Most Common Last Names in the U.S.
The Most Popular Last Names
Surnames, or family names, were first used during medieval times and usually referred to a person's occupation (i.e. Miller, Tailor, Potter, Weaver, Baker). These are called occupational names. Other common surnames were patronymics, which came from a father's first name and then "son" was added, as in Stevenson, Davidson, Robertson or Richardson. Surnames could also come from places--a hint that a name comes from a place might be the endings -field, -ford, -brook, or -wood, for example. The trend of naming people after the places that they come from goes beyond the English language, many German, Dutch Norwegian and Swedish last names end in -berg (which means mountain in those languages) .
In the United States, Smith was the most popular surname in in 1990 and retained that spot ten years later. Garcia jumped in popularity from 18th-most-popular name in 1990 to sixth-most-popular last name in 2010. Robinson was the 20th-most-popular name in 1990 but fell off the list, as hispanic surnames become more common.
Visit Family Name Search to discover the meanings and origins of last names.
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