, but you’ll find families with this surname as far as the West Indies. Banks is a popular fictional surname; for example, the Banks family featured in Mary Poppins. Real-life namesakes include Nathaniel Banks, a powerful Union general during the Civil War.

  • Origin: English
  • Meaning: River banks
  • Variations: Bankes
  • Namesakes: Carolyn Banks, an American civil rights activist and the first African American woman to serve on Atlanta’s city council.
  • Popularity: Banks is among the top 300 surnames in the U.K.
Habitational, Strong, Topographical


Barnes is a derivative of bairn, a pet name for a child. Readers will associate Barnes with Barnes and Noble, a famous bookstore. Barnes once referred to those who lived near granaries, but it could have described a stablehand. Standout members of the Barnes family include Robert Barnes, an English reformer and martyr.

  • Origin: English
  • Meaning: Barn
  • Pronunciation: BARNES
  • Namesakes: Jim Barnes, an English golfer who won three professional championships.
  • Popularity: Barnes is among the top 100 surnames in America.
Topographical, Cool, Classy
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Many believe Baskin was originally given to Caucasian families or those with fair, white skin. Alternate meanings include “son of little Bass,” referring to petite clans. Well-known namesakes include Carole Baskin, the founder of Big Cat Rescue. Carole Baskin’s dark story gives this title a creepy air that delights true crime fans.

  • Origin: Irish
  • Meaning: Fair of hand
  • Pronunciation: BASS-kihn
  • Popularity: Baskin is used sporadically in the U.S. but is rare elsewhere.
Fun, Unusual, Rare


Bates is a derivative of Bartholomew, but it can also refer to a boatman. Bates is one of the most publicized Southern surnames, claimed by the stars of television’s Bringing Up Bates. Genealogists should know that Bates can also be spelled “Bate,” expanding the family tree.

  • Origin: English
  • Meaning: Lush pasture
  • Pronunciation: BAYTS
  • Namesakes: Harry Bates, an American science fiction writer.
  • Popularity: Bates is among the top 200 surnames in the U.K.
Cute, Topographical, Occupational


Beauregard was a surname for someone with an attractive face or who lived in a scenic location. Some believe Beauregard referred to someone from Beauregard, France, an old commune. Similar to Beau, Beauregard is a romantic surname, full of charisma.

  • Origin: French
  • Meaning: Beautiful gaze
  • Pronunciation: BOH-reh-gard
  • Namesakes: Nathan Beauregard, an American singer and guitarist.
  • Popularity: Beauregard is popular in Canada but rare elsewhere.
Unusual, Rare, Handsome


Bennett is among the most spiritual Southern family names, bringing to mind Catholicism. Bennett is a derivative of benediction, a spiritual blessing often given at the end of services. Bennett is a shorter variation of MacBennet, commonly found in Ireland. Bennett can mean “well-spoken,” fitting orator to a tee.

  • Origin: English, Irish, Scottish
  • Meaning: Blessed
  • Pronunciation: BEN-eht, ben-NAY
  • Variations: Benet
  • Namesakes: Fran Bennett, an American actress known for her role in The Jeffersons.
  • Popularity: Bennett is among the top 77 surnames in America.
Spiritual, Strong, Cute


Berkley described families who lived next to lush birch tree forests. The birch tree symbolizes rebirth, and many believe it has protective powers. Berkley is traced back to the Battle of Hastings, making it one of the most timeless Southern last names. The Berkley clan originated in Gloucestershire before migrating to Ireland, America, and Canada.

  • Origin: English, Irish
  • Meaning: Birch tree meadow
  • Pronunciation: BERK-lee
  • Variations: Berkeley
  • Namesakes: Austin Berkley, an English football player.
  • Popularity: Berkley is among the top 7,000 surnames in the United States.
Habitational, Topographical, Sophisticated


Black is an occupational surname referring to someone who gets dirty on the job, like a chimney sweep. Black could also be a moniker for blacksmiths or someone with dark features. Fans of Harry Potter will associate Black with Sirius Black, one of the franchise’s main characters. Black is well-known in America, Europe, and Canada.

  • Origin: English, Scottish, Irish
  • Meaning: Black
  • Variations: Blacke
  • Namesakes: Jack Black, an American actor known for his role in School of Rock.
  • Popularity: Black is among the top 200 surnames in America.
Occupational, Classy, Cool


Boone joins the ranks of occupational surnames as it once described someone who farmed beans. Boone will forever have a badass association due to Daniel Boone, a famous American frontiersman. Boone’s backwoods aesthetic gives it an American gothic feel. Other famous namesakes include Herman Boone, the American football coach who inspired Remember the Titans.

  • Origin: German, English, Dutch
  • Meaning: Bean, good
  • Pronunciation: BOON
  • Variations: Boon
  • Namesakes: John William Boone, an American pianist.
  • Popularity: Boone is famous in America and Canada.
Occupational, Fun, Cool


Bowin is a variant of Owen, meaning “young warrior” or “noble born.” Bowin originated in Wales; however, the surname was so rare it didn’t appear until the 1400s. Today, Bowin finds a home in the United States, Canada, and Europe.

  • Origin: Welsh, Ireland
  • Meaning: Son of Owen
  • Pronunciation: BOH-wihn
  • Variations: Bowen
  • Popularity: Bowin is a unique surname worldwide.
Patronymic, Cool, Sophisticated


Bowman referred to a skilled marksman or someone who crafted bows and arrows. Bowman may have been inspired by a particular clan’s usage of a long bow. Bowman has been recorded since the early 1200s, making it a classic for Europeans. Bowman is prevalent in America, Europe, and New Zealand.

  • Origin: English, Irish, Scottish
  • Meaning: Archer
  • Namesakes: Ernie Bowman, an American baseball player.
  • Popularity: In America, Bowman is among the top 300 surnames.
Occupational, Strong, Edgy


Boykin was initially an evil nickname for a fearful individual. Boykin is also related to the Boykos mountains in Ukraine, giving this title a topographical side. Notable namesakes include Otis Boykin, the American inventor of computer electrical resistors. Boykin is a fabulous surname for contemplative families who look before they leap.

  • Origin: Danish, Ukrainian
  • Meaning: Timid
  • Pronunciation: BOY-kihn
  • Namesakes: Keith Boykin, an American commentator.
  • Popularity: Boykin is a globally unusual surname.
Fun, Unusual, Rare
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Brown is a top surname in Canada, France, South Africa, and the United States. Brown was given to people with brown hair or those dressed primarily in brown clothing. Honorable namesakes include Irving Brown, an American trade unionist who revolutionized labor laws. Brown is a recorded last name on the Titanic, claimed by the “Unsinkable” Molly Brown.

  • Origin: English
  • Meaning: Brown
  • Variations: Browne
  • Namesakes: Millie Bobbie Brown, an American actress known for her role in Stranger Things.
  • Popularity: Brown is among the top 5 surnames in America.
Popular, Strong, Traditional


Bryan is a derivative of Brian, a Celtic first name meaning “noble.” Bryan may have referred to people who lived near a prominent hill or those with fancy titles. Often, Bryan is paired with “O,” for example, “O’Bryan.” Notable namesakes include Ashley Bryan, an American children’s author and illustrator.

  • Origin: Celtic
  • Meaning: Hill, high place
  • Pronunciation: BRY-uhn
  • Variations: Brian, Bryane, Briane
  • Namesakes: Luke Bryan, an American country music singer.
  • Popularity: Bryan is prevalent in America and the U.K.
Popular, Topographical, Classy


Buckler is an occupational surname describing buckle makers. The Buckler surname originated in Berkshire, and the clan migrated to the U.S. and Canada. Buckler is among rare surnames, never reaching the 1,000 last names in America. Buckler is a fabulous name for productive families with a keen sense of style.

  • Origin: English, German
  • Meaning: Buckle maker
  • Pronunciation: BUHK-ler
  • Namesakes: Rich Buckler, an American artist known for his work on the Fantastic Four comics.
Occupational, Rare, Unusual


Bush is among the most patriotic country last names, claimed by two former U.S. presidents. Unsurprisingly, Bush once referred to people who lived near brush. The Bush clan was first recorded in Yorkshire before they migrated to America, Canada, and Australia. BBQ enthusiasts will associate Bush with Bush’s Baked Beans, an American cookout favorite.

  • Origin: English
  • Meaning: Low tree
  • Variations: Bushe
  • Namesakes: Kate Bush, an English singer, songwriter, and music producer.
  • Popularity: Bush is popular in America and Europe but rare elsewhere.
Edgy, Topographical, Cool


Butler joins the occupational surnames club, referring to the top servant in a wealthy household. Initially, the butlers were in charge of the wine cellar, a lofty duty for anyone. Thanks to Gone With the Wind’s Rhett Butler, this surname has Southern associations.

  • Origin: Irish, English, German
  • Meaning: Wine steward, servant
  • Namesakes: Octavia Butler, an American science-fiction writer.
  • Popularity: Butler is among the top 100 surnames in America.
Occupational, Popular, Handsome


Calhoun refers to people who dwelled near a corner, but it’s also an occupational surname for a warrior. Cool namesakes include Marge Calhoun, an American surfer and the first woman to win a world championship. Nicholas Sparks exposed the world to Calhoun by naming The Notebook’s leading man Noah Calhoun. Calhoun is a cool-sounding surname with old Southern flair.

  • Origin: Scottish, Gaelic
  • Meaning: From the narrow lands
  • Pronunciation: kal-HOON
  • Variations: Kalhoun, Calhoune
  • Namesakes: Alice Calhoun, an American silent film actress.
  • Popularity: Calhoun is well-known in America but rare elsewhere.
Occupational, Topographical, Habitational


Callaway is habitational, pointing to those who lived in certain parts of Devon or Cornwall. Callaway can also refer to families living in areas with many pebbles. Callaway has an unexpected spiritual side, claimed by Henry Callaway, a missionary and bishop. Callaway is a big name in golf equipment, delighting sports fans.

  • Origin: English
  • Meaning: From Callaway
  • Pronunciation: KAL-uh-WAY
  • Namesakes: Liz Callaway, an American actress and singer known for her role in Anastasia.
  • Popularity: Callaway is prevalent in America but rare elsewhere.
Handsome, Cute, Classy


Carson is the perfect surname for families that live near murky waters. Southern namesakes include Kit Carson, an American frontiersman who inspired many films. Carson may also mean “left-handed,” giving the title a funny side.

  • Origin: Scottish
  • Meaning: Son of the marsh dwellers
  • Namesakes: Johnny Carson, an American comedian and television host.
  • Popularity: Carson is well-known in America, Canada, and Australia.
Handsome, Strong, Topographical


Clark is a derivative of “clerk,” describing a secretary or scribe. Though secretaries are familiar nowadays, in the past, it was rare to find a person that educated. Clark is a traditional surname for Americans, but you’ll also find it in Europe and the West Indies. Clark makes an appearance in the retro show 90210.

  • Origin: English
  • Meaning: Scribe
  • Variations: Clarke
  • Namesakes: Buddy Clark, an American singer who died in a plane crash in 1949.
  • Popularity: In America, Clark is among the top 25 surnames.
Occupational, Cute, Traditional


Cook initially referred to a chef or someone who owned a restaurant. Like many occupational titles, Cook is most prevalent in the United States. Despite its American popularity, Cook originated in 950. Notable namesakes include Dane Cook, an American comedian and actor.

  • Origin: English
  • Meaning: Cook
  • Variations: Cooke
  • Namesakes: Jim Cook, an American NASCAR driver.
  • Popularity: Cook is among the top 100 surnames in the U.S.
Occupational, Popular, Fun
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Copeland pointed to those who bought land, a massive achievement in the Middle Ages. Notable namesakes include George Copeland, an American pianist and composer. Copeland appears in the hit film White Chicks and the video game Days Gone. Copeland is the perfect last name for families with plenty of green acres.

  • Origin: English, Scottish
  • Meaning: Bought land
  • Pronunciation: KOHP-land
  • Namesakes: Kenneth Copeland, an American televangelist and author.
  • Popularity: Copeland is known in the U.S. but rare elsewhere.
Handsome, Unusual, Cool


Corbin joins Southern surnames with exciting interpretations. Corbin is a nickname surname referring to raven-haired men. Corbin is a variant of Corban and Corbijn, Irish and Dutch surnames. Noble namesakes include Margaret Corbin, a woman who fought in the American Revolutionary War.

  • Origin: French, English
  • Meaning: Little raven
  • Pronunciation: KOR-bihn
  • Namesakes: Easton Corbin, an American country music singer.
  • Popularity: Corbin is prevalent in Canada and France.
Edgy, Strong, Classy


Cunningham is a derivative of Conn, meaning “leader chief.” Cunningham was a Scottish clan that originated in the 12th century, named after a portion of Ayrshire. Cunningham is often associated with Liam Cunningham, an actor who stars on Game of Thrones. Harper Lee featured a family named Cunningham in To Kill a Mockingbird.

  • Origin: Scottish
  • Meaning: Leader
  • Pronunciation: KUHN-ing-HAM
  • Variations: Cunninghame
  • Namesakes: Daniel Cunningham, an American anatomist and author.
  • Popularity: Cunningham is well-known in the U.S. and Canada.
Classy, Handsome, Sophisticated


The Davenport family hailed from Davenport, England, before migrating to Canada, America, and the West Indies. Davenport also refers to the Dane River and can also mean “nobleman.” Notable namesakes include Russell Davenport, an American author and publisher.

  • Origin: English, French
  • Meaning: From the Dane River
  • Pronunciation: DAA-vehn-PORT
  • Namesakes: Miriam Davenport, an American painter and sculptor.
  • Popularity: Davenport is prevalent in the United States and the U.K.
Habitational, Strong, Cool


Dawson originated in the 11th century, referring to family members of David. Dawson is a derivative of D’Oson, meaning “from Oson.” Dawson appears on shows like This Man Dawson and the hit film Titanic. Well-known namesakes include Richard Dawson, an American actor known for his role in Hogan’s Heroes.

  • Origin: Scottish, English
  • Meaning: Son of David
  • Pronunciation: DAW-suhn
  • Namesakes: Trent Dawson, an American actor known for his role in As the World Turns.
  • Popularity: Dawson is among the top 310 surnames in America.
Handsome, Edgy, Strong


Dillard is a variation of Dollard, meaning “dull one.” Dillard joins the ranks of redneck last names that double as nicknames. Dillard is often connected to Dillard’s, a famous clothing store founded by William Dillard. Dillard is most popular in the U.S., but you’ll also find it in France.

  • Origin: German
  • Meaning: Dull person
  • Pronunciation: DILL-ard
  • Namesakes: Victoria Dillard, an American actress known for her role in Deep Cover.
  • Popularity: In the U.S., Dillard is among the top 1,000 surnames.
Cute, Rare, Sophisticated


Doby is a variant of Dobbie, an old pet name for Robert. Doby is recorded as early as the 1400s, though the surname is thought to have originated long before. Doby is classified as rare, but it’s seen sporadically in the United States. Doby is simplistic yet unique, just like those who bear the title.

  • Origin: Scottish
  • Meaning: From Dob
  • Pronunciation: DOH-bee
  • Variations: Dobbie
  • Namesakes: Larry Doby, an American baseball player.
  • Popularity: Doby is a globally unique surname.
Unusual, Rare, Edgy


Drayton refers to families living near a ramp for transporting goods. Drayton was initially spelled “de Drayton” before evolving into Drayton in the 1500s. Fun fact: Rapper Flava Flav was born William J. Drayton. Other namesakes include Grace Drayton, an American illustrator for children’s books.

  • Origin: English
  • Meaning: Farmstead near a sledge
  • Pronunciation: DRAY-tuhn
  • Namesakes: Poppy Drayton, an English actress known for her role in Downton Abbey.
  • Popularity: Drayton is among the top 5,000 surnames in America.
Unusual, Topographical, Classy


Duvall is connected to the French word for “valley,” giving it topographical status. Well-known namesakes include Robert Duvall, known for his role in To Kill a Mockingbird. Lesser-known namesakes include Claude Duvall, a poor French highwayman known for his many love interests. Duvall is a fitting title for families full of handsome, talented men.

  • Origin: French
  • Meaning: Of the valley
  • Pronunciation: doo-VAHL
  • Variations: DuVall, Duval
  • Namesakes: Betty Duvall, a Confederate spy in the American Civil War.
  • Popularity: Duvall is among the top 2,000 surnames in the U.S.
Edgy, Fun, Habitational


Ellis is rumored to be a play on the French phrase “fleur-de-lis,” a flower symbolizing French royalty. Ellis is also a variant of Elias, a Hebrew title meaning “the strong Lord.” Notable namesakes include Samuel Ellis, the last known owner of Ellis Island in New York. Ellis Island is hailed for its welcoming nature, giving this surname a kind air.

  • Origin: English, Welsh
  • Meaning: Kind, benevolent
  • Pronunciation: EL-iss
  • Namesakes: Jesse Delano Ellis, an American religious leader who promoted unity between denominations.
  • Popularity: Ellis is among the top 120 surnames in the U.S.
Popular, Cute, Spiritual
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Farrow is a derivative of “ferrer,” the French word for “smith.” Farrow originally described a blacksmith, precisely one who made horseshoes. What a lucky connection for those who believe in good luck charms. Modern namesakes include Ronan Farrow, an human rights activist who happens to be the son of Woody Allen.

  • Origin: English, French
  • Meaning: Ironworker
  • Pronunciation: FAIR-oh, FAR-oh
  • Namesakes: Mia Farrow, an American actress known for her role in The Great Gatsby.
  • Popularity: Farrow is among the top 3,000 surnames in America.
Occupational, Fun, Strong


Ferrell is connected to Fearghail, meaning “valiant warrior.” It’s safe to say that the Ferrell family tree contains many brave men. Ferrell was first recorded in Ireland, quickly spreading to America and New Zealand. Notable namesakes include American actor and comedian Will Ferrell.

  • Origin: English, Irish
  • Meaning: Descendant of Fearghail
  • Pronunciation: fer-EL, FAIR-el
  • Namesakes: Monica Ferrell, an American poet.
  • Popularity: Ferrell is popular in America and Australia.
Traditional, Sophisticated, Cool


Freed evolved from Friedrich, a German forename meaning “peaceful ruler.” Freed is also a variation of “frede, ” for “woodland.” Freed is most prevalent in America and Canada, but it’s used sporadically in Egypt and Pakistan.

  • Origin: German, Jewish
  • Meaning: Woodland
  • Namesakes: Arthur Freed, an American lyricist and film producer.
  • Popularity: Freed is prevalent in America but rare elsewhere.
Unusual, Rare, Cute


Let freedom ring; the Freemans have entered the building! Freeman was often given to African Americans to show they were freed from slavery. Freeman also described the son of a craftsman or carpenter. Freeman appears in The Boondocks cartoons, giving this surname a hilarious side.

  • Origin: Irish, English
  • Meaning: Freeborn man
  • Namesakes: Devonta Freeman, an American football player.
  • Popularity: Freeman is among the top 125 American surnames.
Popular, Handsome, Classy


Fuller is classified as an occupational surname, referring to someone who laundered clothes. Fuller first appeared in Northern England, often with the alternate spelling “Fuler.” Fuller has become a famous surname with the release of Netflix’s Fuller House in 2016. Real-life namesakes include Loie Fuller, an actress and dancer who influenced modern dance techniques.

  • Origin: English
  • Meaning: Fuller of cloth
  • Namesakes: Drew Fuller, an American actor known for his role on Army Wives.
  • Popularity: Fuller is famous in America, Canada, and Australia.
Occupational, Fun, Traditional


Garcia is the Spanish version of Gerald, meaning “rule of the spear.” Some say Garcia is also connected to bears, symbolizing familial loyalty and strength. Garcia has no shortage of namesakes, including Jerry Garcia, a member of The Grateful Dead. Garcia is one of the most prevalent Spanish Southern surnames, representing tradition and vibrant culture.

  • Origin: Spanish, Iberian
  • Meaning: Son of Garcia
  • Pronunciation: gar-SEE-uh
  • Namesakes: Adam Garcia, an Australian actor known for his role in Saturday Night Fever.
  • Popularity: Garcia is prominent in Mexico, Spain, and America.
Exotic, Popular, Patronymic


Goodwin combines “good” and “wine,” which surprisingly is associated with friendship, not alcohol. Alternate meanings include “God’s friend,” describing a close relationship with the Lord. The Goodwin family name was first found in England, where they were wealthy landowners. Eventually, the Goodwins migrated to America, Canada, and New Zealand.

  • Origin: English
  • Meaning: Good friend
  • Pronunciation: GOOD-wihn
  • Namesakes: Ron Goodwin, an English composer and conductor.
  • Popularity: Goodwin is well-known in America and Europe.
Fun, Cute, Strong


Grady is the shortened version of O’Grady, a cute Irish surname that evokes images of leprechauns. Grady also refers to descendants of Grada, a personal name meaning “strong of spear.” Notable namesakes include Monica Grady, a British scientist known for her meteorite studies. Grady is a wonderful surname for families embodying the Irish love and loyalty spirit.

  • Origin: Irish
  • Meaning: Descendant of Grada
  • Pronunciation: GRAY-dee
  • Variations: Gradie
  • Namesakes: James Grady, an American author known for his mysteries.
  • Popularity: Grady is well-known in the United States.
Cool, Sophisticated, Strong


Hall may sound like a topographical title, but it’s occupational. Hall was given to servants who worked in large mansions or gathering halls. Hall has been a prominent surname since medieval times, appearing in many records. The Hall clan was of Norman descent, known for their large lots of land.

  • Origin: Scottish, Irish
  • Meaning: Large manor
  • Variations: Halle
  • Namesakes: Carlotta Hall, an American botanist and author.
  • Popularity: Hall is among the top 30 surnames in America.
Traditional, Popular, Occupational


Hanks will undoubtedly bring to mind Tom Hanks, an American actor famous for his role in Forrest Gump. Hanks is a patronymic surname from Hank, meaning “home-ruler.” Hanks has remained an American relic but is uncommon in other countries.

  • Origin: English, Dutch
  • Meaning: Son of Hankin
  • Variations: Hankes
  • Namesakes: James (Boo) Hanks, an American blues singer.
  • Popularity: Hanks is popular in America but rare elsewhere.
Edgy, Cool, Strong
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Harding is a derivative of “hearding” the French word for “hard.” Harding was a surname given to those with a good work ethic or those who worked tough jobs. Well-known namesakes include Tonya Harding, a talented ice skater who lost her career because of her evil actions. Harding is popular in America but also prevalent in Australia and Europe.

  • Origin: English, Scottish
  • Meaning: Hard working
  • Pronunciation: HAR-ding
  • Variations: Hardinge
  • Namesakes: Eric Harding, an undefeated American boxer in his first 20 fights.
  • Popularity: Harding is well-known in America but rare elsewhere.
Classy, Sophisticated, Strong


Harrison is a derivative of Henry, meaning “home-ruler.” Harrison was first recorded in Lancashire, England, before migrating to the United States and Canada. Aside from being a classic Southern family name, Harrison is also a forename. Harrison has no shortage of namesakes, including presidents, authors, and artists.

  • Origin: English
  • Meaning: Son of Harry
  • Pronunciation: HAIR-ih-suhn
  • Namesakes: Benjamin Harrison, America’s 23rd President.
  • Popularity: Harrison is famous in America, Canada, and Europe.
Popular, Handsome, Traditional


Hayes was initially a habitational surname for those who found roots near forests or namesake cities. Hayes could also have referred to someone who repaired fences or a landscaper. Notable namesakes include Rutherford Hayes, the 19th President of the United States. Hayes is well recognized among redneck last names, belonging to country star Walker Hayes.

  • Origin: English, Scottish
  • Meaning: Brushwood
  • Pronunciation: HAYS
  • Namesakes: Bill Hayes, an American actor and singer.
  • Popularity: Hayes is among the top 100 surnames in America.
Popular, Cool, Edgy


Hazel was given to families who dwelled near a grove of hazel trees. Hazel has magic connections, as the hazel tree was thought to have healing properties. Many would plant hazel trees outside their homes to ward off negative energy. Hazel is the perfect last name for families who believe anything is possible.

  • Origin: English
  • Meaning: Hazel tree
  • Pronunciation: HAY-zel
  • Namesakes: Edward Hazel, an American guitarist and singer.
  • Popularity: Hazel is prevalent in the U.S. but rare elsewhere.
Rare, Unusual, Topographical


Henderson comes from Hendry, a variation of Henry. Henderson was first recorded in Scotland but quickly spread to Ireland and America. You’ll find Henderson in popular shows like 24 and Stranger Things. Henderson is also a popular forename in America and Europe.

  • Origin: Scottish, English
  • Meaning: Henry’s son
  • Pronunciation: HEN-der-suhn
  • Namesakes: Ebenezer Henderson, a Scottish minister and missionary.
  • Popularity: Henderson is popular in America and Europe.
Popular, Handsome, Strong


Hernandez is among the most popular South American surnames, but you’ll also find it in Italy. Hernandez is a patronymic surname, common among Spanish last names. Alternate meanings include “journey” and “brave,” a beautiful tribute to the family’s history. Notable namesakes include Peter Hernandez, also known as American singer Bruno Mars.

  • Origin: Spanish
  • Meaning: Son of Hernan
  • Pronunciation: her-NAN-dehz
  • Namesakes: Jay Hernandez, a Mexican American actor known for his role in Bad Moms.
  • Popularity: Hernandez is among the top 30 surnames in the United States.
Exotic, Handsome, Strong


Holt is a habitational surname given to families with houses surrounded by trees. Holt was first noted in Lancashire, England, in the 1600s, though it’s thought to have existed before then. Notable members of the Holt family include members of the Knights Templar and American governors.

  • Origin: German, English
  • Meaning: Woods, grove
  • Variations: Holte
  • Namesakes: Lester Holt, an American news journalist.
  • Popularity: Holt is among the top 300 American surnames.
Fun, Edgy, Topographical


Holtz is a derivative of “holz,” the German word for “timber.” Holtz may have referred to a woodcutter, but it’s also a title for those who live near forests. Holtz has a few famous namesakes, including mobster Hyman Holtz. You’ll find characters with the surname Holtz on television’s Angel.

  • Origin: Jewish, German
  • Meaning: Wood
  • Namesakes: Tenen Holtz, an American actor known for his role in The Melody Man.
  • Popularity: Holtz is well-known in the U.S. but rare elsewhere.
Occupational, Topographical, Rare


Howard joins the ranks of Southern last names that double as forenames. Howard is a derivative of Huard, a title that can also mean “high guardian.” Some believe that Howard could also be an occupational surname given to a sheep farmer. Notable namesakes include the Howard family, a clan of English aristocrats.

  • Origin: German, English, Norse
  • Meaning: Heart brave
  • Pronunciation: HOW-erd
  • Namesakes: Ron Howard, an American actor and director.
  • Popularity: Howard is among the top 70 surnames in America.
Popular, Classy, Sophisticated


Jewell stems from Joel, a forename meaning “Yahweh is God.” Jewell can also mean “kind” or “generous,” referring to big-hearted families. Notable namesakes include Archie Jewell, an American sailor who survived the Titanic’s sinking. Surprisingly, Jewell isn’t connected to Jewel, but we still think it’s a gem of a surname.

  • Origin: English, Celtic
  • Meaning: Son of Joel
  • Pronunciation: JOO-wull
  • Namesakes: Buddy Jewell, an American country music singer.
  • Popularity: Jewell is well-known in America but rare elsewhere.
Unusual, Cool, Edgy
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Johnson has been popular since the Middle Ages due to the popularity of John. Notable namesakes include Andrew Johnson, the 17th American President. You’ll see Johnson around every corner, including the Harry Potter franchise. The Johnson family tree has stood the test of time and shows no signs of becoming extinct.

  • Origin: English, Scottish
  • Meaning: Son of John
  • Pronunciation: JAHN-suhn
  • Namesakes: Brian Johnson, an English singer and member of AC/DC.
  • Popularity: Johnson is among the top 5 surnames in America.
Traditional, Classy, Popular


Jones has the same meaning as Johnson, though the two are rarely considered in the same sentence. Jones was first recorded in the 1200s, but sadly we don’t know much else. Jones is prevalent worldwide, making it one of the most widely accepted Southern family names. It seems everyone is trying to keep up with the Joneses!

  • Origin: Welsh, English
  • Meaning: Son of John
  • Pronunciation: JOWNS
  • Namesakes: Charles Jones, an American cartoonist known for his work on Looney Tunes.
  • Popularity: Jones is popular in America, Canada, and Europe.
Popular, Sophisticated, Fun


Madison is the Westernization of Mathieson, referring to family members of Matthew or Maude. Aside from being a sophisticated surname, Madison is a well-known first name made popular in the 1980s. Notable namesakes include former American president James Madison. The Madison clan resided in England before traveling to America and New Zealand.

  • Origin: English
  • Meaning: Son of Matthew
  • Pronunciation: MAA-dih-suhn
  • Variations: Maddyson, Maddison
  • Namesakes: Guy Madison, an American actor known for his role in The Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok.
  • Popularity: Madison is popular in New Zealand.
Sophisticated, Cute, Patronymic


Martin is a derivative of Martinus, referring to Mars, the god of war. Martin became a popular surname after the Norman Conquest, but it was a given name before that. Martin has saintly vibes as it’s often associated with Martin, the patron saint of France. It’s no surprise that France claims Martin as one of its top surnames.

  • Origin: Latin, Scottish
  • Meaning: God of war
  • Pronunciation: MAR-tihn, MAR-teen
  • Namesakes: Chris Martin, an English singer and member of Coldplay.
  • Popularity: Martin is all the rage in America and Europe.
Popular, Traditional, Patronymic


Martinez is connected to Martin, a variant of Mars, the Roman god of fertility and war. Martinez is among the top 3 Spanish surnames, originating with the Visigoths. The Martinez family line boasts many great warriors, including Juan Martínez de Ampiés, a soldier and governor of Venezuela. Martinez is a fabulous last name for families who fight for love.

  • Origin: Spanish
  • Meaning: Son of Martin
  • Pronunciation: mar-TEE-nehz
  • Namesakes: Benito Martinez, a Puerto Rican singer also known as “Bad Bunny.”
  • Popularity: Martinez is popular in America and South America.
Patronymic, Exotic, Handsome


Matthews is a derivative of the biblical title Matthew, meaning “gift of God.” Records of the Matthews family date back to the 1000s, with variations like Mathieu. Notable namesakes include Darren Matthews, an American wrestler. You could say the Matthews family is heaven-sent.

  • Origin: English, Welsh
  • Meaning: Son of Matthew
  • Namesakes: Dave Matthews, a South African singer and songwriter.
  • Popularity: Matthews is among the top 200 surnames in America.
Patronymic, Handsome, Traditional


McCrea is a derivative of McRae and Mac Rath, meaning “son of grace.” McCrea is also associated with Clan Macrae, who fought in the American Revolution. McCrea isn’t as popular as other Gaelic surnames, but it’s one of America’s top 5,000 surnames.

  • Origin: Scottish, Gaelic
  • Meaning: Son of prosperity
  • Pronunciation: mih-KRAY
  • Namesakes: Joel McCrea, an American actor known for his role in Alfred Hitchcock films.
Rare, Cool, Fun


McCreary’s meaning is unknown, with some saying it refers to red-haired families and others saying it means “son of Rory.” Like many “Mc” surnames, McCreary originated in Ireland before taking America by storm. Notable namesakes include Bear McCreary, an American composer. McCreary is an adorable surname for families full of vibrant gingers.

  • Origin: Irish, Gaelic
  • Meaning: Red king
  • Pronunciation: mih-KREER-ee
  • Popularity: McCreary is well-known in Europe and America.
Cute, Fun, Sophisticated


Moore is a habitational title referring to families who dwelled near a moor or bog. Moore is prevalent in England, Scotland, and America. Notable namesakes include Demi Moore, an American actress known for her role in St. Elmo’s Fire. With a double “O,” Moore is visually appealing.

  • Origin: English, Irish
  • Meaning: Marsh
  • Namesakes: Mandy Moore, an American actress known for her role in This Is Us.
  • Popularity: Moore is among the top 10 surnames in America.
Handsome, Traditional, Topographical


Perkins means “son of Peter” or “little Peter,” the English version of Pierre. Surnames with Christian associations have been popular since the Middle Ages, making Perkins timeless. You’ll find references to Perkins in Parks and Rec and SpongeBob SquarePants.

  • Origin: English
  • Meaning: Kin of Pierre
  • Namesakes: Annie Perkins, an American writer and poet.
  • Popularity: Perkins is popular in Australia, Europe, and America.
Classy, Handsome, Edgy
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Peyton may sound sweet, but it represents a family with fire in their blood. Peyton was first recorded in Suffolk, England, but quickly spread to Ireland and America. Peyton is also a popular forename that was most popular in the early 2000s. Notable namesakes include Malcolm Peyton, an American composer and conductor.

  • Origin: English
  • Meaning: Fighting man’s estate
  • Pronunciation: PAY-tuhn
  • Variations: Payton
  • Namesakes: Elizabeth Peyton, an American painter.
  • Popularity: Peyton is popular in America and Canada.
Cool, Edgy, Fun


Pine is a topographical surname that refers to people who lived near pine trees, symbolizing strength and resilience. Pine is also a nickname for tall men or men who struggle with chronic pain. Pine can be traced back to the 1600s when it was often spelled “Pyne.” Pine is perfect for families with strong roots who aren’t afraid to “branch” out.

  • Origin: English
  • Meaning: Dwellers by the pine
  • Pronunciation: PYEN
  • Namesakes: Chris Pine, an American actor known for his role in Just My Luck.
Unusual, Rare, Topographical


Pruitt is a derivative of “prou,” meaning “valiant.” Many believe Pruitt was a surname for someone who was both petite and fearless. Notable namesakes include Wendell Pruitt, one of the first American military pilots. The Pruitt family is a fabulous reminder that bravery doesn’t come with a size requirement.

  • Origin: English
  • Meaning: Brave
  • Pronunciation: PROO-eht
  • Namesakes: Jordan Pruitt, an American pop singer.
  • Popularity: Pruitt is well-known in the U.S.
Popular, Strong, Cute


Redd was a nickname surname for those with bright red hair. Redd was first recorded in Northumberland before catching on in the United States. With a double “D” ending, Redd is easily distinguishable from its color homophone. Notable namesakes include Freddie Redd, an American composer and pianist.

  • Origin: English, Scottish
  • Meaning: Red
  • Namesakes: Chris Redd, an American comedian who starred on Saturday Night Live.
  • Popularity: Redd is well-known in the U.S. but rare elsewhere.
Fun, Cute, Unusual


Redmond is a patronymic surname formed from Raymond. Patronymic surnames were all the rage during the Norman invasion, as people were taught to revere their elders. Alternate meanings include “counsel army,” referring to a levelheaded family. Redmond is also a forename primarily found in Europe.

  • Origin: English, Irish
  • Meaning: Wise protector
  • Pronunciation: RED-muhnd
  • Namesakes: Harry Redmond, an American baseball player.
  • Popularity: Redmond is among the top 2,000 surnames in America.
Strong, Handsome, Cool


Riggins is a derivative of “rigge,” meaning “ridge.” Riggins described families that lived near a ridge, but it can also mean “little king.” Many will associate Riggins with Tim Riggins from the hit show Friday Night Lights.

  • Origin: Irish
  • Meaning: Little ridge
  • Namesakes: Reno Riggins, an American pro wrestler.
  • Popularity: Riggins is well-known in America.
Rare, Edgy, Topographical


Rodgers is patronymic, but it’s also occupational as it was given to talented warriors. Rodgers emerged in the 1200s when militaristic surnames were popular. Rodgers is one of America’s most popular country last names, though it’s not as well-known as Rogers.

  • Origin: English
  • Meaning: Son of Roger
  • Pronunciation: RAH-jers
  • Variations: Rogers
  • Namesakes: Aaron Rodgers, an American football player who played for the Green Bay Packers.
  • Popularity: Rodgers is among the top 400 surnames in the U.S.
Patronymic, Classy, Sophisticated


Rodriguez originated with a Germanic tribe that were influential leaders in Spain. Rodriguez can also mean “power” or “famous ruler.” Though Rodriguez is exotic, it’s among the top 10 surnames in America. Rodriguez is a fabulous surname for families that are born to lead.

  • Origin: Spanish
  • Meaning: Son of Rodrigo
  • Pronunciation: rahd-REE-gehz
  • Namesakes: Gina Rodriguez, an American actress known for her role in Jane the Virgin.
  • Popularity: Rodriguez is famous in Canada, America, and Australia.
Patronymic, Exotic, Handsome


Rutledge is a variation of Routledge, a surname referring to those who live near a flowing brook. Rutledge was first recorded in Cumberland before finding a home in Ireland and America. Rutledge is a popular surname in the South and the name of cities in Tennessee and Alabama. Rutledge is famous in America, but Routledge is more common in Europe.

  • Origin: English, Scottish
  • Meaning: Loud stream
  • Pronunciation: RUHT-lej
  • Popularity: Rutledge is among the top 1,000 surnames in America.
Topographical, Popular, Strong


Rutter may evoke images of ships, but it’s an occupational surname for a musician. Some say Rutter may mean “robber” or “highwayman,” giving this surname a badass side. Rutter is among the top 5,000 surnames in America, but you can also find it in Canada and the West Indies. There’s no doubt about it; the Rutter family will steal your heart!

  • Origin: English, French
  • Meaning: Player on the rote
  • Pronunciation: RUH-ter
  • Namesakes: John Rutter, an English composer and conductor.
Unusual, Rare, Occupational
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Shepherd was initially given to herders, particularly those who looked after sheep. Shepherd originated in medieval times like many occupational surnames, though it’s remained popular today. Shepherd finds a home base in England, but it’s also a common surname in America. Fans of Grey’s Anatomy will associate Shepherd with Derek Shepherd, the show’s leading man.

  • Origin: English
  • Meaning: Shepherd
  • Pronunciation: SHEHP-erd
  • Namesakes: Mark Shepherd, an American novelist known for his fantasy books.
Occupational, Classy, Sophisticated


Shirley is commonly considered a vintage forename but is well-known among Southern family names. Shirley described families that lived near the Shirley parish or a wood clearing. Readers will connect Shirley to Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables. Shirley is well-known in America, Canada, and New Zealand.

  • Origin: English
  • Meaning: Meadow, wood
  • Pronunciation: SHER-lee
  • Namesakes: Bob Shirley, an American baseball player.
Cute, Fun, Topographical


Simmons is a derivative of Simon, one of Jesus’ disciples. Simmons is a patronymic surname that some believe evolved from Sigmund, meaning “victorious protector.” Simmons may have been an occupational title referring to a sailor. With a rich family history, it’s no wonder Simmons is so versatile.

  • Origin: English
  • Meaning: Son of Simon
  • Pronunciation: SIH-muns
  • Namesakes: Richard Simmons, an American exercise guru known for his motivational workout videos.
  • Popularity: Simmons is among the top 95 surnames in America.
Popular, Traditional, Cool


Small is a nickname surname pointing to thin men. Small originated in Scotland but quickly migrated to Ireland and the States. Small is one of America’s top 600 surnames and is among Canada’s top 500 surnames.

  • Origin: English, Scottish
  • Meaning: Slender, thin
  • Variations: Smalle
  • Namesakes: Brendon Small, an American composer.
Handsome, Classy, Sophisticated


Smith is among the world’s most famous Southern last names, making America, Canada, and the U.K.’s top 3 list. Smith is a derivative of “smitan,” meaning “strike with a hammer.” Well-known namesakes include Captain John Smith, a settler in Jamestown connected to Pocahontas.

  • Origin: English
  • Meaning: Blacksmith
  • Variations: Smithe, Smythe
  • Namesakes: Will Smith, an American actor and rapper.
  • Popularity: Smith is among the top 5 surnames in America.
Occupational, Traditional, Strong


Spalding is a habitational surname referring to families living near a Lincolnshire market. Spalding is among the top 5,000 surnames in America, but it’s used sporadically in Europe and Canada. Notable namesakes include Dick Spalding, an American soccer player.

  • Origin: English, Scottish
  • Meaning: From Spalding
  • Pronunciation: SPALL-ding
  • Variations: Spaulding
  • Namesakes: Esta Spalding, a Canadian author and poet.
Unusual, Rare, Fun


Strait described clans that lived near a familiar road. Strait may have been a nickname surname referring to someone with a strict personality. Hearers will be reminded of country crooner George Strait, one of country music’s pioneers.

  • Origin: English
  • Meaning: Straight
  • Pronunciation: STRAYT
  • Variations: Straite, Streat
Topographical, Cool, Edgy


Sullivan is the shortened variation of O’Sullivan, meaning “one-eyed” or “hawk.” Sullivan is patronymic, but it could have been given to people with a prominent nose or nosy personality. Sullivan appears in many movies, including the Monsters, Inc. series. Sullivan is famous in Canada, America, and Europe.

  • Origin: Gaelic
  • Meaning: Descendant of Súileabháin
  • Pronunciation: SULL-ih-vin
  • Variations: Sullyvan, Sullivin
  • Namesakes: Eamon Sullivan, an Australian Olympic swimmer.
Popular, Traditional, Patronymic


Taylor became popular in the Middle Ages when a person’s occupation became their identity. Taylor most likely referred to someone who worked with clothing, though it could also belong to a tile worker or butcher. Notable namesakes include Elizabeth Taylor, a British American actress known for her role in A Place in the Sun.

  • Origin: Scottish, English, Irish
  • Meaning: Tailor
  • Pronunciation: TAY-ler
  • Namesakes: James Taylor, an American singer and songwriter.
  • Popularity: Taylor is among the top 10 surnames in America.
Handsome, Sophisticated, Occupational


Tripp was a nickname for those who tend to stumble, but it was also given to graceful dancers. Tripp was first recorded in Kent by wealthy homeowners. Notable namesakes include Edward Tripp, a famed children’s author. Tripp is familiar in the South, but it’s prevalent worldwide.

  • Origin: English, French
  • Meaning: To dance
  • Variations: Trippe
  • Namesakes: Irving Tripp, a British illustrator who worked on the Little Lulu comics.
Cute, Occupational, Classy
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Tyler is an occupational “T” surname referring to someone who made tiles. Tyler took off during medieval times when this job was beneficial. Notable namesakes include Wat Tyler, who led the Peasant’s Revolt.

  • Origin: French, English
  • Meaning: Tiler
  • Pronunciation: TYE-ler
  • Namesakes: Steven Tyler, an American musician and member of Aerosmith.
  • Popularity: Tyler is among the top 500 surnames in America.
Cool, Edgy, Occupational


Underwood’s most popular namesake is American country music star Carrie Underwood. Underwood may not make the most famous list, but it’s still fairly relevant in America and across the pond. Underwood is an epic surname for families who live under the treetops.

  • Origin: English
  • Meaning: Below the wood
  • Namesakes: Antony Underwood, an Australian scientist and author.
Topographical, Cool, Fun


Ventura is short for Bonaventura, meaning “luck. Ventura may have been a nickname surname for those with a keen sense of adventure. Many people will associate Ventura with the Ace Ventura films. Real-life namesakes include Robin Ventura, an American baseball player.

  • Origin: Spanish
  • Meaning: Good fortune
  • Pronunciation: ven-TOOR-uh
  • Namesakes: Giorgio Ventura, an Italian painter.
Exotic, Classy, Strong


Villarreal referred to those who lived in Villarreal, Spain, but it also pointed to those living on homesteads. Villarreal is popular in America and across the pond, particularly in Spain. Villarreal is a fabulous surname for families with rich Spanish culture.

  • Origin: Spanish
  • Meaning: Outlying farmstead
  • Pronunciation: VEE-ah-REE-ah
  • Popularity: Villarreal is among the top 700 surnames in America.
Topographical, Habitational, Exotic


Walker may sound like an active occupation, but it refers to someone who assisted in making clothing. Walker and Fuller were used interchangeably since they referred to the same job. Walker is among the top 20 surnames in America and Australia.

  • Origin: English, German
  • Meaning: Walker
  • Pronunciation: WAH-ker
  • Namesakes: Danielle Walker, an American author and food blogger.
Occupational, Handsome, Traditional


Ward is a derivative of Warden, a title given to those who kept watch. Ward can also be a topographical surname referring to marsh dwellers. Ward was first recorded in Northampton, but today you’ll find it in America and across the pond.

  • Origin: English, Gaelic
  • Meaning: Watchman
  • Variations: Ward, Waard
  • Namesakes: Tyler Ward, an American musician and activist.
Popular, Edgy, Sophisticated


Warring is a variation of Guarin, meaning “to protect.” It’s also a derivative of Warren. It’s unclear whether Warring was an occupational title for a soldier or habitational, pointing to those living near a shelter. Warring was first found in Devon before migrating to Ireland and America.

  • Origin: English
  • Meaning: To shelter
  • Pronunciation: WAR-ing, WAIR-ing
  • Variations: Waring
  • Popularity: Warring is a unique surname worldwide.
Edgy, Unusual, Rare


Wells was initially given to someone who managed the communities well or lived near a group of springs. Wells was also slang for “Wales,” pointing to historic Englishmen. The first recorded instance of Wells was in the 1100s, but it’s still famous today, doubling as a forename.

  • Origin: English
  • Meaning: Spring stream
  • Variations: Welles
  • Namesakes: Clara Wells, an American inventor and writer.
Cute, Topographical, Fun


Wilder was a nickname surname given to men with unruly personalities. Wilder may have been a title for men who could subdue wild animals. Notable namesakes include Laura Ingalls Wilder, who wrote the Little House on the Prairie books. Wilder is the perfect surname for families with a fun-loving hillbilly side.

  • Origin: English, German
  • Meaning: Wild animal
  • Variations: Wylder
  • Popularity: Wilder is popular in America but rare elsewhere.
Cool, Edgy, Popular


There’s debate about where Williams originated, with some saying England, while others say France. Williams is a derivative of William, meaning “desire” or “helmet of protection.” Williams is well-known worldwide but is most prevalent in America, Australia, and the U.K.

  • Origin: Welsh, French
  • Meaning: Son of William
  • Pronunciation: WILL-yuhms
  • Namesakes: Darnell Williams, an American actor known for his role in All My Children.
  • Popularity: Williams is among America’s top 3 surnames.
Traditional, Classy, Handsome
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About the Author

Cate Hoepner

Cate Hoepner is a professional blogger and freelance writer of seven years. Before transitioning into a writing role, she worked in finance and customer service. Cate enjoys DIY projects, old movies, music, and a good cup of coffee. In her free time, you'll find her homeschooling her three kids, crafting her dream homestead, and reading anything she can get her hands on.