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Kimberly Powell

What Does My Last Name Mean?

By April 25, 2004

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Several times each day this question (or a variation) arrives in my mailbox. Sometimes it is from a woman who is getting married and wants to learn more about the name she will soon be adopting. Others come from people looking for the answer to a school assignment (when will teachers learn that asking students to learn the origin of their last name rarely teaches them anything useful?). The majority, however, come from people who are just beginning to look at their family tree and hope that learning the origin of their last name will give them insight into where their family originally came from.

Last names aren't always as simple as they sound, however. Kerry, for example, is an Irish surname. Yet, Senator John Kerry, the Democratic candidate for U.S. President, has Austrian origins - his grandfather changed his name from Kohn to Kerry after arriving in the U.S. As you trace the origin of your own last name, don't be surprised to find that its present incarnation has been changed from the original as well. You may have a slight spelling variation of the original name, an anglicized version, or even a completely different surname.

Difficulties aside, there is something neat about learning what your name means and how it was originally derived. Check the Glossary of Last Name Meanings & Origins for the meaning and origin of your family name.
Comments
November 2, 2006 at 10:23 pm
(1) Tabitha Jenkins says:

I disagree that students do not gain anything from researching their last name. Students learn about using computers to research and may gain some understanding of who they are. Plus teachers can use the activity as a way to interest the students in history.

July 15, 2008 at 9:00 am
(2) sammy says:

yer i agree,
what eva she said!:)

August 18, 2008 at 9:13 am
(3) Tracy says:

yeah whatever she said i wanna no wat my last name means sooo bad

October 28, 2008 at 9:21 pm
(4) JJ says:

Your last name does mean something… you can learn what you are example im Swedish from my last name you can figure what you are!

November 17, 2008 at 11:18 am
(5) bob says:

im greek

November 18, 2008 at 9:50 am
(6) yah itss meee says:

uhh yo update yer page or w.e. b/c i cant find my last name on this gay ass site… =/

November 23, 2008 at 6:25 pm
(7) wekeweke says:

=( i cant find the meaning of my last name and its for a project!!! i really need to find it i know its italian

November 25, 2008 at 5:09 pm
(8) brooklyn says:

i think that my last name comes frm an indian term!! or something it is retarded

December 11, 2008 at 2:16 pm
(9) dendyn222 says:

how do i find my name i cant find it waaaaaaaaa

January 15, 2009 at 12:31 pm
(10) Yephm says:

Alot of people want to know what the meaning of there last names are. My last name is “Means” please help can’t find answers anywhere. I hear threw older family members that it is a cherokke indian name. But i am uncertain. Does anyone know. And what does it mean? billmeans@hotmail.com

February 3, 2009 at 5:00 pm
(11) rebecca says:

i do think that student gain something from finding the maening of their name because of all the geneology thing that come with wath they are trying to fin so they get side tracked mabey in geneology and they might say “hey I wonder what els I can find here” so I do think that students get something from stuff like this as a school asignment

March 22, 2009 at 4:40 pm
(12) katelin says:

this is kool and well i g2g k ttyl

April 11, 2009 at 3:50 pm
(13) priscilla says:

my last name is De Alba

April 13, 2009 at 11:00 am
(14) Ava says:

i would like my awnser to be good not bad because my last name is Verno

April 13, 2009 at 11:02 am
(15) Ava says:

i wish it will be a good thing because my last name is Verno

April 13, 2009 at 11:06 am
(16) Ava says:

HOW CAN I FIND WHAT MY LAST NAME MEANS!!!I AM GOING TO BLOWUP!!!!

April 13, 2009 at 11:08 am
(17) Ava says:

what the heck!when ever i put in a coment it does not show but when i put a new coment it shows.(wierd)

April 13, 2009 at 11:11 am
(18) Ava says:

woah!I am leaving lots of coments.wait i think you do this:what does verno mean!:i have figered it out!

April 18, 2009 at 11:31 pm
(19) Lulu says:

Wat does my last name “Gonzalez” mean

Answer me as soon as u can

April 21, 2009 at 10:21 am
(20) H says:

I disagree with your comment that students rarely learn anything. This is an option for a research assignment this year for my classes. I use it as a tool for my students to learn researching strategies and to practice writing expository essays.

Giving them a choice allows them to pick something they are enthusiastic about. Over half of my classess have chosen to research their family name and are excited to do so. It is awesome to watch their faces light up when they find the little nuances of their name – it often builds pride in their families.

June 12, 2009 at 2:08 pm
(21) Jessica says:

Hey. I have a friend with the last name Hafling and can’t seem to find it anywhere. Can someone please help me!

June 23, 2009 at 7:16 pm
(22) Verno says:

whoa!! who is that trying to be my bloodline?

July 12, 2009 at 3:47 pm
(23) Heather says:

It is interesting to find out the origin and geneology of your last name. I am 14 and i look on my own; not at school. You can always find something interesting that you may not have know before. :)

September 10, 2009 at 10:47 pm
(24) mey says:

my moms last name is bollainygoytia where did it come from

October 24, 2009 at 3:31 pm
(25) alexia says:

wat da heck you talkin about

November 5, 2009 at 3:01 pm
(26) barbara shlonky says:

i vant to know vat my last name means!! vy vont it vork?

December 5, 2009 at 1:24 pm
(27) Bob says:

Juvenile and insulting responses to an honest attempt to make the world a better place anger me. Worse, some appear to put a great deal of effort into seeming illiterate.

I’m 66 years old and only recently became interested in my roots. I’ve learned a great deal about European history and customs. My grandchildren love to hear about “the great-grandma who was kidnapped by Indians”.

So please, if you don’t have something intelligent to contribute, keep your opinions to yourself. Learning a little respect for others wouldn’t hurt, either.

December 15, 2009 at 5:18 pm
(28) valeria says:

what the heck i want to now what my last name means but this page does not workcan somebody help me this page is stupid byebye

January 1, 2010 at 5:23 pm
(29) destin mccary says:

my last name is mccary and im wonderin wat it means

January 6, 2010 at 9:29 am
(30) Alyssa says:

i would like to know really what my last name means an where it came from.

January 14, 2010 at 9:25 pm
(31) charley says:

I belive that students should never have to research their last name for a paper it is pointless if you want your student to learn about researching than why dont you just tell them not sit their a give them a paper on it and waste their life ……

January 24, 2010 at 12:23 am
(32) cecelia BALLANTYNE!!!!!!!!!!!!! says:

what the heck does ballantyne mean im dieing 2 no!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

February 22, 2010 at 9:38 am
(33) sweetie pie says:

its rubbish

March 1, 2010 at 10:28 am
(34) Tobias Rogers says:

I’m Italian/English but I knew that already…

March 4, 2010 at 2:44 pm
(35) me says:

who runs this website? i need to know what beliz means.

notice that i am being calm unlike ava whoever that is.
stupid ava.

March 4, 2010 at 2:46 pm
(36) me says:

geez bellentyne

March 6, 2010 at 9:30 pm
(37) billy bob joe fred mcspanky says:

my name is billy bob joe fred mcspanky and i wanted to say HELLO PEOPLE OF EARTH!! :D

March 7, 2010 at 1:20 am
(38) Laura says:

My last nam is German & my familys history or my histety hose back 2 Bavaria,Germany!
And my last name in Emglish it is Stohlman so in German It is Steelworker or that is that is means my last name accaly is Stohlman which is promised Stühlmann and it meand Steelworker.

March 8, 2010 at 4:25 pm
(39) september says:

i can’t really relate to this story

March 9, 2010 at 2:57 pm
(40) Tamana says:

My Last Name is quite Complicating, So you might
want to transalate it in French then I recognise it cos
I am an kind of an American.

P.S: Which lauguage do you transalate. I wanna know!!
Tamana

March 21, 2010 at 1:54 pm
(41) ashley says:

MY LAST NAME IS CORONA LIKE THE BEER

March 24, 2010 at 3:16 pm
(42) sara says:

what orgin is ‘Messer’? is it German? It means ‘measurer’ in German, but I was told it meant knife or something but ide what language. :( Thanks!

April 3, 2010 at 8:20 pm
(43) Laura says:

My last name is German it is Stohlman in English and it is Stühlman in German whitch means Steelworker in German!!!!!
Note:Sime one in my family that is dead now changed Stühlman to Stohlman so it would sound more American.

April 3, 2010 at 8:25 pm
(44) Laura Stühlman says:

I am Germsn and Irish from my ancent family which most came from Barvaria and I am Irish becouse some of them also came from Ierland

April 6, 2010 at 10:25 am
(45) dakota says:

i (l) u

April 11, 2010 at 4:46 pm
(46) milia says:

I rate this website 8 out of 10 cool

April 15, 2010 at 11:04 pm
(47) N-B-13 says:

i want to know what my last name is its italian boccalon

April 16, 2010 at 12:40 pm
(48) ana says:

i wanna kno wat muh frikin last name means….im spanish…lol

April 21, 2010 at 11:14 am
(49) king says:

man dis site is wack cous yall need 2 have better websites like mine jesus2010.com i want 2 no my last name meaning but wut ev

May 20, 2010 at 2:21 am
(50) jessica says:

well it all depends on how you look at your last name you may hate it love it or your just stuck with it for the rest of your life

May 28, 2010 at 10:46 am
(51) BRI says:

WOW TOTALLY RIGHT SO TRUE LOLZ

June 21, 2010 at 5:17 am
(52) Swati Swagatika says:

i want to know what does swati swagatika mean………………………………

June 21, 2010 at 2:41 pm
(53) squirtle says:

hey could someone help me im trying to find out what banta means i need help( physically and mentally!!!) :-)

July 8, 2010 at 7:06 pm
(54) jessica says:

Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii i know what my last name means it means LOUD really LOUD i know that because i am really loud and it is not just because of my last name

July 17, 2010 at 4:21 pm
(55) victoria says:

Hey, my last name is Everette. And we come from the Black Forest of Germany. We were boar hunters. They say that we turned into overgrown wolves when we went hunting. Plus, we are the largest family in the world!

July 17, 2010 at 4:26 pm
(56) victoria says:

I am from the Black Forest of Germany. we were ancient boar hunters who are said to turn into wolves when we go hunting. true story!

July 27, 2010 at 5:30 pm
(57) lesley reneau says:

what does last name harred mean & Pierce mean & Reneau mean Weaver

August 29, 2010 at 2:01 pm
(58) Roan says:

OMG I CANT FIND THE MEANING OF MY LAST NAME!!!!! ITS COROTAN…. DOES ANYONE KNOW ARTEMIO COROTAN????????? HES MY DAD

September 5, 2010 at 10:59 am
(59) anya says:

what doesmy last name meanis restall

September 21, 2010 at 6:03 am
(60) Mariah says:

Tabitha Jenkins, I am sincerely sorry but I have to disagree with you, I am ten years old and I learnt that my last name means Benjamin in a certain language ]that I will not state as I do not want people to make fun of] and by studying my last name, I found out that my family ruled supreme for 134 years, and we still do today! So I’m sorry if I come across rude and abysmal, but I can tell you that I know for a fact that students can find information with their last name, they just have to look hard enough. Come on, if a ten year old who is the smartest in the entire class she’s in can do it, surely other students can too.

October 9, 2010 at 5:14 pm
(61) undertaker says:

hey my last name is everette. we are famous boar hunters in germany. i want to beat somebody up

October 13, 2010 at 12:46 pm
(62) Amy says:

I need to no what my last name iss !!!! For homework what is it!! It’s warburton but what does it mean? X :( help!!!

October 14, 2010 at 3:47 pm
(63) Bobie Light says:

my last name is awkward

November 13, 2010 at 8:20 pm
(64) Emily says:

this website is stupid!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
cant anyone tell me what my last name means????????????
it is Klukowski. its polish

November 13, 2010 at 8:22 pm
(65) emily says:

stupid website

November 20, 2010 at 8:08 am
(66) Joseph Corlito says:

can anyone tell me what corlito means?

November 21, 2010 at 7:34 pm
(67) clare says:

hi my second name is green im english irish and a bit jewish my friend sead its jewish and my dad sead its irish so what the bloodie hell is it then:)

December 1, 2010 at 4:52 pm
(68) alexandra says:

we had to do that in school when i was littel.(^^^)

December 10, 2010 at 2:44 pm
(69) gummybear says:

wat does gonzolez mean

December 13, 2010 at 12:01 am
(70) Osully says:

I’m Irish and Swedish. I can’t find a definite meaning for my Irish name. I tried looking up my moms Swedish maiden name and nothing comes up

December 13, 2010 at 6:05 pm
(71) koralys says:

my last name is shores what does it mean

January 18, 2011 at 3:53 pm
(72) karah says:

this sucks

January 22, 2011 at 8:06 am
(73) your mum says:

this website is f#$%ed up :(

January 31, 2011 at 3:42 pm
(74) chandler says:

Whoever said something mean about this website is mean because whoever made this website would be sad to hear that stuff. I like this website.

February 17, 2011 at 6:35 pm
(75) Ashley N. Chambers says:

well ofcourse everyones last name and first name means al least one thing

March 14, 2011 at 9:35 am
(76) Kennedy says:

Well im doing a project on it right now and I like it! :)

March 21, 2011 at 2:11 pm
(77) brookelynne says:

i think kids should know where they came from. so why not lets them do a paper on their last names. it would help alot in history. :)

October 13, 2011 at 5:28 pm
(78) ashton says:

wow i did not know that :)

January 31, 2012 at 7:27 pm
(79) RR says:

What does Dabral mean

February 23, 2012 at 8:20 pm
(80) caitlin says:

my last name is taylor what does it mean???

September 24, 2012 at 12:56 pm
(81) ellie says:

what does morris mean i need to find out for my friend

October 16, 2012 at 4:22 pm
(82) Karlie says:

What does “Strong” mean? I can’t ****** find out what it means!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If anyone finds out please post it on here!!!!!! PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!

I am DIEING OVER HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

November 9, 2012 at 3:52 am
(83) T.R. Crosby says:

The meaning for the name Strong is “*strong” as in strength.

January 15, 2013 at 8:54 pm
(84) isabella says:

what does gasper and koch mean? i do not get this place i need HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!>:(

January 19, 2013 at 1:39 am
(85) Alexis says:

What does Gilchrist mean. answer me, answer answer answer!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

June 21, 2013 at 12:19 am
(86) whole life insurance says:

I am truly delighted to glance at this website posts which includes plenty of
useful information, thanks for providing these kinds of statistics.

January 26, 2014 at 9:45 am
(87) thelma says:

I was wondering if anyone know where the last name PARKS, come from. I see the star from House wives of ATL, has slanted eyes, when my sister was born she was bright-skinned and had slated. They ay we are part Indian. But the last name Park is very popular in the Asian culture.

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