What Your Last Name Means

What Your Last Name Means

In This video, we discuss the meaning and origins behind many Western surnames.

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By Diego Rivera – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=26352023
By Zyance – Own work, CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1746319
By User:Mewes – de:wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=62749
By GdML – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=60337786
By Andrew Shiva / Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=26056970
By Cameron Pauley – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=79672095
By Dave Lindblom – https://www.flickr.com/photos/8250578@N06/4395753676/, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=21650743
By Andreas Tille – Own work – see http://fam-tille.de/sparetime.htmlImage with Information in EnglishBild mit Informationen auf Deutsch, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=20886
By Oleg Bkhambri (Voltmetro) – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=69987506
By Helgi Halldórsson from Reykjavík, Iceland – Viking Arms and Armor, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=33778988
By Steve Swayne – File:O Partenon de Atenas.jpg, originally posted to Flickr as The Parthenon Athens, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17065839
By Joxemai – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=22067314
By Gryphius – https://www.flickr.com/photos/gryphius/471661327/, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5556023
By Juan José González Vega – handed over by the author to the Project, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3156154
By Yathin S Krishnappa – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=23241619
By Tony Hisgett from Birmingham, UK, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18249270
By Foto: Jonn Leffmann, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=21536441


  1. Michael Dread Andersen on August 15, 2021 at 9:19 pm

    addendum to the Icelandic dottir, you should have used the mothers name, because it would most often be (for example:) The husband and his son, so stefan’s son would be stefanson, and the wife and her daughter, so jordis’s daughter would be Jordisdottir, eventhough Stefan and Jordis are Married and they are the biological parents to both kids

  2. Robert Kerns on August 15, 2021 at 9:23 pm

    My last name is: KERNS . What origin is this ?

  3. Skylightxox on August 15, 2021 at 9:24 pm

    My last name is lyndon (lin-dun) what the fuck would that mean xD

  4. Marten Krueger on August 15, 2021 at 9:25 pm

    Well done…kruger …maker of krugs..stiens..cups bowls,,, etcetera

  5. Paul’s Existence • 5 years ago on August 15, 2021 at 9:26 pm

    Imagine if Joe Biden’s name was Joe President

  6. RPRIMICI on August 15, 2021 at 9:27 pm

    I always thought my lastname sounded strange and different (it’s ‘Primicias’). Our family is based in the Philippines but we assume it’s a Spanish name. I’ve read that when under Spain, Fiiipinos were forced to pick a Spanish surname during the 1800s to replace their austronesian based names. I’m told the name translates to ‘first fruits’. Any insight would be appreciated and I can share the info with family members.

  7. Defiant on August 15, 2021 at 9:29 pm

    You started on more , what Morton, I heard it’s really old sure name ,an had meaning lives in marsh . I know we have family in Scotland lots .

  8. Dean Stephens on August 15, 2021 at 9:29 pm

    Okay, now I need to find out who the original Stephen was.

  9. s t r e s s e d on August 15, 2021 at 9:30 pm

    Nobody knows what my surname means and we can’t trace it back because of so many informal adoptions and splits in the family tree. So it’ll forever be a mystery haha.

  10. DinamycVideos & Gaming on August 15, 2021 at 9:31 pm

    What is the origin of the surname Oliver?

  11. Louis on August 15, 2021 at 9:33 pm

    Vasquez is Portuguese for Basque. Vazquez is Spanish for Basque.

  12. Leviathan Ø on August 15, 2021 at 9:33 pm

    Wait what about benitez son of benit

  13. Klingenschmidt on August 15, 2021 at 9:35 pm

    My full name would translate to "the angry swordsmith by the black stream

  14. C Good on August 15, 2021 at 9:36 pm


  15. Mary Howell on August 15, 2021 at 9:36 pm

    I know a memer..

  16. Rory Schweinfurter on August 15, 2021 at 9:37 pm

    My grandfather explained that our name. Schweinfurter
    means pig crossing
    Schwein =pig
    And in Germany there’s a narrow spot in a river where they used to move their pigs across
    And eventually a large city grew on that spot
    Schweinfurt Germany
    Most people have only heard of it because in WW2 there was a massive ball bearing plant that the Allies bombed the hell out of.
    If it’s said in English it would be pigs ford and means the same thing

  17. Christina Vincent on August 15, 2021 at 9:38 pm

    What does Vincent my maiden name and Coleman my married name mean?

  18. Lana Mack on August 15, 2021 at 9:38 pm

    Well, that was a waste of time. Mostly stating the obvious. When coming to non-English names the pronunciation is totally unintelligible. Practically nothing the other side of the "iron curtain".

  19. Michael Mills on August 15, 2021 at 9:38 pm

    Still looking for "Wieligman"…

  20. briquetaverne on August 15, 2021 at 9:41 pm

    What does it mean when people have a given name like "Billy Joel" or "Sandra Dennis" as a surname? How about when their name is saint something. Eva Marie Saint or José Santo Domingo? What about when one’s name is the name of a town like Laurent de Rainneville?

  21. rickey nichols on August 15, 2021 at 9:42 pm

    What would Nichols, have been?

  22. Carl Comanche on August 15, 2021 at 9:42 pm

    My last name is conder

  23. Fred Davidson on August 15, 2021 at 9:43 pm

    Mine Is
    F. G. D.

  24. Dawn Handschy on August 15, 2021 at 9:44 pm

    I still wonder where my last name came from-Jennison

  25. michael byrd on August 15, 2021 at 9:45 pm

    What is the origin and meaning of the surname Byrd?

  26. the old brit on August 15, 2021 at 9:45 pm

    My one is old Scandinavian and Germanic meaning wolf
    Henceforth as to why I prefer cold weather

  27. Sherry Manary on August 15, 2021 at 9:46 pm

    My last name is Wickham ..hmmm I wonder if that means " Wicked & a ham?" Lol. Or Wicker….but, where does the ham for in?

  28. jim crow on August 15, 2021 at 9:48 pm

    Some people just have names given to them with no history or relevance, like orphans etc.

  29. Todd Sanderson on August 15, 2021 at 9:49 pm

    Sanderson means "son of Alexander"

  30. David Johnson on August 15, 2021 at 9:52 pm

    Steven Methheadson….

  31. john r White on August 15, 2021 at 9:52 pm

    What’s the origin of (white) ?

  32. david vines on August 15, 2021 at 9:52 pm

    My last name is Vines and any name with Vin at the beginning is a derivative of Vines. I think it means dominant

  33. Paul’s Existence • 5 years ago on August 15, 2021 at 9:54 pm

    What the heck is the French surname Fihue? It’s pronounced fee you

  34. Chantal Ferenz on August 15, 2021 at 9:55 pm

    My last name is chantal cattiaux…

  35. MiloD Beats on August 15, 2021 at 9:56 pm

    My name is Vasquez or Velasquez or older version Velasco

  36. Jeff Prior on August 15, 2021 at 9:56 pm

    So, been wondering about my last name. Prior?

  37. karen court on August 15, 2021 at 10:00 pm

    My real last name is tutencomin

  38. litogor on August 15, 2021 at 10:03 pm

    Many English Family names are of French origin and have been transformed! Just one simple example of a common English name: "Carpenter" which comes from the French "Carpentier" which itself comes from the French word for the trade "Charpentier".
    Know that almost 50% of the words in the English language come from the French language and that when the Normans invaded England, they had become more French than Vikings contrary to what some think because they were ultra minority and were dissolved among the local population already present for millennia in Normandy, which explains why they became Catholic and totally French-speaking and bore French first and last names.
    There are also the French family names which have been transformed a lot like for example the famous Wlat Disney whose real family name of the ancestors was "D’Isigny" Laurel and Hardy (both) or the most famous name in Scotland "Sinclair" whose original is also French and is called "Saint Clair" …
    According to experts, it can be estimated that around 60% of English surnames are actually French …

  39. Nickolas Gravelin on August 15, 2021 at 10:03 pm

    Gravelin doesn’t seem to have anything meaning in French from what I’ve seen.

  40. rob cheek on August 15, 2021 at 10:04 pm

    My last name (cheek) goes bk to Anglo Saxon times in England n apparently it was given because of a wound across the face suffered in battle so he second name became cheek

  41. Zero the Hero on August 15, 2021 at 10:07 pm

    Pizza Nights?!.

  42. Paul O'Neill on August 15, 2021 at 10:09 pm

    Not sure why our last name should "mean" anything at all to us as it represents a tiny slither of our family and genetic ancestry.
    1/2 to the power of generation to be precise,.. parents=1/2, grandparents=1/4, greatgrandparents=1/8
    Not a single one of those ancestors excluded from the name-line is less important to our being.
    Maybe 10 generations ago one of your ancestors was a smith,… and 1023 weren’t.
    Seems silly to seek meaning from such a random and near-homeopathically diluted connection.
    Personally all I can say is one of my ancient ancestors was called Neill,… Whoop-de-doo.

  43. Jesus Silva on August 15, 2021 at 10:09 pm

    Thank you! I often wondered where my last name came from. All I knew was that my grand parents came from the Azorez in Portugal but that was all. My grandparents are Silva and of course, my entire family is Silva.
    My parents however, are Lujan. My maternal grandmother, ( never knew our grandfather), was a gipsy woman in the state of Sonora, Mejico. They moved from place to place and featured dance shows and magic. My grandmother left that kind of life and settled in the town of Nogales, Sonora Mejico with family ties to Hermosillo Sonora. The rest of the maternal family lived in Magdalena Sonora. One of my aunties lived in Mexicali Baja California Mejico and my mother, possibly the sweetes woman in the world, beautiful with dark red hair attennded a family party at my aunties house and my father, upon seeing my mom, was done. He fell in love and according to his own words a day didn’t go by without thinking of her. So he went to my aunt’s house and inquired as to her whereabouts and if he could see her.
    My aunt arranged a meeting for them and they met. My mom was scheduled to leave for Nogales late the next day and my dad decided to follow her. They continued their romance and after four or five months, my dad had to return to Mexicali because his savings were almost totally depleted and his job was still available for him, so he left. Three months later he returned to Nogales and asked for my mom’s hand in matrimony. My grandmother doña Jesus was happy and so were my mom. Three months later my parents married and my dad brought my mom to live in Mexicali. After their wedding in July 4th, 1951.

  44. John Walker on August 15, 2021 at 10:11 pm


  45. Foitzer on August 15, 2021 at 10:12 pm

    The son of Gunar Gunnarsson would be Gunnarssonsson

  46. Dale J. Anderson, Ph.D. on August 15, 2021 at 10:15 pm

    What about Delaney.

  47. David Johnson on August 15, 2021 at 10:17 pm

    Jan Han from Noordstrand

  48. Iam_aHumaNs on August 15, 2021 at 10:17 pm

    Wait, Simpson, so son of simp??

  49. Bruce Bonkowski on August 15, 2021 at 10:18 pm

    ok bonkowski

  50. margaret severe on August 15, 2021 at 10:19 pm

    severe? any idea