Family name
A family name is a type of surname
A surname is a name added to a given name and is part of a personal name. In many cases, a surname is a family name. Many dictionaries define "surname" as a synonym of "family name"...

 and part of a person's name
Personal name
A personal name is the proper name identifying an individual person, and today usually comprises a given name bestowed at birth or at a young age plus a surname. It is nearly universal for a human to have a name; except in rare cases, for example feral children growing up in isolation, or infants...

 indicating the family to which the person belongs. The use of family names is widespread in cultures around the world. Each culture has its own rules as to how these names are applied and used.

However, having both a family name (surname
A surname is a name added to a given name and is part of a personal name. In many cases, a surname is a family name. Many dictionaries define "surname" as a synonym of "family name"...

) and a given name (Christian name or forename) is far from universal. In many countries it is common for ordinary people to have only one name or Mononym.

In many cultures (notably Euro
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

, Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

ern, South Asia
South Asia
South Asia, also known as Southern Asia, is the southern region of the Asian continent, which comprises the sub-Himalayan countries and, for some authorities , also includes the adjoining countries to the west and the east...

n, and most Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

n) the family name is normally the last part of a person's name.
A family name is a type of surname
A surname is a name added to a given name and is part of a personal name. In many cases, a surname is a family name. Many dictionaries define "surname" as a synonym of "family name"...

 and part of a person's name
Personal name
A personal name is the proper name identifying an individual person, and today usually comprises a given name bestowed at birth or at a young age plus a surname. It is nearly universal for a human to have a name; except in rare cases, for example feral children growing up in isolation, or infants...

 indicating the family to which the person belongs. The use of family names is widespread in cultures around the world. Each culture has its own rules as to how these names are applied and used.

However, having both a family name (surname
A surname is a name added to a given name and is part of a personal name. In many cases, a surname is a family name. Many dictionaries define "surname" as a synonym of "family name"...

) and a given name (Christian name or forename) is far from universal. In many countries it is common for ordinary people to have only one name or Mononym.

In many cultures (notably Euro
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

, Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

ern, South Asia
South Asia
South Asia, also known as Southern Asia, is the southern region of the Asian continent, which comprises the sub-Himalayan countries and, for some authorities , also includes the adjoining countries to the west and the east...

n, and most Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

n) the family name is normally the last part of a person's name. In other cultures, the family name comes first. The latter is often called the Eastern order because Europeans are most familiar with the examples from East Asia
East Asia
East Asia or Eastern Asia is a subregion of Asia that can be defined in either geographical or cultural terms...

, specifically China
Chinese name
Personal names in Chinese culture follow a number of conventions different from those of personal names in Western cultures. Most noticeably, a Chinese name is written with the family name first and the given name next, therefore "John-Paul Smith" as a Chinese name would be "Smith John-Paul"...

, Korea
Korean name
A Korean name consists of a family name followed by a given name, as used by the Korean people in both North Korea and South Korea. In the Korean language, 'ireum' or 'seong-myeong' usually refers to the family name and given name together...

, Japan
Japanese name
in modern times usually consist of a family name , followed by a given name. "Middle names" are not generally used.Japanese names are usually written in kanji, which are characters of usually Chinese origin in Japanese pronunciation...

 and Vietnam
Vietnamese name
Vietnamese names generally consist of three parts: a family name, a middle name, and a given name, used in that order. The "family name first" order follows the system of Chinese names and is common throughout the Sinosphere , but is different from Chinese, Korean, and Japanese names in having a...

. The Eastern order is also used in Hungary and in parts of Africa. Since family names are normally given last in European societies (except in Hungary), the term last name is commonly used for family name.

In an English-speaking context, family names are most often used to refer to a stranger or in a formal setting, and are often used with a title
A title is a prefix or suffix added to someone's name to signify either veneration, an official position or a professional or academic qualification. In some languages, titles may even be inserted between a first and last name...

 or honorific
An honorific is a word or expression with connotations conveying esteem or respect when used in addressing or referring to a person. Sometimes, the term is used not quite correctly to refer to an honorary title...

 such as Mr
MR, Mr, mr, or mR may refer to:*Mr. an honorific title of menPlaces:* Morocco country code * Martinique country code...

, Mrs
MRS can refer to:* Magnetic resonance spectroscopy* Mandibular repositioning splint* Marginal rate of substitution, in economics* Marseille Provence Airport, IATA airport code* Materials Research Society* Melbourne Rectangular Stadium...

, Ms
Ms. or Ms is an English honorific used with the last name or full name of a woman. According to The Emily Post Institute, Ms...

, Miss
Miss is an English language honorific traditionally used only for an unmarried woman . Originating in the 17th century, it is a contraction of mistress, which was used for all women. A period is not used to signify the contraction...

, Dr
Doctor (title)
Doctor, as a title, originates from the Latin word of the same spelling and meaning. The word is originally an agentive noun of the Latin verb docēre . It has been used as an honored academic title for over a millennium in Europe, where it dates back to the rise of the university. This use spread...

, and so on. Generally the given name
Given name
A given name, in Western contexts often referred to as a first name, is a personal name that specifies and differentiates between members of a group of individuals, especially in a family, all of whose members usually share the same family name...

, first name, forename, or personal name is the one used by friends, family, and other intimates to address an individual. It may also be used by someone who is in some way senior to the person being addressed. This practice also differs between cultures; see T-V distinction
T-V distinction
In sociolinguistics, a T–V distinction is a contrast, within one language, between second-person pronouns that are specialized for varying levels of politeness, social distance, courtesy, familiarity, or insult toward the addressee....


In this article, family name and surname both mean the patrilineal (literally, father-line) surname, handed down from or inherited from the father's line or patriline, unless explicitly stated otherwise. Thus, the term "maternal surname" means the patrilineal surname which one's mother inherited from either or both of her parents. Matrilineal ('mother-line') surnames, passing from mothers to daughters, are discussed elsewhere to avoid complicating this large article.

Research on individual names

Onomastics or onomatology is the study of proper names of all kinds and the origins of names. The words are from the Greek: "ὀνομαστικός" , "of or belonging to naming" and "ὀνοματολογία" , from "ὄνομα" "name". Toponymy or toponomastics, the study of place names, is one of the principal branches of...

 is the study of proper names
including family names. A one-name study
One-name study
A one-name study is a project researching a specific surname, as opposed to a particular pedigree or descendancy...

 is a collection of vital and other biographical data about all persons worldwide sharing a particular surname. The Guild of One-Name Studies
Guild of One-Name Studies
The Guild of One-Name Studies is a UK-based charitable organisation founded in 1979 for one-name studies.-History:The Guild developed as an off-shoot of the Federation of Family History Societies. The FFHS was founded on 8th June 1974. By 1977 one-third of the members of the FFHS were one-name...

 is a major UK-based organization in this field.


The oldest use of family names or surnames is unclear. Surnames have arisen in cultures with large, concentrated populations where single, personal names for individuals became insufficient to identify them clearly. Many cultures use additional descriptive terms in identifying individuals. These terms may indicate personal attributes, location of origin, occupation, parentage, patronage, adoption, or clan affiliation. These descriptors often developed into fixed clan identifications which in turn became family names as we know them today.

In China, according to legend, family names started with Emperor Fu Xi in 2852 BC His administration standardised the naming system in order to facilitate census-taking, and the use of census information. For scientific documentation that matrilineal surnames existed in China before the Shang Dynasty
Shang Dynasty
The Shang Dynasty or Yin Dynasty was, according to traditional sources, the second Chinese dynasty, after the Xia. They ruled in the northeastern regions of the area known as "China proper" in the Yellow River valley...

 (1600-1046 BC) and that "by the time of the Shang Dynasty they (Chinese surnames) had become patrilineal", see Matrilineality's China section.

In Japan, family names were uncommon except among the aristocracy until the 19th century.

In Ancient Greece, during some periods, formal identification commonly included place of origin.
At other times, clan names and patronymics ("son of") were also common. For example, Alexander the Great was known as Heracleides (as a supposed descendant of Heracles
Heracles ,born Alcaeus or Alcides , was a divine hero in Greek mythology, the son of Zeus and Alcmene, foster son of Amphitryon and great-grandson of Perseus...

) and by the dynastic name Karanos/Caranus, which referred to the founder of the dynasty to which he belonged. In none of these cases, though, were these names considered essential parts of the person's name, nor were they explicitly inherited in the manner which is common in many cultures today.

In the Roman Empire, the bestowal and use of clan and family names waxed and waned with changes in the various subcultures of the realm. (See Roman naming conventions
Roman naming conventions
By the Republican era and throughout the Imperial era, a name in ancient Rome for a male citizen consisted of three parts : praenomen , nomen and cognomen...

) At the outset, they were not strictly inherited in the way that family names are inherited in many cultures today. Eventually, though, family names began to be used in a manner similar to most modern European societies. With the gradual influence of Greek/Christian culture throughout the Empire, the use of formal family names declined. By the time of the fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century, family names were uncommon in the Eastern Roman Empire. In Western Europe where Germanic culture dominated the aristocracy, family names were almost non-existent. They would not significantly reappear again in Eastern Roman society until the 10th century, apparently influenced by the familial affiliations of the Armenian military aristocracy. The practice of using family names spread through the Eastern Roman Empire and gradually into Western Europe although it was not until the modern era that family names came to be explicitly inherited as they are today.

In Ireland, the use of surnames have a very old history. Ireland was the first country in Europe to use fixed surnames. As noted in the Annals, the first recorded fixed surname was Ó Cleirigh which recorded the death of Tigherneach Ua Cleirigh, lord of Aidhne in Co. Galway in the year 916.

In England, the introduction of family names is generally attributed to the Normans
The Normans were the people who gave their name to Normandy, a region in northern France. They were descended from Norse Viking conquerors of the territory and the native population of Frankish and Gallo-Roman stock...

 and the Domesday Book
Domesday Book
Domesday Book , now held at The National Archives, Kew, Richmond upon Thames in South West London, is the record of the great survey of much of England and parts of Wales completed in 1086...

 of 1086. Documents indicate that surnames were first adopted among the feudal nobility and gentry, and only slowly spread to the other parts of society. Some of the early Norman nobility arriving in England during the Norman Conquest differentiated themselves by affixing 'de' (of) in front of the name of their village in France. This is what is known as a territorial surname, a consequence of feudal landownership. In medieval times in France, such a name indicated lordship, or ownership, of the village. But some early Norman nobles in England chose to drop the French derivations and call themselves instead after their new English holdings.

Modern era

During the modern era, many cultures around the world adopted family names, particularly for administrative reasons, especially during the imperialistic age of European expansion and particularly since 1600. Notable examples include the Netherlands (1811), Japan (1870s), Thailand (1920), and Turkey (1934). Nonetheless, their use is not universal: Icelanders, Tibetans, Burmese, Javanese, and many people groups in East Africa do not use family names.

Family names sometimes change or are replaced by non-family-name surnames under political pressure to avoid persecution. Examples are the cases with Chinese Indonesians and Chinese Thais after migration there during the 20th century, or the Jews who fled to different European countries to avoid persecution from the Nazis during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...


UN Convention, CEDAW

In its 1979 "Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women
The Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women is an international convention adopted in 1979 by the United Nations General Assembly....

", or CEDAW, the UN officially adopted a provision to the effect that women and men, and specifically wife and husband, shall have the same rights to choose a "family name", as well as a "profession" and an "occupation". For a further description of and treatment of this Convention, see Matriname
Matrilineal surnames, or equivalently matrinames, are inherited or handed down from mother to daughter in matrilineal cultures, and this line of descent or "mother line" is called a matriline...


English-speaking countries

In Britain, hereditary surnames were adopted in the 13th and 14th centuries, initially by the aristocracy but eventually by everyone. By 1400, most English
English people
The English are a nation and ethnic group native to England, who speak English. The English identity is of early mediaeval origin, when they were known in Old English as the Anglecynn. England is now a country of the United Kingdom, and the majority of English people in England are British Citizens...

 and Scottish people
Scottish people
The Scottish people , or Scots, are a nation and ethnic group native to Scotland. Historically they emerged from an amalgamation of the Picts and Gaels, incorporating neighbouring Britons to the south as well as invading Germanic peoples such as the Anglo-Saxons and the Norse.In modern use,...

 had acquired surnames, but many Scottish and Welsh people did not adopt surnames until the 17th century, or even later. Henry VIII (1491–1547) ordered that marital births be recorded under the surname of the father.

Most surnames of British origin fall into seven types:
  • Occupations e.g. Archer
    Archer (surname)
    Archer is a surname in the English language.-Etymology:The name is derived from the Middle English archere, and Old French archer, archier. The surname originated as an occupational name denoting an archer. By the 14th century, the mentioned Middle English and Old French words replaced the native...

    , Bailey
    Bailey (surname)
    Bailey is an occupational surname of English origin. Bailey is the 65th-most common surname in the United Kingdom.-A:*Aaron Bailey, multiple people*Ace Bailey , Canadian hockey player*Adrian Bailey, British politician...

    , Baker
    Baker (surname)
    Baker is a common surname meaning "baker" and may refer to:*A J Baker, Australian philosopher*Al Baker, several people*Alison Baker , Canadian racewalker...

    , Brewer
    Brewer (surname)
    Brewer is a surname, meaning a person who brews beer. It may refer to*Alan West Brewer, physicist and climatologist*Albert Brewer, American politician, Governor of Alabama 1968–71*Allison Brewer, Canadian social activist and politician...

    , Butcher
    Butcher (surname)
    Butcher is a common family name in England but it may have French origins. The name first reached England following its conquest by the Normans in 1066. It was originally an occupational surname used to identify a person who worked as a Butcher. The name derived from the Old English word boucher...

    , Carter, Chandler
    Chandler (surname)
    Chandler, which means a maker or seller of candles, is the surname of the following people:-A:* Abiel Chandler , founding donor to Dartmouth College's Chandler School of Science and the Arts...

    , Clark
    Clark is surname in the English language, ultimately derived from the Latin clericus meaning "scribe", "secretary" or a scholar within a religious order, referring to someone who was educated. Clark evolved from "clerk". First records of the name are found in 12th century England...

    , Collier
    -Coal industry:*Collier, a person in the business or occupation of producing coal or making charcoal or in its transporting or commerce*Colliery, coal mining and selling*Collier , a bulk cargo ship which carried coal...

    , Cooper
    Cooper (surname)
    Cooper is a surname originating in England, and means maker of barrels; see Cooper . Cooper is the 32nd most common surname in the United Kingdom.Many notable persons share this surname.- A :...

    , Cook, Carpenter
    Carpenter (surname)
    Carpenter is a surname. Its use as a forename or middle name is rare. Within the United States, it is ranked as the 189th-most common surname. The English meaning of is one who makes wooden objects and structures by shaping wood.-Origin:...

    , Dyer
    Dyer (surname)
    Dyer is a surname, with English origins, and may refer to:* Ainsworth Dyer* Alex Dyer , English footballer who played for Blackpool, Charlton Athletic and Oxford United, amongst others...

    , Faulkner
    Faulkner (surname)
    Faulkner, Falkner or Faulknor are name variants of Falconer. It is of medieval origin taken from Old French faulconnier.*Alex Faulkner , Canadian ice hockey player*Arthur Faulkner , New Zealand politician...

    , Fisher
    Fisher (surname)
    Fisher is an English surname in the English language. It is an occupational name from the Old English "fiscare," which means "fisherman", one who obtained his living by fishing. In Ireland it is the anglicized form of Gaelic Ó Bradáin ‘descendant of Bradán’, a personal name meaning ‘salmon’. The...

    , Fletcher
    Fletcher (surname)
    Fletcher is a surname of English origin. The name is an occupational name for an arrowsmith or seller of arrows, derived from the Middle English, Old French flecher . Early bearers of the name include Robert le Flecher in 1203, William Flecher’ also in 1203, and Peter le flechier in 1227...

    , Fowler
    Fowler (surname)
    Fowler is an English and/or Scots surname with a linguistic origin in the Old English fugelere, indicative of a person occupied as a bird-catcher....

    , Fuller
    Fuller (surname)
    Fuller is a surname referring to someone who treats wool with the process called Fulling and may refer to:...

    , Glover
    Glover (surname)
    Glover, which means a maker or seller of gloves, is a surname and may refer to:*Anne Glover, British venture capitalist*Annie Glover, Irish washerwoman - the last woman hanged as a witch in Boston*Bill Glover, Christian drummer and musician*Boyer Glover...

    , Hayward
    Hayward (profession)
    Hayward, or "hedge warden", was an officer of an English parish dating from the Middle Ages in charge of fences and enclosures; also, a herdsman in charge of cattle and other animals grazing on common land....

    , Hawkins
    Hawkins (name)
    The English language surname Hawkins originated in the 11th century in Kent, England. Its meaning comes from the word "hawking", meaning "falconry". Hawkins may have evolved to the variant "Haughan" or "O'haughan" due to migration of peoples to Ireland during the Civil War in the 16th century. It...

    , Head, Hunt
    Hunt (surname)
    Hunt is an occupational surname originating in England and Ireland.-People with the surname Hunt:*Aaron Hunt , German football player*Albert Hunt, American engineer, inventor of the wigwag...

    or Hunter, Judge
    Judge (surname)
    Judge is also a hereditary surname. The first recorded instance of the surname is dated 1309 AD, in the Middle English Occupation Register, Worcester, England. The surname was acquired by a man who's occupation was that of a judge....

    , Knight
    Knight (surname)
    -A:* Alan Knight , former English footballer* Alan Knight , historian of Latin America* Albert Knight, English professional cricketer* Albion Knight, Jr., American politician and Anglican bishop...

    , Miller
    Miller (name)
    Miller is a surname of English and Scottish origin, principally derived from the occupational name for a miller. The standard modern vocabulary word represents the northern Middle English term, an agent derivative of mille ‘mill’, reinforced by Old Norse mylnari...

    , Mason
    Mason (surname)
    Mason is an occupational surname of English origin, and may refer to many people:-A:* A. E. W. Mason, British author* Abner Mason, American presidential advisor on AIDS* Alex Mason, the protagonist of Call of Duty: Black Ops...

    , Page
    Page (surname)
    Page, an occupational surname of Page , may refer to:* Page , English cricketer* Alan Page , American football player and judge* Anita Page , film actress of the 1930s...

    , Palmer
    Palmer (surname)
    - List of persons with the surname :* Adidja Palmer, the Jamaican DJ Vybz Kartel* Adrian Palmer, 4th Baron Palmer* Alan Palmer, an author of historical and biographical books...

    , Parker
    Parker (surname)
    Parker is a family name of English origin, derived from Old French with the meaning "keeper of the park". "Parker" was also a nickname given to gamekeepers in medieval England. It is the 51st-most common surname in the United Kingdom...

    , Porter
    Porter (name)
    Porter is a common English surname and also a given name. The name originates as an Old French occupational name, portier , or porteour . Its earliest public record is 1086 at Winchester Castle. With transferred use, Porter also became a masculine given name with varied popularity. According to...

    , Sawyer, Slater, Smith
    Smith (surname)
    Smith is an English family name originating in England. It is the most common surname in the United Kingdom, Australia and the United States, the second most common surname in Canada, and the fifth most common surname in Ireland...

    , Stringer
    Stringer (surname)
    Stringer is an English occupational surname originally for a maker of rope or strings, and especially those for the famous English longbows used for both hunting and war. It is based on an agent derivative of the Old English streng, meaning "string," which is in turn based on the Old Norse strengr...

    , Taylor
    Taylor (surname)
    Taylor is a surname in the English language which originated as an occupational surname in England The name is derived from the Old French tailleur, which is in turn derived from the Late Latin taliator, from taliare meaning "to cut"...

    , Thatcher, Turner
    Turner (disambiguation)
    Turner is a common surname of English derivation.A turner may also refer to:*One who uses a lathe for turning*A kitchen utensil closely related to a spatula-Places:Australia:*Turner, Australian Capital TerritoryCanada...

    , Shoemaker, Walker, Weaver
    Weaving is a method of fabric production in which two distinct sets of yarns or threads are interlaced at right angles to form a fabric or cloth. The other methods are knitting, lace making and felting. The longitudinal threads are called the warp and the lateral threads are the weft or filling...

    , Wood or Woodman and Wright
    Wright is an occupational surname originating in England. The term Wright comes from the circa 700 AD Old English word "wryhta" or "wyrhta", meaning worker or shaper of wood. Later it became any occupational worker , and is used as a British family name...

    (or variations such as Cartwright
    Cartwright (surname)
    Cartwright is a surname that originally means a maker of carts.People surnamed Cartwright include:* Alan Cartwright , British musician * Alexander Cartwright , American engineer and supposed inventor of baseball...

    and Wainwright
    Wainwright (name)
    Wainwright is an Anglo-Saxon occupational surname derived from the pre-7th century Old English word waegnwyrhta. The prefix, "waegn/waen, refers to a vehicle/wagon, common in its time as being horse-driven and four-wheeled. The suffix, wyrhta/wright, refers to a maker/builder. The earliest...

  • Personal characteristics e.g., Short, Brown
    Brown (surname)
    Brown is a surname of English and Scottish origin. It also originates independently in the United States, as an Anglicization of several other surnames, such as the German Braun. Among the earliest recorded Browns is John Brown of Stamford, Lincolnshire, England in 1312. Brown is one of the most...

    , Black, Whitehead, Young
    Young (surname)
    Young is a surname originating in England and Scotland . Derived from the Old English word geong, meaning "young," the Young surname was used as a descriptive name to distinguish father from son or to the younger of two relatives. Young can also be a Korean surname and Chinese surname...

    , Long, White
    White (surname)
    White is a surname of English origin. It is the sixteenth most common surname in the United Kingdom. In the 1990 United States Census, 'White' ranked fourteenth among all reported surnames in frequency, accounting for 0.28% of the population....

  • Geographical features e.g., Bridge, Camp
    Camp (surname)
    Camp is an English family name taken from Latin roots. The name is found in Great Britain and in other places throughout the world settled by the English. According the 2000 census there are fewer than 1300 Camps in the UK. The 2000 US census puts the number at over 27,000, making it the 1087th...

    , Hill
    Hill (surname)
    Hill is a surname of English origin, meaning "a person who lived on a hill". It is the 30th-most common surname in the United Kingdom.-A:*Aaron Hill , a player in Major League Baseball*Alban Hill...

    , Bush
    Bush (surname)
    The surname Bush originates from the early anal bushes Anglo-Saxon communities of Britain. It is derived from the Old English word "busc", which means "bush"....

    , Lake, Lee
    Lee (English name)
    Lee is a common surname in English-speaking countries. There are several distinct origins of the Lee surname. The most common surname of English origin is derived from Middle English lea, meaning "meadow, forest clearing" , and is therefore a name describing the bearer's place of residence...

    , Wood
    Wood (surname)
    Wood is a surname in the English language. It is common throughout the world, especially countries with historical links to Britain.- Etymology :...

    , Holmes, Forest, Underwood
    Underwood is a surname of English topographic origin.-History:Deriving from the Old English "under" a preposition meaning "under" or "below", plus "wuda", a wood. The name was originally given to one dwelling at the foot of a wood or literally "below the trees of a forest"...

    , Hall
    Hall (surname)
    Hall is a family name of English origin and means 'kind' and 'forgiving'. This originates from the belief that Viking thanes were eternally benevolent to those that worked within his hall. The name was used to indicate the main occupation of the individual, in a role such as a servant or...

    , Brooks
    Brooks (surname)
    Brooks is a surname of English origin, that is thought to have been derived from the condition of residing near a stream . The Hundred Rolls, a late thirteenth century census of England and part of Wales, contains many uses of "Broke" and variants "Brock" and "Brok" as a surname...

    , Fields, Stone, Morley, Moore
    Moore (surname)
    The name Moore is a popular surname in many English-speaking countries and is of Gaelic/English origin. It is the 31st most common surname in the United Kingdom, and 9th most common in the United States....

    , Perry
    Perry (surname)
    Perry is a surname of English origin, deriving from either the Old English pyrige , referring to one who dwells by a pear tree; the Norman French perrieur , possibly referring to a quarryman; or the Welsh ap Herry, son of Herry...

  • Place names e.g., Washington
    Washington, Tyne and Wear
    Washington is a town in the City of Sunderland in Tyne and Wear, England. Historically part of County Durham, it joined a new county in 1974 with the creation of Tyne and Wear...

    , Everingham
    Everingham is a village in the East Riding of Yorkshire, England. It is west of Market Weighton town centre and south of Pocklington town centre. Everingham is part of the civil parish of Everingham and Harswell....

    , Burton
    Burton (name)
    Burton is a surname that has its origins from a town in Leicestershire, England.-People surnamed Burton:* Baron Burton is a peerage title created in 1886 and 1887 in the Peerage of the United Kingdom...

    , London
    London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

    , Leighton, Hamilton, Sutton, Flint, Laughton
  • Estate For those descended from land-owners, the name of their holdings, castle, manor or estate, e.g. Ernle
    Ernle was the surname of an English gentry or landed family descended from the lords of the manor of Earnley in Sussex who derived their surname from the name of the place where their estates lay.-Onomastic:...

    , Windsor
    House of Windsor
    The House of Windsor is the royal house of the Commonwealth realms. It was founded by King George V by royal proclamation on the 17 July 1917, when he changed the name of his family from the German Saxe-Coburg and Gotha to the English Windsor, due to the anti-German sentiment in the United Kingdom...

    , Staunton
  • Patronymic
    A patronym, or patronymic, is a component of a personal name based on the name of one's father, grandfather or an even earlier male ancestor. A component of a name based on the name of one's mother or a female ancestor is a matronymic. Each is a means of conveying lineage.In many areas patronyms...

    s, matronymic
    A matronymic is a personal name based on the name of one's mother, grandmother, or any female ancestor. It is the female equivalent of a patronymic. In patriarchal societies, matronymic surnames are far less common than patronyms. In the past, matronymic last names were often given to children of...

    s or ancestral
    , often from a person's given name. e.g., from male name: Richardson
    Richardson (surname)
    Richardson is an Anglo Saxon patronymic surname.The prefix Richard, is a given name derived from the Old English ric and heard . The suffix -son denotes "son/descendant of". The name Richard and Richardson is found in records as early as 1381 in Yorkshire, England. It is the 60th-most common...

    , Stephenson
    Stephenson is a medieval patronymic surname meaning "son of Stephen". The earliest public record is found in the county of Huntingdonshire in 1279. There are variant spellings including Stevenson. People with the surname include:...

    , Jones
    Jones (surname)
    Jones is a common Celtic Welsh surname based on the English version of the parent's name ending in -S. In 1881 people with this surname were largely confined to Wales. By 1998 many Welsh people had migrated to cities in England particularly those adjacent to Wales. The earliest record of the name...

    (Welsh for John), Williams
    Williams (surname)
    Williams is a patronymic form of the name William that originated in medieval England and later came to be extremely popular in Wales. The meaning is derived from son or descendant of Guillemin, the French form of William. Derived from an Old French given name with Germanic elements; will =...

    , Jackson
    Jackson (name)
    Jackson is a common surname of English and Scottish origin. It literally means "son of Jack". In 1980 Jackson was the 24th most popular surname in England and Wales...

    , Wilson
    Wilson (surname)
    Wilson is a common surname of English origin. It literally means "son of Wil" . It is the seventh most common surname in the United Kingdom, and eighth most common in the United States. In Ireland it is often Gaelicised as "McLiam"...which translated means "Son of William"...

    , Thompson
    Thompson (surname)
    Thompson is a patronymic surname of English origin, with a variety of spellings meaning "son of Tom ". It is the 14th-most common surname in the United Kingdom...

    , Benson
    Benson (surname)
    Benson is a common patronymic surname of English origin meaning "son of Ben". Benson is uncommon as a first name, but quite common as a surname in English speaking countries.Notable people with the name Benson include:...

    , Johnson
    Johnson is an English, Scottish, and Irish name of Norman origin. The name itself is a patronym of the given name John, literally meaning "son of John." The name John derives from Latin Johannes, which is derived through Greek Ἰωάννης Iōannēs, from Hebrew יוחנן Yohanan meaning "Yahweh has favoured"...

    , Harris, Evans
    Evans (surname)
    Evans is a family name of Welsh, and possibly Cornish, origin. Within the United Kingdom it is the 8th most common surname, being most common in the city of Swansea, Wales. Within the United States, it is ranked as the 48th-most common surname.-Origin:...

    , Simpson, Willis
    Willis (surname)
    Willis, a variant of the name William, is a surname, of Scottish and English origin meaning . Notable persons with that surname include:-A:* Adam Willis , retired English footballer...

    , Fox
    Fox (surname)
    Fox or Foxe or Foxx is a surname originating in England and Ireland.The derivation is from the Middle English "fox", itself coming from the Olde English pre 7th Century "fox". The surname first appears on record in the latter part of the 13th Century, with the first recorded spelling in 1273 to be...

    , Davies
    Davies is a spelling variation of the patronymic English surname Davis, that means David, a Hebrew name meaning "beloved". Davies is much associated with Wales, owing to the name of its patron saint, David....

    , Reynolds
    Reynolds (surname)
    Reynolds is a surname in the English language. There are two major lineages of the surname, Irish and English. Among the earliest recorded use of the surname is from the early 14th century; Walter Reynolds ‎of Worcester, England.-Irish Reynolds:...

    , Adams
    Adams (surname)
    Adams is a common surname of English and Scottish origin, meaning "son of Adam".-Politics and law:* Abigail Adams , U.S. First Lady* Brock Adams , U.S. Representative and U.S. Senator from Washington...

    , Dawson
    Dawson (surname)
    Dawson is an English and Irish surname. Notable persons with that surname include:*Alan Dawson, American jazz drummer*Anderson Dawson, Australian politician*Andre Dawson, former MLB player*Andy Dawson, English football player...

    , Lewis
    Lewis (surname)
    Lewis is a surname in the English language. It has several independent origins.One of origins of the surname, in England and Wales, is from the Norman personal name Lowis, Lodovicus. This name is composed of the Germanic elements hlod and wig, meaning "fame" and "war"...

    , Rogers
    Rogers (surname)
    Rogers is a patronymic surname of English origin, deriving from the given name of Roger commonly used by the Normans and meaning 'son of Roger'...

    , Murphy
    Murphy is an Anglicized version of two Irish surnames: Ó Murchadha/Ó Murchadh , and Mac Murchaidh/Mac Murchadh derived from the Irish personal name Murchadh, which meant "sea-warrior" or "sea-battler"...

    , Nicholson, Robinson
    Robinson (name)
    Robinson is an English language patronymic surname, originating in England. It means "son of Robin ". There are similar surname spellings such as Robison and Robeson. Robinson is the 15th most common surname in the United Kingdom...

    , Powell, Ferguson
    Ferguson (name)
    Ferguson is a surname and given name. The surname is a patronymic form of the personal name Fergus. The name Fergus is derived from the Gaelic elements fear and gus .-Australia:...

    , Davis
    Davis (surname)
    Davis is a patronymic surname originating in Wales, that means 'son of David'. It is the 52nd most common surname in the United Kingdom. According to the 1990 United States Census survey, 'Davis' was the 6th most frequently reported surname, accounting for 0.48% of the population, preceding Miller...

    , Edwards
    Edwards (surname)
    Edwards is a patronymic surname, which arose separately in England and Wales. It means 'son of Edward'. Edwards is the 18th-most common surname in the United Kingdom...

    , Hudson
    Hudson (surname)
    Hudson is an English surname. Notable persons with that surname include:-A:* Andrew Hudson, South African test cricketer* Austin Hudson, 1st Baronet , British Conservative politician-B:* Ben Hudson, Australian AFL player...

    , Roberts
    Roberts (surname)
    Roberts is a surname of North Welsh origin, deriving from the Anglo Saxon/Norman given name Robert, meaning "bright fame" – from the Germanic elements "hrod" meaning fame and "beraht" meaning bright. Roberts may mean either "servant of Robert" or "son of Robert"; the latter is more common in...

    , Harrison
    Harrison (name)
    Harrison is a common patronymic surname of English origin. It may also be spelled Harrisson, Harryson or Harrysson. Harrison means "son of Harry". Early records suggest that the surnames Harrison and Harris were used interchangeably by some families. It is likely that to this day there are some...

    , Watson
    Watson (surname)
    Watson is a patronymic surname of English and Scottish origin. Meaning "son of Walter", the popular Middle English given names Wat or Watt were pet forms of the name Walter. Watson is the 36th-most common surname in the United Kingdom.-A:* A. J...

    , or female names Molson (from Moll for Mary), Madison
    Madison (name)
    Originally, Madison, commonly spelled Maddison in Northeastern England, was only used as a surname, a variant of Mathieson meaning son of Matthew, although possibly occasionally standing for son of Maddy, where Maddy is a pet form of Maud.Madison has become a rather popular female given name in...

    (from Maud), Emmott (from Emma), Marriott (from Mary) or from a clan name (for those of Scottish origin, e.g., MacDonald
    MacDonald, Macdonald, and McDonald are Anglicised forms of the Scottish Gaelic name MacDhòmhnaill. It is a patronym where Mac means "son" and Dhòmhnaill means "of Dòmhnall". The personal name Dòmhnall is composed of the elements domno "world" and val "might", "rule"...

    , Forbes
    Clan Forbes
    Clan Forbes is a Lowland Scottish clan from Aberdeenshire, Scotland.-Origins:Concerning the origin of this Scottish clan, John of Forbes, the first upon record, seems to have been a man of importance in the time of William the Lion, and was the father of Fergus, from whom the clan are descended....

    , Henderson
    Henderson (surname)
    Henderson is a common Scottish surname. The name is derived from patronymic form of the name Hendry, which is a Scottish form of Henry. Some Hendersons also derive their name from Henryson....

    , Armstrong
    Armstrong (surname)
    Armstrong is a surname of English and Scottish borders origin. It derives from a Middle English nickname which meant someone with strong arms. In Ireland the name was adopted as an Anglicization of two Gaelic names from Ulster: Mac Thréinfhir and Ó Labhradha Tréan...

    , Grant, Cameron
    Cameron (surname)
    Cameron is an English-language surname, which is considered to be a Scottish surname. The name has several origins. One origin is from a Gaelic-language nickname, derived from cam and sròn . Another origin of the surname is from any of the various places called Cameron, especially such places...

    , Stewart
    Stewart (name)
    Stewart is a Scottish surname and is also used as a masculine given name of pre-7th century Old English origin, derived from stigeweard, the genitive prefix stige meaning "sty", and the suffix weard meaning "guardian" or "warden". An alternative spelling is Stuart. The progenitor of the Stewart...

    , Douglas, Crawford
    Crawford (name)
    Crawford is a surname of English, Scottish and Northern Irish origin. In some cases it is a habitational name derived from several different places called Crawford . The placename is derived from the Old English craw, meaning "crow"; and ford, meaning "ford"...

    , Campbell
    Campbell (surname)
    Campbell is a Scottish family name of Gaelic origins.The name in some cases derives from the Scottish Clan Campbell, in other cases from Mac Cathmhaoil meaning son of the battle chieftain....

    , Hunter
    Hunter (name)
    -Surname:*Alberta Hunter , American singer*Ally Hunter , Scottish footballer*Anne Hunter , poet and socialite*Bill Hunter , Australian actor*Brian Hunter , American baseball player...

    ) with "Mac" Scottish Gaelic for son.
  • Patronal from patronage (Hickman meaning Hick's man, where Hick is a pet form of the name Richard) or strong ties of religion Kilpatrick (follower of Patrick) or Kilbride (follower of Bridget
    Bridget (given name)
    Bridget or Brigid is a Celtic/Irish female name derived from the noun brígh, meaning "power, strength, vigor, virtue." An alternate meaning of the name is "exalted one"...

    ). (Kil may come from the Gaelic word 'Cill' which means Church. This would certainly support the claim that the surname is tied to the religion.)

The original meaning of the name may no longer be obvious in modern English (e.g., a Cooper is one who makes barrels, and the name Tillotson is a matronymic from a diminutive for Matilda). A much smaller category of names relates to religion, though some of this category are also occupations. The names Bishop, Priest, or Abbot, for example, may indicate that an ancestor was or worked for a bishop, a priest, or an abbot, respectively, or possibly took such a role in a popular religious play (see pageant play). In the Americas, the family names of many African-Americans have their origins in slavery (i.e. slave name
Slave name
A slave name is a name given to a person who is or has been enslaved or a name inherited from enslaved ancestors. Modern use of the term applies mostly to African-Americans and West Indians who are descended from slaves, and are thereby capable of having a "slave name".-Ancient Rome:In Rome, slaves...

). Many of them came to bear the surnames of their former owners. Many freed slaves either created family names themselves or adopted the name of their former master. In England and cultures derived from there, there has long been a tradition for a woman to change her surname upon marriage from her birth name
Name at birth
The name at birth is the name a child is given by his or her parents, according to a generally universal custom, and legal requirement. What happens subsequently about this name has a substantial cultural component....

 to her husband's last name. From the first known US instance of a woman keeping her birth name, Lucy Stone
Lucy Stone
Lucy Stone was a prominent American abolitionist and suffragist, and a vocal advocate and organizer promoting rights for women. In 1847, Stone was the first woman from Massachusetts to earn a college degree. She spoke out for women's rights and against slavery at a time when women were discouraged...

 in 1855, there has been a general increase in the rate of women keeping their original name. This has gone through periods of flux, however, and the 1990s saw a decline in the percentage of name retention among women. As of 2004, roughly 90% of American women assumed their husband's surname upon getting married.

In the Middle Ages, when a man from a lower-status family married an only daughter from a higher-status family, he would often take the wife's family name. In the 18th and 19th centuries in Britain, bequests were sometimes made contingent upon a man's changing (or hyphenating) his name, so that the name of the testator
A testator is a person who has written and executed a last will and testament that is in effect at the time of his/her death. It is any "person who makes a will."-Related terms:...

 continued. It is rare but not unknown for an English-speaking man to take the name of his wife, whether for personal reasons or as a matter of tradition (such as among Canadian aboriginal
First Nations
First Nations is a term that collectively refers to various Aboriginal peoples in Canada who are neither Inuit nor Métis. There are currently over 630 recognised First Nations governments or bands spread across Canada, roughly half of which are in the provinces of Ontario and British Columbia. The...

 groups, especially the matrilineal Haida and Gitxsan
Gitxsan are an indigenous people whose home territory comprises most of the area known as the Skeena Country in English...

); it is increasingly common in the United States, where a married couple may choose a new last name entirely. As an alternative, both spouses may adopt a double-barreled name. For instance, when John Smith and Mary Jones marry each other, they may become known as John Smith-Jones and Mary Smith-Jones. However, some consider the extra length of the hyphenated names undesirable. A spouse may also opt to use his or her birth name as a middle name. An additional option, although rarely practiced, is the adoption of a last name derived from a portmanteau
Portmanteau word
A portmanteau or portmanteau word is a blend of two words or morphemes into one new word. A portmanteau word typically combines both sounds and meanings, as in smog, coined by blending smoke and fog. More generally, it may refer to any term or phrase that combines two or more meanings...

 of the prior names, such as "Simones". Some couples keep their own last names but give their children hyphenated or combined surnames.

In some jurisdictions, a woman's legal name used to change automatically upon marriage. That change is no longer a requirement, but women may still easily change to their husband's surname. Upon marriage, men in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 can easily change their surname with the federal government, through the Social Security Administration
Social Security Administration
The United States Social Security Administration is an independent agency of the United States federal government that administers Social Security, a social insurance program consisting of retirement, disability, and survivors' benefits...

, but may face difficulty on the state level in some states. In some places, civil rights lawsuits or constitutional amendments changed the law so that men could also easily change their married names (e.g., in British Columbia and California).

Many people choose to change their name when they marry, while others do not. There are many reasons why people maintain their surname. One is that dropped surnames disappear throughout generations, while the adopted surname survives. Another reason is that if a person's surname is well known due to their particular family's history, he or she may choose to keep his or her birth surname. Yet another is the identity crisis people may experience when giving up their surname. People in academia, for example, who have previously published articles in academic journals under their birth name often do not change their surname after marriage, in order to ensure that they continue to receive credit for their past and future work. This practice is also common among physicians, attorneys, and other professionals, as well as celebrities for whom continuity is important. Another reason some give for maintaining their birth names after marriage is a simple dislike for the new spouse's surname or the combination that would be formed with their first name and the spouse's last name. (For example, a hypothetical Paige Smith marrying a John Turner may hesitate to take her new husband's last name to avoid becoming Paige Turner. Other similar examples can easily be imagined.) The practice of women maintaining their surname after marriage is increasing. Practices among same-sex married couples do not at this point follow any discernible pattern, with some choosing to share surnames, while others do not.

In Southern United States gospel and folk music, families often perform together as groups. When female artists in these genres marry, they usually adopt double-barreled surnames if the husband comes from a noted musical family as well (e.g. Allison Durham Speer, Kelly Crabb Bowling
The Crabb Family
The Crabb Family was a Grammy-nominated, Dove Award-winning Southern Gospel group from Beaver Dam, Kentucky. They had sixteen No. 1 songs on the national radio charts.-Members:...

), or simply continue to go by their birth names if the husband is not from such a family (e.g. Karen Peck
Karen Peck and New River
Karen Peck and New River is a southern gospel trio based in Gainesville, Georgia.-Music career:The youngest of three daughters, Karen was exposed to the traditional sounds of gospel music at a very early age...

, Libbi Perry
The Perrys
The Perrys are a professional Southern Gospel quartet based in Gallatin, Tennessee. The group formed on December 25, 1970 with Randy Perry and his sisters Debbie and Libbi in Georgia. In the mid 1980s, the group signed with former pianist for the Happy Goodman Family, Eddie Crook on his Morning...

, Janet Paschal
Janet Paschal
Janet Paschal is a Contemporary Christian and southern gospel vocalist and performer, often associated with Bill Gaither's Homecoming events.- Background :...


Spelling of names in past centuries is often assumed to be a deliberate choice by a family, but due to very low literacy rates, many families could not provide the spelling of their surname, and so the scribe, clerk, minister, or official would write down the name on the basis of how it was spoken, or how they heard it. This results in a great many variations, some of which occurred when families moved to another country (e.g. Wagner becoming Wagoner, or Whaley becoming Wheally). With the increase in bureaucracy, officially-recorded spellings tended to become the standard for a given family.

Spanish-speaking countries

In medieval times, a patronymic system similar to the one still used in Iceland emerged. For example, Álvaro, the son of Rodrigo would be named Álvaro Rodríguez. His son, Juan, would not be named Juan Rodríguez, but Juan Álvarez. Over time, many of these patronymics became family names and are some of the most common names in the Spanish-speaking world. Other sources of surnames are personal appearance or habit, e.g. Delgado ("thin") and Moreno ("dark-haired"); occupations, e.g. Molinero ("miller"), Zapatero ("Shoe-maker") and Guerrero ("warrior"); and geographic location or ethnicity, e.g. Alemán ("German").

In Spain and in Spanish-speaking countries
Hispanophone or Hispanosphere denotes Spanish language speakers and the Spanish-speaking world. The word derives from the Latin political name of the Iberian Peninsula, Hispania, which comprised basically the territory of the modern states of Spain and Portugal.Hispanophones are estimated at...

 (e.g. Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

, Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico , officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico , is an unincorporated territory of the United States, located in the northeastern Caribbean, east of the Dominican Republic and west of both the United States Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands.Puerto Rico comprises an...

, Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

, Guatemala
Guatemala is a country in Central America bordered by Mexico to the north and west, the Pacific Ocean to the southwest, Belize to the northeast, the Caribbean to the east, and Honduras and El Salvador to the southeast...

, Nicaragua
Nicaragua is the largest country in the Central American American isthmus, bordered by Honduras to the north and Costa Rica to the south. The country is situated between 11 and 14 degrees north of the Equator in the Northern Hemisphere, which places it entirely within the tropics. The Pacific Ocean...

, Colombia
Colombia, officially the Republic of Colombia , is a unitary constitutional republic comprising thirty-two departments. The country is located in northwestern South America, bordered to the east by Venezuela and Brazil; to the south by Ecuador and Peru; to the north by the Caribbean Sea; to the...

, Dominican Republic
Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic is a nation on the island of La Hispaniola, part of the Greater Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean region. The western third of the island is occupied by the nation of Haiti, making Hispaniola one of two Caribbean islands that are shared by two countries...

, Peru
Peru , officially the Republic of Peru , is a country in western South America. It is bordered on the north by Ecuador and Colombia, on the east by Brazil, on the southeast by Bolivia, on the south by Chile, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean....

, Chile
Chile ,officially the Republic of Chile , is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far...

, Ecuador
Ecuador , officially the Republic of Ecuador is a representative democratic republic in South America, bordered by Colombia on the north, Peru on the east and south, and by the Pacific Ocean to the west. It is one of only two countries in South America, along with Chile, that do not have a border...

, Panama
Panama , officially the Republic of Panama , is the southernmost country of Central America. Situated on the isthmus connecting North and South America, it is bordered by Costa Rica to the northwest, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south. The...

, and Venezuela
Venezuela , officially called the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela , is a tropical country on the northern coast of South America. It borders Colombia to the west, Guyana to the east, and Brazil to the south...

), people traditionally have two family names: the first family name is the paternal one, inherited from the father's paternal family name, while the second family name is the maternal one, inherited from the mother's paternal family name. In most situations only the first one is used. In some instances, when an individual's given name and first family name are too common (such as in José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero
José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero
José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero is a member of the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party . He was elected for two terms as Prime Minister of Spain, in the 2004 and 2008 general elections. On 2 April 2011 he announced he will not stand for re-election in 2012...

 and Mario Vargas Llosa
Mario Vargas Llosa
Jorge Mario Pedro Vargas Llosa, 1st Marquis of Vargas Llosa is a Peruvian-Spanish writer, politician, journalist, essayist, and Nobel Prize laureate. Vargas Llosa is one of Latin America's most significant novelists and essayists, and one of the leading authors of his generation...

), both family names are used (though not necessarily both given names). In Spain, a new law approved in 1999 allows an adult to change the order of his/her family names, and parents can also change the order of their children's family names if they (and the child, if over 12) agree.

Traditionally in most countries, and currently in Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

, Chile
Chile ,officially the Republic of Chile , is a country in South America occupying a long, narrow coastal strip between the Andes mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far...

 and Argentina
Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

, women, upon marrying, keep their own family names. It is considered impolite towards her family for a woman to change her name. The higher class women of Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

 and Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 traditionally never change their names. In certain rare situations, a woman may be addressed not only with her maternal surname, but also with her husband's paternal surname, often linked with de. For example, a woman named Ana García Díaz, upon marrying Juan Guerrero Macías, could be called Ana García Díaz de Guerrero. This custom, begun in medieval times, is decaying and only has legal validity in Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Ecuador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras
Honduras is a republic in Central America. It was previously known as Spanish Honduras to differentiate it from British Honduras, which became the modern-day state of Belize...

, Peru, Panama
Panama , officially the Republic of Panama , is the southernmost country of Central America. Situated on the isthmus connecting North and South America, it is bordered by Costa Rica to the northwest, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south. The...

, and to a certain extent in Mexico (where it is optional but becoming obsolete), but is frowned upon by people in Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

, Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

, and elsewhere.

Depending on the country, the family names may or may not be linked by the conjunction y ("and"), i ("and" in Catalonia
Catalonia is an autonomous community in northeastern Spain, with the official status of a "nationality" of Spain. Catalonia comprises four provinces: Barcelona, Girona, Lleida, and Tarragona. Its capital and largest city is Barcelona. Catalonia covers an area of 32,114 km² and has an...

), de ("of"), del ("of the", when the following word is masculine) or de la ("of the", when the following word is feminine). Sometimes a father transmits his combined family names, thus creating a new one e.g., the paternal surname of the son of Javier (given name) Reyes (paternal family name) de la Barrera (maternal surname) may become the new paternal surname Reyes de la Barrera. De is also the nobiliary particle
Nobiliary particle
A nobiliary particle is used in a family name or surname in many Western cultures to signal the nobility of a family. The particle used varies depending on the country, language and period of time. This article is dedicated to explain how noble families of different countries identify themselves by...

 used with Spanish surnames.

In Hispanic American countries, married women usually keep their first family name followed by "de" (denoting property: "'s" or "of") and then the husband's last name. For example María Martínez López when married to Josué Vásquez Hernández would then be María Martínez de Vásquez. However, this usage is falling into disuse. In Peru and the Dominican Republic, women normally conserve all family names after getting married. For example, if Rosa María Pérez Martínez marries Juan Martín de la Cruz Gómez, she will be called Rosa María Pérez Martínez de la Cruz, and if the husband dies, she will be called Rosa María Pérez Martínez Vda. de la Cruz (Vda. being the abbreviation for viuda, "widow" in Spanish).

The law in Peru changed some years ago, and all married women can keep their maiden last names or if they want, they can use also their husband's last name after their own maiden name, adding the "de" before their husband's last name.

In Ecuador, a couple can choose the order of their children's surnames. Most choose the traditional order (e.g., Guerrero García in the example above), but some invert the order, putting the mother's paternal surname first and the father's paternal surname last (e.g., García Guerrero from the example above). Such inversion, if chosen, must be consistent for all children of the marriage.

In Argentina only one family name, the father's paternal family name, is commonly used and registered, as in English-speaking countries. Women, however, do not change their family names upon marriage and continue to use their birth family names
Married and maiden names
A married name is the family name adopted by a person upon marriage. When a person assumes the family name of her spouse, the new name replaces the maiden name....

 instead of their husband's family names. However, some women do choose to use the old Spanish custom of adjoining "de" and her husband's paternal surname to her own name. For example: if Cristina Fernández marries Felipe Kirchner, she might keep her birth name or become Cristina Fernández de Kirchner or Cristina Kircher.

In Cuba and in Nicaragua, both men and women carry their two family names (first their father's, and second their mother's). Both are equally important and are mandatory for any official document. Married women never change their original family names for their husband's. Even when they migrate to other countries where this is a common practice, many prefer to adhere to their heritage and keep their maiden name.

In villages in Catalonia, Galicia and Asturias (Spain) and in Cuba, people are often known by the name of their dwelling or collective family nickname rather than by their surnames. For example, Remei Pujol i Serra who lives at Ca l'Elvira would be referred to as "la Remei de Ca l'Elvira"; and Adela Barreira López who is part of the "Provisores" family would be known as "A Adela dos Provisores".

French-speaking countries


German-speaking countries

There are about 1,000,000 different family names in German. German family names most often derive from given names, geographical names, occupational designations, bodily attributes or even traits of character. Hyphenations notwithstanding, they mostly consist of a single word; in those rare cases where the family name is linked to the given names by particles such as von or zu, they usually indicate noble
Nobility is a social class which possesses more acknowledged privileges or eminence than members of most other classes in a society, membership therein typically being hereditary. The privileges associated with nobility may constitute substantial advantages over or relative to non-nobles, or may be...

 ancestry. Not all noble families used these names (see Riedesel
Riedesel is a German family name that began to appear in legal documents in the early 13th century. They were of the knightly class, though not all had the official status of Ritter or knight. Its exact geographical and temporal origins are uncertain. However, all of the early references are from...

), while some farm families, particularly in Westphalia
Westphalia is a region in Germany, centred on the cities of Arnsberg, Bielefeld, Dortmund, Minden and Münster.Westphalia is roughly the region between the rivers Rhine and Weser, located north and south of the Ruhr River. No exact definition of borders can be given, because the name "Westphalia"...

, used the particle von or zu followed by their farm or former farm's name as a family name (see Meyer zu Erpen).

Family names in German-speaking countries are usually positioned last, after all given names. There are exceptions, however: In parts of Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

 and the Alemannic-speaking
Alemannic German
Alemannic is a group of dialects of the Upper German branch of the Germanic language family. It is spoken by approximately ten million people in six countries: Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein, France and Italy...

 areas, the family name is regularly put in front of the first given name. Also in many - especially rural
Rural areas or the country or countryside are areas that are not urbanized, though when large areas are described, country towns and smaller cities will be included. They have a low population density, and typically much of the land is devoted to agriculture...

 - parts of Germany, to emphasize family affiliation there is often an inversion in colloquial use, in which the family name becomes a possessive
Possession (linguistics)
Possession, in the context of linguistics, is an asymmetric relationship between two constituents, the referent of one of which possesses the referent of the other ....

: Rüters Erich, for example, would be Erich of the Rüter family. This mirrors usage in the nearby Czech Republic.

In Germany today, upon marriage, both partners can choose to keep their birth name or choose either partner's name as the common name. In the latter case the partner whose name wasn't chosen can keep his birth name hyphenated to the new name (e.g. Schmidt and Meyer choose to marry under the name Meyer. The former Schmidt can choose to be called Meyer, Schmidt-Meyer or Meyer-Schmidt), but any children will only get the single common name. In the case that both partners keep their birth name they must decide on one of the two family names for all their future children. (German name
German name
German names consist of one or several Vornamen and a Nachname . The Vorname is usually gender-specific.-Forenames:...


Changing one's family name for reasons other than marriage, divorce or adoption is possible only if the application is approved by the responsible government agency. Permission will usually be granted if:
  • the old name is very common and leads to confusion;
  • the old name is overly long or very difficult to spell or pronounce (especially with names of former nobility and of citizens with non-German ancestry); or
  • the old name has negatively connotations or is easily ridiculed.

Otherwise, name changes will normally not be granted.

Portuguese-speaking countries

In the case of Portuguese
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

 naming customs, the main surname (the one used in alphasorting, indexing, abbreviations, and greetings), appears last.

Each person usually has two family names: though the law specifies no order, the first one is usually the maternal family name, whereas the last one is commonly the paternal family name. In Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

, a person's full name has a minimum legal length of two names (one given name and one family name from either parent) and a maximum of six names (two first names and four surnames — he or she may have up to four surnames in any order desired picked up from the total of his/her parents and grandparents' surnames). The use of any surname outside this lot, or of more than six names, is legally possible, but it requires dealing with bureaucracy. Parents or the person him/herself must explain the claims they have to bearing that surname (a family nickname, a rare surname lost in past generations, or any other reason one may find suitable). In Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

 there are no limit of surnames used.

In ancient times a patronymic was commonly used — surnames like Gonçalves ("son of Gonçalo"), Fernandes ("son of Fernando"), Nunes ("son of Nuno"), Soares ("son of Soeiro"), Sanches ("son of Sancho"), Henriques ("son of Henrique"), Rodrigues ("son of Rodrigo") which along with many others are still in regular use as very prevalent family names.

In Medieval times, Portuguese nobility started to use one of their estates' name or the name of the town or villaged they ruled as their surname, just after their patronymic. Soeiro Mendes da Maia bore a name "Soeiro", a patronymic "Mendes" ("son of Hermenegildo - shortened to Mendo") and the name of the town he ruled "Maia". He was often referred to in 12th century documents as "Soeiro Mendes, senhor da Maia", Soeiro Mendes, lord of Maia. Nobelwomen also bore patronymics and surnames in the same manner and never bore their husband's surname. First-born males bore their father's surname, other children bore either both or only one of them at their will.

Only during the Early Modern Age, lower-class males started to use at least one surname; married lower-class women usually took up their spouse's surname, since they rarely ever used one beforehand. After the 1755 Lisbon Earthquake
1755 Lisbon earthquake
The 1755 Lisbon earthquake, also known as the Great Lisbon Earthquake, was a megathrust earthquake that took place on Saturday 1 November 1755, at around 9:40 in the morning. The earthquake was followed by fires and a tsunami, which almost totally destroyed Lisbon in the Kingdom of Portugal, and...

, Portuguese authorities realized the benefits of enforcing the use and registry of surnames. Henceforth, they became mandatory, although the rules for their use were very liberal.

During the mid-20th century, under French influence and among upper classes, women started to take up their husbands' surname(s). From the 1960s onwards, this usage spread to the common people, again under French influence, this time, however, due to the forceful legal adoption of their husbands' surname which was imposed onto Portuguese immigrant women in France.

From the 1974 Carnation Revolution
Carnation Revolution
The Carnation Revolution , also referred to as the 25 de Abril , was a military coup started on 25 April 1974, in Lisbon, Portugal, coupled with an unanticipated and extensive campaign of civil resistance...

 onwards the adoption of their husbands' surname(s) receded again, and today both the adoption and non-adoption occur; also, it is legally possible for the husband to adopt his wife's surname(s), but this practice is rare.

Brazilians usually call people only by their given names, omitting family names, even in many formal situations, as in the press referring to authorities, e.g. "Former President Fernando Henrique", never Former President Cardoso, or even "Former President Lula" ("Lula" was actually his nickname
A nickname is "a usually familiar or humorous but sometimes pointed or cruel name given to a person or place, as a supposedly appropriate replacement for or addition to the proper name.", or a name similar in origin and pronunciation from the original name....

). When formality or a prefix requires a family name, the given name usually precedes the surname, e.g. João Santos, or Sr. João Santos.

Dutch-speaking countries

The Netherlands
South Africa

Arabic-speaking Countries

The given name is always followed by the father's first name, then the father's family surname.
Some surnames have a pre-fix of ibn- meaning son of (ould- in Mauritania)
The surnames follow similar rules defining a relation to a clan, family, place etc.
Some Arab countries have differences due to historic rule by the Ottoman Empire or due to being a different minority.

Arab States of the Persian Gulf
Persian Gulf
The Persian Gulf, in Southwest Asia, is an extension of the Indian Ocean located between Iran and the Arabian Peninsula.The Persian Gulf was the focus of the 1980–1988 Iran-Iraq War, in which each side attacked the other's oil tankers...

Names mainly consist of the person's name followed by the father's first name connected by the word "ibn" or "bin" (meaning son of). The last name is either refers to the name of the tribe the person belongs to, or to the region, city, or town he/she originates from. In exceptional cases, members of the royal families or ancient tribes mainly, the title (usually H.M./H.E., Prince, or Sheikh) is included in the beginning as a prefix, and the first name can be followed by four names, his father, his grandfather, and great - grandfather, as a representation of the purity of blood and to show the pride one has for his ancestry.


Armenian surnames
Armenian surnames
- Suffixes and prefixes :Typical Armenian last names end with the patronymic suffix -յան or , transliterated as -ian, -yan, or sometimes -jan. Example: Petrosian. or Bakunc with a suffix of unc...

 almost always have the ending transliterated into English as -yan or -ian (spelled -ean (եան) in Western Armenian and pre-Soviet Eastern Armenian, of Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

ian origin, presumably meaning "son of"), though names with that ending can also be found among Persians and a few other nationalities. Armenian surnames can derive from a geographic location, profession, noble rank, personal characteristic or personal name of an ancestor. Armenians in the diaspora sometimes adapt their surnames to help assimiliation. In Russia, many have changed -yan to -ov (or -ova for women). In Turkey, many have changed the ending to -oğlu (also meaning "son of"). In English and French-speaking countries, many have shortened their name by removing the ending (for example Charles Aznavour
Charles Aznavour
Charles Aznavour, OC is an Armenian-French singer, songwriter, actor, public activist and diplomat. Besides being one of France's most popular and enduring singers, he is also one of the best-known singers in the world...

). In ancient Armenia, many noble names ended with the locative -t'si (example, Khorenatsi) or -uni (Bagratuni). Several modern Armenian names also have a Turkish suffix which appears before -ian/-yan: -lian denotes a placename; -djian denotes a profession. Some Western Armenian names have a particle Der, while their Eastern counterparts have Ter. This particle indicates an ancestor who was a priest (Armenian priests can choose to marry or remain celibate, but married priests cannot become a bishop). Thus someone named Der Bedrosian (Western) or Ter Petrosian (Eastern) is a descendent of an Armenian priest. The convention is still in use today: the children of a priest named Hagop Sarkisian would be called Der Sarkisian.


Traditional Azeri surnames usually end with "-lı", "-lu", (Turkic for 'with' or 'belonging to'), "-oğlu", "-qızı" (Turkic for 'son of' and 'daughter of'), "-zade" (Persian for 'born of'). Azerbaijanis of Iranian descent traditionally use suffixes such as '-pour' or '-zadeh', meaning 'born of' with their father's name. It is, however, more usual for them to use the name of the city in which their ancestors lived (e.g. Tabrizpour for those from Tabriz) or their occupation (e.g. Damirchizadeh for blacksmiths). Also, due to it being a part of the Russian Empire, many last names carry Slavic endings of "-ov" for men and "-ova" for women.


Bulgaria , officially the Republic of Bulgaria , is a parliamentary democracy within a unitary constitutional republic in Southeast Europe. The country borders Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, as well as the Black Sea to the east...

n names usually consist of three components - given name, father's name, family name.

Given names have many variations, but the most common names have Christian/Greek (e.g. Maria, Ivan, Christo, Peter, Pavel), Slavic
Slavic peoples
The Slavic people are an Indo-European panethnicity living in Eastern Europe, Southeast Europe, North Asia and Central Asia. The term Slavic represents a broad ethno-linguistic group of people, who speak languages belonging to the Slavic language family and share, to varying degrees, certain...

 (Ognyan, Miroslav, Tihomir) or Protobulgarian
The Bulgars were a semi-nomadic who flourished in the Pontic Steppe and the Volga basin in the 7th century.The Bulgars emerge after the collapse of the Hunnic Empire in the 5th century....

 (Krum, Asparukh) (pre-Christian) origin.
Father's names normally consist of the father's first name and the "-ov" (male) or "-ova" (female) or "-ovi" (plural) suffix.
Family names usually also end with the "-ov", "-ev" (male) or "-ova", "-eva" (female) or "-ovi", "-evi" (plural) suffix.

In many cases (depending on the name root) the suffixes can be also "-ski" (male and plural) or "-ska" (female); "-ovski", "-evski" (male and plural) or "-ovska", "-evska" (female); "-in" (male) or "-ina" (female) or "-ini" (plural); etc.

The meaning of the suffixes is similar to the English word "of", expressing membership in/belonging to a family.
For example the family name Ivanova means a person belonging to the Ivanovi family.
A father's name Petr*ov* means son of Peter.

Regarding the different meaning of the suffixes, "-ov", "-ev"/"-ova", "-eva" are used for expressing relationship to the father and "-in"/"-ina" for relationship to the mother (often for orphans whose father is dead).


Finland has two predominant surname traditions: the West Finnish and the East Finnish
East Finnish
East Finnish culture and dialect are chiefly vested in the Savonians and the Karelians. It is distinguished by considerably less of influence from Scandinavian and Finland-Swedish culture and language....

. Until the mid 20th Century, Finland was a predominantly agrarian
Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the...

 society, and the names of West Finns were based on their association with a particular area, farm
A farm is an area of land, or, for aquaculture, lake, river or sea, including various structures, devoted primarily to the practice of producing and managing food , fibres and, increasingly, fuel. It is the basic production facility in food production. Farms may be owned and operated by a single...

, or homestead
A smallholding is a farm of small size.In third world countries, smallholdings are usually farms supporting a single family with a mixture of cash crops and subsistence farming. As a country becomes more affluent and farming practices become more efficient, smallholdings may persist as a legacy of...

, e.g. Jaakko Jussila ("Jaakko from the farm of Jussi"). On the other hand, the East Finnish surname tradition dates back to the 13th century. There, the Savonians
Savonian people
Savonians are Finnish people descending from the inhabitants of historical province of Savonia. Savonians differ from other Finnish tribes by their dialect and cultural tradition. Originally they are descendants of the historical Finnish Karelians and the Tavastians...

 pursued slash-and-burn agriculture which necessitated moving several times during a person's lifetime. This in turn required the families to have surnames, which were in wide use among the common folk as early as the 13th century. By the mid-16th century, the East Finnish surnames had become hereditary. Typically, the oldest East Finnish surnames were formed from the first names of the patriarchs of the families, e.g. Ikävalko, Termonen, Pentikäinen. In the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries, new names were most often formed by adding the name of the former or current place of living (e.g. Puumalainen < Puumala
Puumala is a municipality of Finland.It is located in the province of Eastern Finland and is part of the Southern Savonia region. The municipality has a population of and covers an area of of which is water. The population density is ....

). In the East Finnish tradition, the females carried the family name of their fathers in female form (e.g. Puumalatar < Puumalainen). By the 19th century, this practice fell into disuse due to the influence of the West-European surname tradition.

In Western Finland, agrarian names dominated, and the last name of the person was usually given according to the farm or holding they lived on. In 1921, surnames became compulsory for all Finns. At this point, the agrarian names were usually adopted as surnames. A typical feature of such names is the addition of prefixes Ala- (Sub-) or Ylä- (Up-), giving the location of the holding along a waterway in relation of the main holding. (e.g. Yli-Ojanperä, Ala-Verronen)

A third, foreign tradition of surnames was introduced in Finland by the Swedish-speaking upper and middle classes, which used typical German and Swedish surnames. By custom, all Finnish-speaking persons who were able to get a position of some status in urban or learned society, discarded their Finnish name, adopting a Swedish, German or (in the case of clergy) Latin surname. In the case of enlisted soldiers
Swedish allotment system
The allotment system was a system used in Sweden for keeping a trained army at all times. This system came into use in around 1640, and was replaced in the early 1900s by the Swedish Armed Forces conscription system...

, the new name was given regardless of the wishes of the individual.

In the late 19th and early 20th century, the overall modernization process, and especially the political movement of fennicization, caused a movement for adoption of Finnish surnames. At that time, many persons with a Swedish or otherwise foreign surname changed their family name to a Finnish one. The features of nature with endings -o/ö, -nen (Meriö < Meri "sea", Nieminen < Niemi "point") are typical of the names of this era, as well as more or less direct translations of Swedish names (Paasivirta < Hällström).

In 21st-century Finland, the use of surnames follows the German model. Every person is legally obligated to have a first and last name. At most, three first names are allowed. The Finnish married couple may adopt the name of either spouse, or either spouse (or both spouses) may decide to use a double name. The parents may choose either surname or the double surname for their children, but all siblings must share the same surname. All persons have the right to change their surname once without any specific reason. A surname that is un-Finnish, contrary to the usages of the Swedish or Finnish languages, or is in use by any person residing in Finland cannot be accepted as the new name, unless valid family reasons or religious or national customs give a reason for waiving this requirement. However, persons may change their surname to any surname that has ever been used by their ancestors if they can prove such claim. Some immigrants have had difficulty naming their children, as they must choose from an approved list based on the family's household language.

In the Finnish language, both the root of the surname and the first name can be modified by consonant gradation
Consonant gradation
Consonant gradation is a type of consonant mutation, in which consonants alternate between various "grades". It is found in some Uralic languages such as Finnish, Estonian, Northern Sámi, and the Samoyed language Nganasan. In addition, it has been reconstructed for Proto-Germanic, the parent...

 regularly when inflected to a case.


Most eastern Georgian
Georgia (country)
Georgia is a sovereign state in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the southwest by Turkey, to the south by Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital of...

 surnames end with the suffix of "-shvili", (e.g. Sharmazana'shvili) Georgian for "child" or "offspring". Western Georgian surnames most commonly have the suffix "-dze", (e.g. Laba'dze) Georgian for "son". Megrelian surnames usually end in "-ia","ua" or "ava". Other location-specific endings exist: In Svaneti
Svaneti is a historic province in Georgia, in the northwestern part of the country. It is inhabited by the Svans, a geographic subgroup of the Georgians.- Geography :...

 "-iani", meaning "belonging to", or "hailing from", is common. In the eastern Georgian highlands common endings are "uri" and "uli". Some noble family names end in "eli", meaning "of (someplace)".
In Georgian
Georgian language
Georgian is the native language of the Georgians and the official language of Georgia, a country in the Caucasus.Georgian is the primary language of about 4 million people in Georgia itself, and of another 500,000 abroad...

, the surname is not normally used as the polite form of address; instead, the given name is used together with a title. For instance, Nikoloz Sharmazanashvili is politely addressed as bat'ono Nikoloz "My Lord. Nikoloz".

Greece and Cyprus

Greek surnames are most commonly patronymics. Occupation, characteristic, or ethnic background and location/origin-based surnames names also occur; they are sometimes supplemented by nicknames.

Commonly, Greek male surnames end in -s, which is the common ending for Greek masculine proper nouns in the nominative case
Nominative case
The nominative case is one of the grammatical cases of a noun or other part of speech, which generally marks the subject of a verb or the predicate noun or predicate adjective, as opposed to its object or other verb arguments...

. Exceptionally, some end in -ou, indicating the genitive case
Genitive case
In grammar, genitive is the grammatical case that marks a noun as modifying another noun...

 of this proper noun for patronymic reasons.

Although surnames are static today, dynamic and changing patronym usage survives in middle names in Greece where the genitive of the father's first name is commonly the middle name.

Because of their codification in the Modern Greek state, surnames have Katharevousa
Katharevousa , is a form of the Greek language conceived in the early 19th century as a compromise between Ancient Greek and the Modern Greek of the time, with a vocabulary largely based on ancient forms, but a much-simplified grammar. Originally, it was widely used both for literary and official...

 forms even though Katharevousa is no longer the official standard. Thus, the Ancient Greek name Eleutherios forms the Modern Greek proper name Lefteris, and former vernacular practice (prefixing the surname to the proper name) was to call John Eleutherios Leftero-giannis.

Modern practice is to call the same person Giannis Eleftheriou: the proper name is vernacular (and not Ioannis), but the surname is an archaic genitive. However, children are almost always baptised with the archaic form of the name so in official matters the child will be referred to as Ioannis Eleftheriou and not Giannis Eleftheriou.

Female surnames are most often in the Katharevousa genitive case of a male name. This is an innovation of the Modern Greek state; Byzantine practice was to form a feminine counterpart of the male surname (e.g. masculine Palaiologos, Byzantine feminine Palaiologina, Modern feminine Palaiologou).

In the past, women would change their surname when married to that of their husband (again in genitive case) signifying the transfer of "dependence" from the father to the husband. In earlier Modern Greek society, women were named with -aina as a feminine suffix on the husband's first name: "Giorgaina", "Mrs George", "Wife of George". Nowadays, a woman's legal surname does not change upon marriage, though she can use the husband's surname socially. Children usually receive the paternal surname, though in rare cases, if the bride and groom have agreed before the marriage, the children can receive the maternal surname.

Some surnames are prefixed with Papa-, indicating ancestry from a priest, e.g. Papageorgiou, the "son of a priest named George". Others, like Archi- and Mastro- signify "boss" and "tradesman
This article is about the skilled manual worker meaning of the term; for other uses see Tradesperson .A tradesman is a skilled manual worker in a particular trade or craft. Economically and socially, a tradesman's status is considered between a laborer and a professional, with a high degree of both...

" respectively.

Prefixes such as Konto-, Makro-, and Chondro- describe body characteristics, such as "short", "tall/long" and "fat". Gero- and Palaio- signify "old" or "wise".

Other prefixes include Hadji
Hajji or El-Hajj, is an honorific title given to a Muslim person who has successfully completed the Hajj to Mecca, and is often used to refer to an elder, since it can take time to accumulate the wealth to fund the travel. The title is placed before a person's name...

(Χαντζή- or Χαντζι-) which was an honorific deriving from the Arabic Hadj or pilgrimage, and indicate that the person had made a pilgrimage (in the case of Christians, to Jerusalem) and Kara- which is attributed to the Turkish word for "black" deriving from the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 era. The Turkish suffix -oglou (derived from a patronym, -oğlu in Turkish) can also be found. Although they are of course more common among Greece's Muslim minority, they still can be found among the Christian majority, often Greeks who were pressured to leave Turkey after the Turkish Republic was founded (since Turkish surnames only date to the founding of the Republic, when Atatürk made them compulsory).

Arvanitic surnames also exist; an example is Tzanavaras or Tzavaras, from the Arvanitic word çanavar or çavar meaning "brave" (pallikari in Greek).

Most Greek patronymic suffixes are diminutives, which vary by region. The most common Hellenic patronymic suffixes are:
  • -poulos/-poulou, which has a Latin origin (pullus) and means "the little", representing "the son of ...", so if a man's family name is "Christopoulos", it means that his father was named "Christos". This suffix is very widespread throughout Greece
    Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

     and is originally from the Peloponessus in particular.
  • -idis/iadis/antis used in the Pontus
    Pontus or Pontos is a historical Greek designation for a region on the southern coast of the Black Sea, located in modern-day northeastern Turkey. The name was applied to the coastal region in antiquity by the Greeks who colonized the area, and derived from the Greek name of the Black Sea: Πόντος...

     and Asia Minor
    Asia Minor
    Asia Minor is a geographical location at the westernmost protrusion of Asia, also called Anatolia, and corresponds to the western two thirds of the Asian part of Turkey...

     regions, e.g. Michailidis, the "clan of Michael"
  • -akis/-aki is associated primarily with Crete
    Crete is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands, the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, and one of the thirteen administrative regions of Greece. It forms a significant part of the economy and cultural heritage of Greece while retaining its own local cultural traits...

     and the Aegean Islands
    Aegean Islands
    The Aegean Islands are the group of islands in the Aegean Sea, with mainland Greece to the west and north and Turkey to the east; the island of Crete delimits the sea to the south, those of Rhodes, Karpathos and Kasos to the southeast...

    . It is a patronymic signifying "little" and/or "son"; therefore Theodorakis is "little Theodore".

Others, less common, are:
  • -atos/-atou (from Cephallonia and other Ionian Islands
    Ionian Islands
    The Ionian Islands are a group of islands in Greece. They are traditionally called the Heptanese, i.e...

  • -as/-a/-ekas/kas (from Epirus
    Epirus (region)
    Epirus is a geographical and historical region in southeastern Europe, shared between Greece and Albania. It lies between the Pindus Mountains and the Ionian Sea, stretching from the Bay of Vlorë in the north to the Ambracian Gulf in the south...

  • -ellis/-elli (from Lesvos Island
    Lesbos Island
    Lesbos is a Greek island located in the northeastern Aegean Sea. It has an area of with 320 kilometres of coastline, making it the third largest Greek island. It is separated from Turkey by the narrow Mytilini Strait....

  • -eas/akos/oggonas (from Mani
    Mani Peninsula
    The Mani Peninsula , also long known as Maina or Maïna, is a geographical and cultural region in Greece. Mani is the central peninsula of the three which extend southwards from the Peloponnese in southern Greece. To the east is the Laconian Gulf, to the west the Messenian Gulf...

  • -oglou (from the Turkish suffix for "son of" used by both genders)
  • -ou (genitive, from Cyprus
    Cyprus , officially the Republic of Cyprus , is a Eurasian island country, member of the European Union, in the Eastern Mediterranean, east of Greece, south of Turkey, west of Syria and north of Egypt. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.The earliest known human activity on the...

  • -ou/ides/kos (from Macedonia
    Macedonia (Greece)
    Macedonia is a geographical and historical region of Greece in Southern Europe. Macedonia is the largest and second most populous Greek region...

  • -ekas/las (from Epirus
    Epirus (region)
    Epirus is a geographical and historical region in southeastern Europe, shared between Greece and Albania. It lies between the Pindus Mountains and the Ionian Sea, stretching from the Bay of Vlorë in the north to the Ambracian Gulf in the south...


The suffix -idis (often transliterated -ides in English and French) is the oldest in use. Zeus
In the ancient Greek religion, Zeus was the "Father of Gods and men" who ruled the Olympians of Mount Olympus as a father ruled the family. He was the god of sky and thunder in Greek mythology. His Roman counterpart is Jupiter and his Etruscan counterpart is Tinia.Zeus was the child of Cronus...

, for example, was also referred to as Cronides ("son of Cronus
In Greek mythology, Cronus or Kronos was the leader and the youngest of the first generation of Titans, divine descendants of Gaia, the earth, and Uranus, the sky...


Either the surname or the given name may come first in different contexts; in newspapers and in informal uses, the order is given name + surname, while in official documents and forums (tax forms, registrations, military service, school forms), the surname is often listed or said first.


In Hungarian
Hungarian language
Hungarian is a Uralic language, part of the Ugric group. With some 14 million speakers, it is one of the most widely spoken non-Indo-European languages in Europe....

, like Asian languages but unlike most other European ones (see French and German above for exceptions), the family name is placed before the given names. This usage does not apply to non-Hungarian names, for example "Tony Blair" will remain "Tony Blair" when written in Hungarian texts.

Names of Hungarian individuals, however, appear in Western order in English writing.


In Iceland
Iceland , described as the Republic of Iceland, is a Nordic and European island country in the North Atlantic Ocean, on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Iceland also refers to the main island of the country, which contains almost all the population and almost all the land area. The country has a population...

, most people have no family name; a person's last name is most commonly a patronymic, i.e. derived from the father's first name. For example, when a man called Karl has a daughter called Anna and a son called Magnús, their full names will typically be Anna Karlsdóttir ("Karl's daughter") and Magnús Karlsson ("Karl's son"). The name is not changed upon marriage.


India is a country with numerous distinct cultural and linguistic groups. Thus, Indian surnames, where formalized, fall into seven general types. Many people from the southern states of Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu is one of the 28 states of India. Its capital and largest city is Chennai. Tamil Nadu lies in the southernmost part of the Indian Peninsula and is bordered by the union territory of Pondicherry, and the states of Kerala, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh...

 and Kerala
or Keralam is an Indian state located on the Malabar coast of south-west India. It was created on 1 November 1956 by the States Reorganisation Act by combining various Malayalam speaking regions....

 do not use any formal surnames, though most have one. Tamil people do not use their family or caste names. They use initials in front of their names (example S Karthik) instead, the S standing for the father's name Sivakumar
Sivakumar is a Tamil cinema actor who has portrayed a wide range of character roles onscreen. Sivakumar was introduced in the Tamil movie Kaakum karangal which was produced by AVM Productions....

. Though they usually have a caste name such as Muthaliyar or Kounder that could be interpreted as a last name, it is not commonly used in present day Tamil Nadu.

Surnames are based on:
  • Patronymics and ancestry, whereby the father's name or an ancestor's given name is used in its original form or in a derived form (e.g. Aggarwal or Agrawal or Agrawala derived from the ancestor Agrasen).
  • Occupations (Chamar, Patel
    Patel is a surname of Indian origin, originally meaning "headman" or"village chief". Patels are socially, economically and politically the most dominant caste in Gujarat Patels are basically Kurmis or Kunbis and are found in various geographical locations. The Kunbi are an Indian subcaste...

     or Patil, meaning Village Headman, Gandhi, Kamath, Kulkarni
    Kulkarni Marathi- Kannada- is a common family name in the Maharashtra and Karnataka states of India.The name Kulkarni is believed to be a combination of two words . Kula means the root of the family, and Karanika means one who maintains records or accounts...

    , who used to maintain the accounts and records and collect taxes, Kapadia, Nadkarni, Patwardhan, Patwari, Shenoy
    Shenoy is a common surname amongst the Goud Saraswat Brahmins and Rajapur Saraswat Brahmins. It is the most common surname among the Goud Saraswat Brahmins.-Etymology:...

    , etc.) and priestly distinctions (Bhat, Bhattar, Sastry, Trivedi, Shukla, Chaturvedi, Twivedi, Purohit, Mukhopadhyay); Business people: Shetty, Rai, Hegde is commonly used in kshatriya castes of the karnataka costal belt. In addition many Parsi, Bohra
    Dawoodi Bohra
    Dawoodi Bohra is a subsect of Ismāʿīlī Shīʿa Islām. While the Dawoodi Bohra is based in India, their belief system originates in Yemen, where it evolved from the Fatimid Caliphate and where they were persecuted due to their differences from mainstream Sunni Islam...

     and Gujarati
    Gujarati people
    Gujarati people , or Gujaratis are an ethnic group that is traditionally Gujarati-speaking and can trace their ancestry to the state of Gujarat in western India...

     families have used English trade names as last names since the 18th and 19th centuries (Contractor, Engineer, Builder).
  • Caste
    Caste is an elaborate and complex social system that combines elements of endogamy, occupation, culture, social class, tribal affiliation and political power. It should not be confused with race or social class, e.g. members of different castes in one society may belong to the same race, as in India...

     or clan names (Pillai, Gounder, Goud, Gowda, Boyar, Parmar, Sindhi, Vaish, Reddy, Meena and Naidu) are not surnames but suffixes to first names to indicate their clan or caste.
  • Place names or names derived from places of ancestral origin (Aluru, Marwari, Gawaskar, Gaonkar, Mangeshkar, Kapoor, Wamankar, Kokradi
    Kokradi is a village in the Belthangadi Taluk of Dakshina Kannada of Karnataka State in India. The Indian Census of 2001 puts the number of households in Kokradi to be 235 . The total population is 1,167 with 554 males and 613 females. Kokradi is an agricultural village...

    , Karnad, Medukonduru, Rachapalli).
  • A few last names originate from names (Juthani)
  • The father's first name is used as a surname in certain Southern states, such as Kerala
    or Keralam is an Indian state located on the Malabar coast of south-west India. It was created on 1 November 1956 by the States Reorganisation Act by combining various Malayalam speaking regions....

    , Karnataka
    Karnataka , the land of the Kannadigas, is a state in South West India. It was created on 1 November 1956, with the passing of the States Reorganisation Act and this day is annually celebrated as Karnataka Rajyotsava...

     and Tamil Nadu
    Tamil Nadu
    Tamil Nadu is one of the 28 states of India. Its capital and largest city is Chennai. Tamil Nadu lies in the southernmost part of the Indian Peninsula and is bordered by the union territory of Pondicherry, and the states of Kerala, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh...

    . However, after the marriage the bride uses her husband's first name instead.
  • Muslim
    A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

     surnames generally follow the same rules used in Pakistan
    Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

    . Khan
    Khan (name)
    Khan is a surname and title of Central Asian origin, primarily found in Afghanistan, Baluchistan, Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan.- Origin :...

     is among the most popular surnames, often signifying Afghan
    Demographics of Afghanistan
    The population of Afghanistan is around 29,835,392 as of the year 2011, which is unclear if the refugees living outside the country are included or not. The nation is composed of a multi-ethnic and multi-lingual society, reflecting its location astride historic trade and invasion routes between...

    /Central Asian descent.
  • Bestowed titles or other honorifics: titles bestowed by kings, rajas, nawabs and other nobles before the British Raj (Wali, Rai, Rao, Tharakan, Panicker, Vallikappen, Moocken, etc.) and those bestowed by the British (Rai, Bahadur).
  • Names indicating nobility or feudal associations or honorifics (Chowdary, Naidu, Varma, Singh, Burman, Raja, Reddy
    Reddy is a social group or caste of India, predominantly inhabiting Andhra Pradesh. They are enlisted as a forward caste by the government. Traditionally, they are a high-caste community of nobility, warriors and cultivators. According to academics, they were a warrior caste in the remote past and...

    , Tagore
    Tagore is the name of a prominent Bengali family of intellectuals, writers and artists, generally known as the Tagore family.People - Jorasanko branch of the Tagore family...

    , Thakur
    Thakur (Indian title)
    Thakur is an Indian feudal title in several Indian languages, literally meaning "lord". A Thikana is the state or estate of a Thakur. A Thakurani is the wife of a Thakur...

    , Rana
    Rana (clan)
    Rana is a family name, originally a Hindu ancestry now found in all religions such as Islam, Sikhism, Buddhism etc. Rana is a surname used by the Rajputs of India, Pakistan and Nepal...

    , Kunwar)
  • Colonial Surnames based on tax or after religious conversion, particularly in Goa, which was under Portuguese control (D'Cruz, Pinto). Often, surnames of Portuguese noble families who were accepted as godparents were used as the surnames of the converted. Some families still keep their ancestral Hindu surnames along with their given Catholic Surnames e.g. Miranda-Prabhu and Pereira-Shenoy.
  • In Kerala
    or Keralam is an Indian state located on the Malabar coast of south-west India. It was created on 1 November 1956 by the States Reorganisation Act by combining various Malayalam speaking regions....

     the practice of using the house name before or after the given name is on the rise. For example Asin Thottumkal
    Asin Thottumkal
    Asin Thottumkal , known mononymously as Asin, is an Indian film actress, model and stage performer who acts primarily in Bollywood and Kollywood....

     - Asin is the given name while Thottumkal is the house name.

The convention is to write the first name followed by middle names and surname. It is common to use the father's first name as the middle name or last name even though it is not universal. In some Indian states like Maharashtra
Maharashtra is a state located in India. It is the second most populous after Uttar Pradesh and third largest state by area in India...

, official documents list the family name first, followed by a comma and the given names.

It is customary for wives to take the surname of their husband after marriage. In modern times, in urban areas at least, this practice is not universal. In some rural areas, particularly in North India, wives may also take a new first name after their nuptials. Children inherit their surnames from their father.

Jains generally use Jain, Shah
Shāh is the title of the ruler of certain Southwest Asian and Central Asian countries, especially Persia , and derives from the Persian word shah, meaning "king".-History:...

, Firodia, Singhal
Singhal surname has origins in Sanskrit which means leonine. The first use of the name came about during the rule of Emperor Agrasen and his wife Queen Madhavi . Agrasen established 18 Gotras for each of his 18 sons based on the names of their Guru and divided his empire among them...

 or Gupta as their last names.
Sikhs generally use the words Singh ("lion") and Kaur ("princess") as surnames added to the otherwise unisex first names of men and women, respectively. It is also common to use a different surname after Singh in which case Singh or Kaur are used as middle names (Montek Singh Ahluwalia
Montek Singh Ahluwalia
Montek Singh Ahluwalia is an Indian economist and civil servant. He is currently the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission of the Republic of India. He was previously the first Director of the Independent Evaluation Office at the International Monetary Fund.-Early life and education:Montek...

, Surinder Kaur Badal). The tenth Guru of Sikhism ordered (Hukamnama
A Hukamnama refers to a hymn from the Guru Granth Sahib which is given as an order to Sikhs or a historical order given by one of the Guru's of Sikhism....

) that any man who considered himself a Sikh must use Singh in his name and any woman who considered herself a Sikh must use Kaur in her name. Other middle names or honorifics that are sometimes used as surnames include Kumar, Dev, Lal, and Chand.

The modern-day spellings of names originated when families translated their surnames to English, with no standardization across the country. Variations are regional, based on how the name was translated from the local language to English in the 18th, 19th or 20th centuries during British rule. Therefore, it is understood in the local traditions that Agrawal and Aggarwal represent the same name derived from Uttar Pradesh and Punjab respectively. Similarly, Tagore derives from Bengal while Thakur is from Hindi-speaking areas. The officially recorded spellings tended to become the standard for that family. In the modern times, some states have attempted standardization, particularly where the surnames were corrupted because of the early British insistence of shortening them for convenience. Thus Bandopadhyay became Banerji, Mukhopadhay became Mukherji, Chattopadhyay became Chatterji, etc. This coupled with various other spelling variations created several surnames based on the original surnames. The West Bengal
West Bengal
West Bengal is a state in the eastern region of India and is the nation's fourth-most populous. It is also the seventh-most populous sub-national entity in the world, with over 91 million inhabitants. A major agricultural producer, West Bengal is the sixth-largest contributor to India's GDP...

 Government now insists on re-converting all the variations to their original form when the child is enrolled in school.

Some parts of Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka is a country off the southern coast of the Indian subcontinent. Known until 1972 as Ceylon , Sri Lanka is an island surrounded by the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait, and lies in the vicinity of India and the...

, Thailand
Thailand , officially the Kingdom of Thailand , formerly known as Siam , is a country located at the centre of the Indochina peninsula and Southeast Asia. It is bordered to the north by Burma and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the...

, Nepal
Nepal , officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is a landlocked sovereign state located in South Asia. It is located in the Himalayas and bordered to the north by the People's Republic of China, and to the south, east, and west by the Republic of India...

, Burma, and Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

 have similar patronymic customs to those of India.


Indonesians comprise more than 300 ethnic groups. Not all of these groups traditionally have surnames. Nonetheless, Indonesians are well aware of the custom of family names, which is known as marga or fam, and such names have become a specific kind of identifier. People can tell what a person's heritage is by his or her surname or clan name.
  • The various ethnicities of Batak people from North Sumatra are known for their strict tradition of preserving their family names, which are actually clan names. See Marga (Batak)
    Marga (Batak)
    Marga is a term in Batak societies referring to a clan name. The term is derived either from the Sanskrit varga, meaning company, party, or group, or, more likely, from the Sanskrit marga, meaning 'road, way or path', referring to a people of 'one origin'.Batak marga are patrilineal...

     for details.
  • The matrilineal clan names of the Minangkabau people are passed down from mothers to their children. Minangkabau is the largest matrilineal society in the world.
  • The Minahasan people of the North Sulawesi have an extensive list of surnames, such as Muntuan, Nayoan, Wenas and Luntungan.
  • Ambonese
    The Ambonese, also known as South Moluccans, are an Indonesian ethnic group of mixed Malay-Papuan origin. They are mostly Christians or Muslims. Ambonese are from Ambon Island in Maluku, an island group east of Sulawesi and north of Timor in Indonesia. The predominant language of the island is...

     people of the Maluku Islands have family names such as Lawalata, Matulessy and Latumahina.
  • The various ethnicities of the Dayak people
    Dayak people
    The Dayak or Dyak are the native people of Borneo. It is a loose term for over 200 riverine and hill-dwelling ethnic subgroups, located principally in the interior of Borneo, each with its own dialect, customs, laws, territory and culture, although common distinguishing traits are readily...

     from the provinces in Kalimantan
    In English, the term Kalimantan refers to the Indonesian portion of the island of Borneo, while in Indonesian, the term "Kalimantan" refers to the whole island of Borneo....

     have names such as Dau and Narang.
  • The Bugis
    The Bugis are the most numerous of the three major linguistic and ethnic groups of South Sulawesi, the southwestern province of Sulawesi, Indonesia's third largest island. Although many Bugis live in the large port cities of Makassar and Parepare, the majority are farmers who grow wet rice on the...

     people from South Sulawesi have surnames such as Mappanyukki, Mallarangeng and Matalatta.
  • Among the Toraja
    The Toraja are an ethnic group indigenous to a mountainous region of South Sulawesi, Indonesia. Their population is approximately 650,000, of which 450,000 still live in the regency of Tana Toraja . Most of the population is Christian, and others are Muslim or have local animist beliefs known as aluk...

     people of South Sulawesi, common surname elements include Rante–, Pong–, Allo–, –bua, –linggi. Examples: Rantedatu, Ranteallo, Pongrambu, Pongtiku, Pongrangga, Allodatu, Randebua, Tanabua, Tarukbua, Datubua, Allobua, Senolinggi.

Javanese people are the majority in Indonesia, and most do not have any surname. There are many individuals who have only one name, such as "Suharto" and "Sukarno
Sukarno, born Kusno Sosrodihardjo was the first President of Indonesia.Sukarno was the leader of his country's struggle for independence from the Netherlands and was Indonesia's first President from 1945 to 1967...

". These are not only common with the Javanese but also with other Indonesian ethnic groups who do not have the tradition of surnames. If, however, they are Muslims, they might opt to follow Arabic naming
Arabic name
Long ago, Arabic names were based on a long naming system; most Arabs did not simply have given/middle/family names, but a full chain of names. This system was in use throughout the Arab world. Today however, Arabic names are similar in structure to those of Modern and Western names...


Most Chinese Indonesian
Chinese Indonesian
Chinese Indonesians, also called the Indonesian Chinese, are an overseas Chinese group whose ancestors emigrated from China to Indonesia, formerly a colony of the Netherlands known as the Dutch East Indies...

s substituted their Chinese surnames with Indonesian-sounding surnames due to political pressure from 1965 to 1998 under Suharto's regime.

Ireland, Isle of Man, and Scotland

Many surnames in Ireland of Gaelic
Goidelic languages
The Goidelic languages or Gaelic languages are one of the two branches of the Insular Celtic languages, the other consisting of the Brythonic languages. Goidelic languages historically formed a dialect continuum stretching from the south of Ireland through the Isle of Man to the north of Scotland...

 origin derive from ancestors' names, nicknames, or descriptive names. In the first group can be placed surnames such as McMurrough and McCarthy, derived from patronymics, or O'Brien and O'Grady, derived from ancestral names.

Gaelic surnames derived from nicknames include Ó Dubhda
Dowd is a derivation of an ancient surname which was once common in Ireland but is now quite rare. The name Dowd is an Anglicisation of the original Ui Dubhda, through its more common form O'Dowd. The Ui Dubhda are one of the Clann Ui Fiachrach, one of the major families of Irish clans.- People :*...

(from Aedh ua Dubhda—Aedh, the dark one), O'Doherty
The Doherty family is an Irish clan based in County Donegal in the north of the island of Ireland.Like clans in other cultures, Irish clans such as the Dohertys are divided into many septs and regional families...

(from dochartaigh, "destroyer" or "obtrusive"), Garvery (garbh, "rough" or "nasty"), Manton (mantach, "toothless"), Bane (bán, "white", as in "white hair"), Finn (fionn, "fair", as in "fair hair") and Kennedy ("cennedie", as in "ugly head")

Very few Gaelic surnames are derived from placenames or venerated people/objects. Among those that are included in this small group, several can be shown to be derivations of Gaelic personal names or surnames. One notable exception is Ó Cuilleáin or O'Collins
O'Collins is a common anglicized surname of two ancient families of Irish origin: O'Cuilleain and O'Coilean.- Origin of O'Cuilleain : O'Cuilleain is an extremely ancient Irish name from Gaelic cuileann and primitive Gaelic cuilieann meaning Holly...

 (from cuileann, "Holly
Ilex) is a genus of 400 to 600 species of flowering plants in the family Aquifoliaceae, and the only living genus in that family. The species are evergreen and deciduous trees, shrubs, and climbers from tropics to temperate zones world wide....

") as in the Holly Tree, considered one of the most sacred objects of pre-Christian Celtic culture. Another is Walsh , meaning Welsh
Welsh people
The Welsh people are an ethnic group and nation associated with Wales and the Welsh language.John Davies argues that the origin of the "Welsh nation" can be traced to the late 4th and early 5th centuries, following the Roman departure from Britain, although Brythonic Celtic languages seem to have...


In areas where certain family names are extremely common, extra names are added that sometimes follow this archaic pattern. In Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

, for example, where Murphy is an exceedingly common name, particular Murphy families or extended families are nicknamed, so that Denis Murphy
Denis Murphy (Irish musician)
Denis Murphy was an Irish fiddler and noted traditional musician.Murphy was born in Lisheen, Gneeveguilla, County Kerry one of eight children of Bill and Mainie Murphy. His father played fife, flute and fiddle and had a fife and drum band. It was a house where music was played a lot with...

's family were called The Weavers and Denis himself was called Denis "The Weaver" Murphy. (See also O'Hay.)

For much the same reason, nicknames (e.g. the Fada Burkes, "the long/tall Burkes"), father's names (e.g. John Morrissey Ned) or mother's maiden name (Kennedy becoming Kennedy-Lydon) can become colloquial or legal surnames. The Irish family of de Courcy descends from Anglo-Normans who came to Ireland following the Norman Conquest. (The name is of French derivation, and indicates that the family once held a manor of that name in Normandy.) The de Courcy family was prominent in County Cork from the earliest days of the Norman occupation and subsequently became prominent in Ireland.

In addition to all this, Irish-speaking areas still follow the old tradition of naming themselves after their father, grandfather, great-grandfather and so on. Examples include Mike Bartly Pat Reilly ("Mike, son of Bartholomew, son of Pat Reilly"), John Michel John Oge Pat Breanach ("John, son of Michael, son of young John, son of Pat Breanach"), Tom Paddy-Joe Seoige ("Tom, son of Paddy-Joe Seoige"), and Mary Bartly Mike Walsh ("Mary, daughter of Bartly, son of Mike Walsh"). Sometimes, the female line of the family is used, depending on how well the parent is known in the area the person resides in, e.g. Paddy Mary John ("Paddy, son of Mary, daughter of John"). A similar tradition continues even in English-speaking areas, especially in rural districts.

Surname prefixes

  • Bean: "Wife", pronounced bæn̺.
  • De: "of the": a Norman-French
    Norman language
    Norman is a Romance language and one of the Oïl languages. Norman can be classified as one of the northern Oïl languages along with Picard and Walloon...

     habitational prefix used by some of the most common Irish surnames among which are De Búrca, De Brún, De Barra, De Cíosóg, Devane and de Faoite. 'De' historically has signaled ownership of lands and was traditionally therefore a mark of prestige.
  • Mac: for most purposes, taken to mean "son of", as in Mac Néill (son of Neil). However, literally, the "of" part does not come from the "Mac" prefix but from the patronymic that follows it. E.g., in the case of MacNéill, Mac merely means "son"; "Néill" (meaning "of Neil") is the genitive form of Niall ("Neil"). In some cases if the second word begins with a vowel, Mac then becomes Mag, as in Mag Eocháin. Also "M'c and Mic" (Watery Descendent)
  • Mhic: vɪkʲ. Compressed form of bean mhic ("wife of the son of") e.g. Máire Mhic Néill (Máire, the wife of Mac Néill). This is the grammatically correct form of the prefix Mac always taken by a woman after marriage (i.e. a woman marrying someone of the surname Mac Néill would become Mhic Néill). Mhig (also pronounced [vɪkʲ]) is used similarly to Mag in some cases (e.g. Mag Shamhráin/Mhig Shamhráin).
  • Maol: In Pagan times this was expressed as Mug, as in the case of Mug Nuadat
    Mug Nuadat
    In Irish mythological history Mug Nuadat was a legendary, supposed King of Munster in the 2nd century AD. He was, according to later medieval tradition, a rival of the High King, Conn of the Hundred Battles and for a time after the year 123 was the de facto ruler of the southern half of Ireland...

    . The literal expression of this is "slave of Nuada", i.e. "devotee of Nuada". In the Christian
    A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

     era the word Mael was used in its place for given names such as Mael Bridget, Mael Padraig, Mael Lagan, Mael Sechlainn, and Mael Martain. In later times, some of these given names evolved into surnames, e.g. Ó Máel Sechlainn and Mac Mael Martain or Mael Lagan, which became after the 15th Century the name Milligan
    Milligan (disambiguation)
    Milligan is a surname of Scottish origin. It may refer to:* Alice Milligan , Irish nationalist and poet* Andy Milligan , American playwright, screenwriter, and film director...

  • Fitz: a Norman-French word derived from the Latin
    Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

     word filius ("son"). It was used in patronymics by thousands of men in the early Norman period in Ireland (e.g. fitz Stephen, fitz Richard, fitz Robert, fitz William) and only on some occasions did it become used as an actual surname, the most famous example being the FitzGerald
    The surname FitzGerald is a translation of the French-Norman fils de Gérald, or son of Gerald . Variant spellings include Fitz-Gerald and the modern Fitzgerald. The name can also be used as two separate words Fitz Gerald...

    Earls of Kildare. Yet well into the 17th and 18th century it was used in certain areas dominated by the Hiberno-Norman
    The Hiberno-Normans are those Norman lords who settled in Ireland who admitted little if any real fealty to the Anglo-Norman settlers in England, and who soon began to interact and intermarry with the Gaelic nobility of Ireland. The term embraces both their origins as a distinct community with...

     of Ireland in its original form, as a patronymic. The Tribes of Galway were especially good at conserving this form, with examples such as John fitz John Bodkin and Michael Lynch fitz Arthur, used even as late as the early 19th century. A number of illegitimate descendents of the British royal family were given surnames with this element: some of the illegitimate children of King Charles II
    Charles II of England
    Charles II was monarch of the three kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland.Charles II's father, King Charles I, was executed at Whitehall on 30 January 1649, at the climax of the English Civil War...

     were named FitzCharles or FitzRoy ("son of the King"); those of King James II
    James II of England
    James II & VII was King of England and King of Ireland as James II and King of Scotland as James VII, from 6 February 1685. He was the last Catholic monarch to reign over the Kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland...

     were named FitzJames; those of Prince William, Duke of Clarence and St Andrews
    William IV of the United Kingdom
    William IV was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and of Hanover from 26 June 1830 until his death...

     (later King William IV) were named FitzClarence. Note that "Fitzpatrick" is not Norman: it is actually a Normanisation of the Gaelic surname Mac Ghiolla Phádraig.
  • Ó: In Old Irish as ua ("grandson", "descendant"). E.g., the ancestor of the O'Brien
    The O'Brien dynasty are a royal and noble house founded in the 10th century by Brian Boru of the Dál gCais or Dalcassians. After becoming King of Munster, through conquest he established himself as High King of Ireland...

    A clan is a group of people united by actual or perceived kinship and descent. Even if lineage details are unknown, clan members may be organized around a founding member or apical ancestor. The kinship-based bonds may be symbolical, whereby the clan shares a "stipulated" common ancestor that is a...

    , Brian Boru
    Brian Boru
    Brian Bóruma mac Cennétig, , , was an Irish king who ended the domination of the High Kingship of Ireland by the Uí Néill. Building on the achievements of his father, Cennétig mac Lorcain, and especially his elder brother, Mathgamain, Brian first made himself King of Munster, then subjugated...

     (937-1014) was known in his lifetime as Brian mac Cennéide mac Lorcán ("Brian, the son of Cennéide, the son of Lorcán "). Not until the time of his grandsons and great-grandsons was the name O'Brien used as a surname, used to denote descent from an illustrious ancestor
    An ancestor is a parent or the parent of an ancestor ....

    . It has for some three hundred years been written as O, but in recent years the apostrophe is often dropped, bringing it into line with early medieval forms. The apostrophe came into existence as an error by the English, when in the process of anglicizing the surnames in Ireland, mistakenly recognized the accent above the O as an apostrophe.
  • : This is the plural of Ó and is used in reference to a kin-group or clan, e.g. Uí Néill, in reference to the O'Neill clan. It is pronounced [i].
  • : This is used for women instead of Ó before a surname and comes a shortened form of the Irish word for a daughter, e.g. Máire Ní Bhriain ("Mary O'Brien").
  • Nic: This is used for women instead of Mac, but only if this is their maiden name, never their married name. Compressed form of iníon mhic ("daughter of the son of/Mac…"), e.g. Máire Nic Charthaigh ("Mary, daughter of McCarthy"). Nig nɪkʲ is used in cases where the surname uses Mag e.g. Nig Shamhráin.


Most Persian (Iranian) last names have the following affixes:

-i (of), -zad and -zadeh (born of), -pur (son of), -nejad (from the race of), -nia (descendant of), -mand, -vand, -far (holder of), -doost (friend), -khah (seeking of), -mannesh, -ian/-yan and -chi (usually referring to a vocation, e.g. Kaghazchi, as a dealer in paper and paper products).

Sometimes names of geographical locations are attached as the last word in the family name such as:
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

i, Tehran
Tehran , sometimes spelled Teheran, is the capital of Iran and Tehran Province. With an estimated population of 8,429,807; it is also Iran's largest urban area and city, one of the largest cities in Western Asia, and is the world's 19th largest city.In the 20th century, Tehran was subject to...

i, Shiraz
Shiraz may refer to:* Shiraz, Iran, a city in Iran* Shiraz County, an administrative subdivision of Iran* Vosketap, Armenia, formerly called ShirazPeople:* Hovhannes Shiraz, Armenian poet* Ara Shiraz, Armenian sculptor...

i, Esfahani, Tabriz
Tabriz is the fourth largest city and one of the historical capitals of Iran and the capital of East Azerbaijan Province. Situated at an altitude of 1,350 meters at the junction of the Quri River and Aji River, it was the second largest city in Iran until the late 1960s, one of its former...

i, Bakhtiar, Sistan
Sīstān is a border region in eastern Iran , southwestern Afghanistan and northern tip of Southwestern Pakistan .-Etymology:...

i, Farsi, Khorasani, Kordestani, Kerman
- Geological characteristics :For the Iranian paleontologists, Kerman has always been considered a fossil paradise. Finding new dinosaur footprints in 2005 has now revealed new hopes for paleontologists to better understand the history of this area.- Economy :...


Last names could also be indicative of belonging to particular religious minorities such as Zoroastrian
Zoroastrians in Iran
Zoroastrians in Iran are the oldest religious community of the nation, with a long history continuing up to the present day.Prior to the Islamization of Iran, Zoroastrianism was the primary religion of the Iranian peoples...

 (Goshtaspi, Zartoshti, Namiranian, Shahzadi, Azargoshasp, Khorshidi), Jewish
Persian Jews
Persian Jews , are Jews historically associated with Iran, traditionally known as Persia in Western sources.Judaism is one of the oldest religions practiced in Iran. The Book of Esther contains some references to the experiences of Jews in Persia...

 (Yaghybian [Jacobean], Hayyem [Life], Shaul [Saul]); or belonging to particular non-Persian ethnicities such as Armenians
Armenian people or Armenians are a nation and ethnic group native to the Armenian Highland.The largest concentration is in Armenia having a nearly-homogeneous population with 97.9% or 3,145,354 being ethnic Armenian....

, Assyrians
Assyrian people
The Assyrian people are a distinct ethnic group whose origins lie in ancient Mesopotamia...

, Arab
Arab people, also known as Arabs , are a panethnicity primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds, with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing...

s, etc.

Many last names that end in "-ian" (or sometimes "-yan") are traditionally Persian last names (though this is also common in Armenian last names). Some common Iranian last names—some purely Persian, others a compound of non-Persian words with a Persian suffix: Afshar
Afsharid dynasty
The Afsharids were members of an Iranian dynasty of Turkmen origin from Khorasan who ruled Persia in the 18th century. The dynasty was founded in 1736 by the military commander Nader Shah who deposed the last member of the Safavid dynasty and proclaimed himself King of Iran. During Nader's reign,...

, Aghassi
Agassi is a surname most prevalent among Iranians, and may refer to:* Andre Agassi , tennis player* Emmanuel B. "Mike" Agassi , Assyrian-Armenian boxer from Iran; father of Andre Agassi* Joseph Agassi , Israeli academic...

, Alaghebandian (meaning "dealer in beads", plus the -ian suffix), Alizadeh, Amanpour
Christiane Amanpour
Christiane Amanpour, CBE is anchor of ABC News's This Week and formerly chief international correspondent at CNN, where she worked for 27 years. She is a Board Member at the IWMF .-Early years:...

, Ansari
Anousheh Ansari
Anousheh Ansari is an engineer and the Iranian-American co-founder and chairman of Prodea Systems. Her previous business accomplishments include serving as co-founder and CEO of Telecom Technologies, Inc. . The Ansari family is also the title sponsor of the Ansari X Prize. On September 18, 2006,...

, Arianpur, Amouzgar; Bahar, Bahrami, Bolurfrushan, Bozorgi; Dadgar
Khosrau I
Khosrau I , also known as Anushiravan the Just or Anushirawan the Just Khosrau I (also called Chosroes I in classical sources, most commonly known in Persian as Anushirvan or Anushirwan, Persian: انوشيروان meaning the immortal soul), also known as Anushiravan the Just or Anushirawan the Just...

, Dashti
Ali Dashti
Ali Dashti was an Iranian rationalist of the twentieth century. Dashti was also an Iranian senator.-Life:...

, Davoodi; Ebadi
Shirin Ebadi
Shirin Ebadi is an Iranian lawyer, a former judge and human rights activist and founder of Defenders of Human Rights Center in Iran. On 10 October 2003, Ebadi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her significant and pioneering efforts for democracy and human rights, especially women's,...

, Emami, Esfahani; Farahani
Ghaem Magham Farahani
Mirza Abolghasem Ghaem Magham Farahani or Mirza Abu'l-Qasim Farahani Qá'im Maqam was an Iranian Prime Minister in the early 19th century....

, Farshchi, Farshchian (example of the combination of both -chi and -ian suffixes), Farooqui, Farzamfar, Ferdowsi
Ferdowsi was a highly revered Persian poet. He was the author of the Shahnameh, the national epic of Iran and related societies.The Shahnameh was originally composed by Ferdowsi for the princes of the Samanid dynasty, who were responsible for a revival of Persian cultural traditions after the...

; Ghassemi, Golzar, Golshani; Heidari, Homayuni, Hosseini; Irani, Irandust, Imanpour; Jamalzadeh, Javaheri, Jenab; Kaghazchi, Ketabchi, Khayyam
Omar Khayyám
Omar Khayyám was aPersian polymath: philosopher, mathematician, astronomer and poet. He also wrote treatises on mechanics, geography, mineralogy, music, climatology and theology....

, Kashani
Kashani often shortened to Kashi or al-Kashi is a surname meaning a person who comes from Kashan, Iran. It may refer to:-People:*Abbas Hosseini Kashani , Iranian Grand Ayatollah...

, Loqmani, Langarani, Lohrasebi; Mahdipur, Mehrandish, Milani
Milani is a surname and may refer to:*Abbas Milani , Iranian-American historian*Aureliano Milani , Italian painter*Aurelio Milani , Italian footballer*Leyla Milani , Canadian actress...

, Molavi, Mousavi; Nadooshan, Najafi, Nezami; Omid, Oveisi, Ostovar; Paydar, Peyman, Piroozi
Peroz I
Peroz I Peroz I Peroz I (also Pirooz; Peirozes (Priscus, fr. 33); Perozes (Procopius, De Bello Pers. I. 3 and Agathias iv. 27; the modern form of the name is Perooz, Piruz, or the Arabized Ferooz, Firuz; Persian: پیروز "the Victor"), was the seventeenth Sassanid King of Persia, who ruled from 457...

; Qahremani, Qoreishi, Qorbani; Rahimi, Rostami, Rezazadeh
Hossein Rezazadeh
Hossein Rezazadeh is an Iranian former world and double Olympic champion in Olympic weightlifting. He is also a world record holder in the clean and jerk and considered as one of the greatest weightlifters of all time.- Career :...

; Sadi
Saadi (poet)
Abū-Muḥammad Muṣliḥ al-Dīn bin Abdallāh Shīrāzī better known by his pen-name as Saʿdī or, simply, Saadi, was one of the major Persian poets of the medieval period. He is not only famous in Persian-speaking countries, but he has also been quoted in western sources...

, Sattari, Safavi
Safavid dynasty
The Safavid dynasty was one of the most significant ruling dynasties of Iran. They ruled one of the greatest Persian empires since the Muslim conquest of Persia and established the Twelver school of Shi'a Islam as the official religion of their empire, marking one of the most important turning...

, Shalchi; Tabatabaei, Tahmasbi, Teymourian; Vahabzadeh, Varzandeh, Varamini; Yadegar, Yaghoubi, Yazdani
Yazdani is a Indo-Aryan word meaning divine. It refers also to an ancient religious cult still present today among the Yezidi/Yarsani/Alevi Kurds. In Iran, People with this surname are mainly from the city of Yazdan in central Iran in the Isfahan province...

; Zahedi
Fazlollah Zahedi
Mohammad Fazlollah Zahedi was an Iranian general and statesman who replaced democratically elected Iranian Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadeq through a western-backed coup d'état, in which he played a major role.-Early years:Born in Hamedan in 1897, Fazlollah Zahedi was the son of Abol Hassan...

, Zand
Zand tribe
The Zand tribe are a tribe of Fayli of Lorestan, most known for their member, Muhammad Karim Khan Zand, who become the Regent of Southern Persia for Ismail III in 1750. After Zand's death in 1779, internal conflicts for his succession resulted in a weakening of the dynasty, ending with the defeat...

 and Zarafshan.

Also the ending "-stan", which is a Persian noun-maker suffix, from the Persian word Ostan
Provinces of Iran
Iran is subdivided into thirty one provinces , each governed from a local center, usually the largest local city, which is called the capital of that province...

 meaning "land" or "province". Today the name of a number of countries contain this suffix, since they were once part of the Persian Empire, such as Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

, Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan , officially the Republic of Uzbekistan is a doubly landlocked country in Central Asia and one of the six independent Turkic states. It shares borders with Kazakhstan to the west and to the north, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to the east, and Afghanistan and Turkmenistan to the south....

, Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan , formerly also known as Turkmenia is one of the Turkic states in Central Asia. Until 1991, it was a constituent republic of the Soviet Union, the Turkmen Soviet Socialist Republic . Turkmenistan is one of the six independent Turkic states...

, Tajikistan
Tajikistan , officially the Republic of Tajikistan , is a mountainous landlocked country in Central Asia. Afghanistan borders it to the south, Uzbekistan to the west, Kyrgyzstan to the north, and China to the east....


According to Iranian tradition, the wife never takes her husband's surname, unlike many countries in the world.


Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 has around 350,000 surnames. Most of them derive from the following sources: patronym or ilk (e.g. Francesco Di Marco, "Francis, son of Mark" or Eduardo De Filippo
Eduardo De Filippo
Eduardo De Filippo was an Italian actor, playwright, screenwriter, author and poet, best known for his Neapolitan works Filumena Marturano and Napoli Milionaria.-Biography:...

, "Edward belonging to the family of Philip"), occupation (e.g. Enzo Ferrari
Enzo Ferrari
Enzo Anselmo Ferrari Cavaliere di Gran Croce OMRI was an Italian race car driver and entrepreneur, the founder of the Scuderia Ferrari Grand Prix motor racing team, and subsequently of the Ferrari car manufacturer...

, "Enzo the Smiths"), personal characteristic (e.g. nicknames or pet names like Dario Forte, "Darius the Strong"), geographic origin (e.g. Elisabetta Romano, "Elisabeth from Rome") and objects (e.g. Carlo Sacchi, "Charles Bags"). The two most common Italian family names, Russo and Rossi, mean the same thing, "Red", possibly referring to a hair color that would have been very distinctive in Italy.

Both Western and Eastern orders are used for full names: the given name usually comes first, but the family name may come first in formal or administrative settings; lists are usually indexed according to the last name.

Since 1975, women have kept their own surname when married, but since recently (2000) they could have added the surname of the husband according to the civil code, although it was a very seldom-used practice. In recent years, the husband's surname cannot be used in any official situation. In some unofficial situations, sometimes both surnames are written (the proper first), sometimes separated by in (e.g. Giuseppina Mauri in Crivelli) or, in case of widows, ved. (vedova).


Latvian male surnames usually end in -s, or -is whereas the female versions of the same names end in -a or -e in both unmarried and married women. Before the emancipation from serfdom (1817 in Courland
Courland is one of the historical and cultural regions of Latvia. The regions of Semigallia and Selonia are sometimes considered as part of Courland.- Geography and climate :...

, 1819 in Vidzeme
Vidzeme is one of the historical and cultural regions of Latvia. Literally meaning "the Middle Land" it is situated in north-central Latvia north of the Daugava River...

, 1861 in Latgale
Latgale is one of the four historical and cultural regions of Latvia recognised in the Constitution of the Latvian Republic. It is the easternmost region north of the Daugava River...

) only noblemen, free craftsmen or people living in towns had surnames. Therefore the oldest Latvian surnames originate from German or Low German, reflecting the dominance of German as an official language in Latvia till the 19th century. Examples: Meijers/Meijere (German: Meier, farm administrator; akin to Mayor), Millers/Millere (German: Müller, miller), Šmits/Šmite (German: Schmidt, smith), Šulcs/Šulca (German: Schulze, constable), Ulmanis (German: Ullmann, a person from Ulm
Ulm is a city in the federal German state of Baden-Württemberg, situated on the River Danube. The city, whose population is estimated at 120,000 , forms an urban district of its own and is the administrative seat of the Alb-Donau district. Ulm, founded around 850, is rich in history and...

), Godmanis (a God-man), Pētersons (son of Peter). Some Latvian surnames, mainly from Latgale are of Polish or Belorussian origin by changing the final -ski/-cki to -skis/-ckis, -czyk to -čiks or -vich/-wicz to -vičs, such as Sokolovkis/Sokolovska, Baldunčiks/Baldunčika or Ratkevičs/Ratkeviča. Most Latvian peasants received their surnames in 1826 (in Vidzeme
Vidzeme is one of the historical and cultural regions of Latvia. Literally meaning "the Middle Land" it is situated in north-central Latvia north of the Daugava River...

), in 1835 (in Courland
Courland is one of the historical and cultural regions of Latvia. The regions of Semigallia and Selonia are sometimes considered as part of Courland.- Geography and climate :...

), and in 1866 (in Latgale
Latgale is one of the four historical and cultural regions of Latvia recognised in the Constitution of the Latvian Republic. It is the easternmost region north of the Daugava River...

). Diminutives were the most common form of family names. Examples: Kalniņš/Kalniņa (small hill), Bērziņš/Bērziņa (small birch). Nowadays many Latvians have surnames of Russian or Ukrainian origin, for example Volkovs/Volkova or Antoņenko.


Libya's names and surnames have a strong Islamic/Arab nature with some influence from Ottoman Empire rule of nearly 400 years.
Amazigh, Touareg and other minorities also have their own name/surname traditions.
Due to its location as a trade route and the different cultures that had their impact on Libya throughout history, one can find names that could have originated in neighboring countries.

Arabic surnames similar to those found in the Arab peninsula that usually refer to a clan;
names derived from the Ottoman Empire Army who come from different countries ruled by the Empire.
Examples: names that sound Turkish, usually carrying a symbol of military rank or status, such as Basha and Agha
>>> more input required


Lithuanian names follow the Baltic distinction between male and female suffixes of names, although the details are different. Male surnames usually end in -a, -as, -aitis, -ys, -ius, or -us, whereas the female versions change these suffixes to -aitė, -ytė, -iūtė, and -utė respectively (if unmarried) or -ienė (if married). Some Lithuanians have names of Polish or another Slavic origin, which are made to conform to Lithuanian by changing the final -ski to -skas, such as Sadauskas, with the female version being -skienė.


Different cultures have their impact on the demographics of the Maltese islands, and this is evident in the various surnames Maltese citizens bear nowadays. There are very few Maltese surnames per se: the few that originate from Maltese places of origin include Chircop (Kirkop
Ħal Kirkop is a small village in the south of Malta. It is found near the Malta International Airport and this settlement has a rich history, that of even Punic times. The parish church is dedicated to St. Leonard. Apart from the feast of St. Leonard, a secondary big feast of St. Joseph is...

), Lia (Lija
Lija is a small village on the island of Malta. It forms part of the Three villages of Malta, along with Attard and Balzan. Lija has a baroque parish church and seven other small chapels...

), Balzan (Balzan
Ħal Balzan is small village in Malta, one of the so called three villages, together with Attard and Lija.The village originally consisted of a group of small dwellings and farms but eventually grew, becoming a parish in the 17th century...

), Valletta (Valletta
Valletta is the capital of Malta, colloquially known as Il-Belt in Maltese. It is located in the central-eastern portion of the island of Malta, and the historical city has a population of 6,098. The name "Valletta" is traditionally reserved for the historic walled citadel that serves as Malta's...

), and Sciberras (Xebb ir-Ras Hill, on which Valletta was built). The village of Munxar
Munxar or Il-Munxar is a village which lies on the southern side of Gozo Island, Malta, close to the village of Sannat. It has its own local village council...

, Gozo
Gozo is a small island of the Maltese archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea. The island is part of the Southern European country of Malta; after the island of Malta itself, it is the second-largest island in the archipelago...

 is characterised by the majority of its population having one of two surnames, either Curmi or de Brincat. In Gozo, the surnames Bajada and Farrugia are also common.
  • Sicilian
    Sicilian language
    Sicilian is a Romance language. Its dialects make up the Extreme-Southern Italian language group, which are spoken on the island of Sicily and its satellite islands; in southern and central Calabria ; in the southern parts of Apulia, the Salento ; and Campania, on the Italian mainland, where it is...

     and Italian surnames

Sicilian and Italian surnames are common due to the close vicinity to Malta. Sicilian Italians were the first to colonise the Maltese islands. Common examples include Bonello, Cauchi, Farrugia
Farrugia is a family name with a theoretical etymology based in both Latin fellus and Semitic faruj, first found in Malta, Calabria and Sicily. In the Maltese language the word farruġ refers to a cockerel . It has been exported by immigration to places including the United States, United Kingdom ,...

, Gauci
Gauci is a surname found mainly in Malta. According to the Dictionary of American Family Names, it originated in Italy, flourished in Malta and from Malta spread to the UK, US, Canada and Australia together with the Maltese diaspora; this would be due to the immigration of large numbers of people...

, Rizzo, Schembri
Schembri is an Italian/Maltese surname and may refer to:*Andre Schembri , footballer who plays for Hungarian top league team Ferencvarosi TC*Antonio Schembri ornithologist...

, Tabone, Vassallo.
  • French
    French language
    French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...


Common examples include Depuis, Montfort, Monsenuier.
  • English
    English language
    English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...


English surnames exist for a number of reasons, but mainly due to migration as well as Malta forming a part of the British Empire in the 19th century and most of the 20th. Common examples include Bone, Harding, Atkins, Mattocks, Smith, Jones, Woods, Turner.
  • Sicilian Arabic
    Siculo-Arabic was a variety of Arabic spoken in Sicily and Malta between the ninth and the fourteenth centuries. It is extinct in Sicily, but it has developed into what is now the Maltese language on the islands of Malta....


Arabic surnames occur in part due to the early presence of the Arabs in Malta. Common examples include Sammut, Camilleri, Zammit, and Xuereb.
  • Spanish
    Spanish language
    Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...


Common surnames of Spanish origin include Galdes, Herrera, and Guzman.
Another surname that appears to owe its heritage to Spain is Calleja, although Giovanni Francesco Abela, the father of Maltese history, has hypothesised that the surname is either of Greek origin or of Italian/Sicilian origin.
  • German
    German language
    German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....


Surnames from foreign countries from the Middle Ages include German,

such as von Brockdorff, Hyzler, and Schranz.
  • Greek
    Greek language
    Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...


Much less common, but examples include Dacoutros, and Trakosopoulos
  • Jewish surnames

The Jews have also left a relic of their presence on the island with the surnames of Abela, Ellul, Azzopardi
Azzopardi is a Maltese surname presumed to be derived from the word Safardi. "Sephardi" refers to the Sephardic Jews, who are a subgroup of Jews that originated in modern-day Spain and Portugal and parts of North Africa. The Azzopardi families of Malta probably have their origin in Spain...

and Cohen.
  • Customs

In line with the practice in other Christian, European states, women generally assume their husband's surname after legal marriage, and this is passed on to any children the couple may bear. Some women opt to retain their old name, for professional/personal reasons, or combine their surname with that of their husband.


Mongolians do not use surnames in the way that most Westerners, Chinese or Japanese do. Since the socialist period, patronymics - then called ovog, now called etsgiin ner - are used instead of a surname. If the father's name is unknown, a matronymic is used. The patro- or matronymic is written before the given name. Therefore, if a man with given name Tsakhia has a son, and gives the son the name Elbegdorj, the son's full name is Tsakhia Elbegdorj. Very frequently, the patronymic is given in genitive case, i.e. Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj. However, the patronymic is rather insignificant in everyday use and usually just given as an initial - Ts. Elbegdorj. People are normally just referred to and addressed by their given name (Elbegdorj guai - Mr. Elbegdorj), and if two people share a common given name, they are usually just kept apart by their initials, not by the full patronymic.

Since 2000, Mongolians have been officially using clan names - ovog, the same word that had been used for the patronymics before - on their IDs. Many people chose the names of the ancient clans and tribes such Borjigin
Borjigin , also known as the Altan urug , were the imperial clan of Genghis Khan and his successors....

, Besud, Jalair, etc. Also many extended families chose the names of the native places of their ancestors. Some chose the names of their most ancient known ancestor. Some just decided to pass their own given names (or modifications of their given names) to their descendants as clan names. Some chose other attributes of their lives as surnames. Gürragchaa chose Sansar (Cosmos). Clan names precede the patronymics and given names, e.g. Besud Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj. In practice, these clan names seem to have had no really significant effect, and are not even included in Mongolian passports.

Myanmar (Burma)

People from Myanmar or Burmese, have no family names. This, to some, is the only known Asian people having no family names at all. Some of those from Myanmar or Burma, who are familiar with European or American cultures, began to put to their younger generations with a family name - adopted from the notable ancestors. For example, Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi is the daughter of the late Father of Independence General Aung San; Ms. Hemar Ne Win, is the daughter of the famous actor Colleague gin Ne Win etc.


Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

i surnames are basically divided in three categories: Arab naming convention
Pakistani name
In Pakistan, as in other Muslim countries, the use of family names is not as prominent as in Western countries. The majority of Pakistani names are derived from Arabic, Turkish, Pashto, Persian and Urdu origin. As most Pakistanis are Muslims, all of them use either Urdu, Arabic, Afghan, Persian or...

, tribal names and ancestral names.

Family names indicating Arab
Arab people, also known as Arabs , are a panethnicity primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds, with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing...

 ancestry, e.g. Shaikh, Siddiqui
Siddiqui, is a Muslim family name, found in the South Asia and the Middle East. Shaikh is an additional title used occasionally by Siddiqui/Siddique to signify their Arab heritage...

, Abbasi
Abbasi is a prominent Islamic family name. - Origin :The Abbasid caliphate was founded by the descendants of the Islamic prophet Muhammad's youngest uncle, Abbas ibn Abd al-Muttalib, in Harran in 750 CE and shifted its capital in 762 to Baghdad...

, Syed
Syed is a masculine given name derived from the title Sayyid, it is not to be confused with the similar looking name Sayid...

, Bukhari
Bukhari (nesbat)
Bukhari , also spelled as Bokhari, Bukhary and Bukhori, is a common surname in Central and Western Asia, meaning "from Bukhara" . Its Arabic version Al-Bukhari was also used in the medieval Islamic world as a nisbat . The most known Al-Bukhari is Muhammad Ibn Ismail al-Bukhari...

, Zaidi, Naqvi, Farooqi
Farooqui , is a distinctt name or surname or last name.- Origin :...

, Osmani
Usmani or Osmani or Othmani or Uthmani is a large community , found mainly in South Asia. The word Usmani or Osmani is a surname adopted mainly by two castes in India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.-Sheikh Usmani:The Shaikh Usmani are a Urdu speaking community, and many are found among the...

, Alavi, Hassani, Husseini
Husseini is an Arabic surname.-Etymology:It is a nisba derivation of the given name Hussein...

, and Suhrawardi.

People claiming Afghan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

 ancestry include those with family names Siddiqui
Siddiqui, is a Muslim family name, found in the South Asia and the Middle East. Shaikh is an additional title used occasionally by Siddiqui/Siddique to signify their Arab heritage...

, Suri
Suri (Pashtun)
Sur or Soor is one of the historical names of the Afghan tribes, they are now found primarily among the Pashtun people in Afghanistan and Pakistan. They claim to be descendants of Mohammad Sur, one of the princes of the Ghorids, who left his native Ghor region and settled among the Afghan tribes in...


Family names indicating Turkish
Turkic peoples
The Turkic peoples are peoples residing in northern, central and western Asia, southern Siberia and northwestern China and parts of eastern Europe. They speak languages belonging to the Turkic language family. They share, to varying degrees, certain cultural traits and historical backgrounds...

 heritage include Mughal
Mughal (tribe)
The term Mughal is simply a Turkic word and many groups in India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh use the term Mughal to describe themselves...

, Chughtai
Chagatai or Chughtai is a family name in portions of South Asia, Central Asia, Middle East and the associated diaspora that claims descent from Chagatai Khan .-Origin of the name:...

 (this name is also an Arab Family name in Middle East), Mirza
Mirza , is of Persian origin, denoting the rank of a high nobleman or Prince. It is usually translated into English as a royal or imperial Prince of the Blood...

, Baig
- History & Origins:The name Baig originates from a Turkic clan called Barlas . They played a pivotal role in Turko-Persian empires in Central Asia, Middle East and South Asia....

 or Beg
- History & Origins:The name Baig originates from a Turkic clan called Barlas . They played a pivotal role in Turko-Persian empires in Central Asia, Middle East and South Asia....

, Pasha
Pasha or pascha, formerly bashaw, was a high rank in the Ottoman Empire political system, typically granted to governors, generals and dignitaries. As an honorary title, Pasha, in one of its various ranks, is equivalent to the British title of Lord, and was also one of the highest titles in...

, and Barlas
The Barlas were a Mongol - later Turkicized - nomadic confederation in Central Asia and the chief tribe of the Timurids who ruled much of Central Asia, Iran, and South Asia in the Middle Ages.- Origins :According to the Secret History of the Mongols, written during the reign of Ögedei Khan, the...


People claiming India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

n ancestry include those with family names Barelwi
Barelvi is a term used for the movement of Sufi , Sunni Islam originating in the Indian subcontinent.The Movement is known as Ahle Sunnat movement to its followers....

, Lakhnavi, Delhvi, Bilgrami.

People claiming Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

ian ancestry include those with family names Agha, Firdausi, Ghazali, Hamadani, Isfahani
Isfahani or Ispahani is a surname of Iranian origin. It may refer to the following:* Al-Isfahani* Raghib Isfahani* Imad ad-Din al-Isfahani* Jalal al-Din Muhammad al-Isfahani- See also :* Isfahan* Al-Isfahani...

, Kashani
Kashani often shortened to Kashi or al-Kashi is a surname meaning a person who comes from Kashan, Iran. It may refer to:-People:*Abbas Hosseini Kashani , Iranian Grand Ayatollah...

, Kermani
Kermani or Kirmani is a family name indicating ancestry from the city of Kerman, Iran....

, Khorasani
Khorasani * Abu Muslim Khorasani* Mohammad-Kazem Khorasani* Noushin Ahmadi Khorasani* Mohammad Va'ez Abaee-Khorasani* Sultan Ali Khorasani- See also :* Khorasani Turkic language* Greater Khorasan* Khorasan Province...

, Farooqui, Mir
Mir was a space station operated in low Earth orbit from 1986 to 2001, at first by the Soviet Union and then by Russia. Assembled in orbit from 1986 to 1996, Mir was the first modular space station and had a greater mass than that of any previous spacecraft, holding the record for the...

, Montazeri, Nishapuri
Nishapuri or Nishaburi * Attar Neyshapuri* Hakim al-Nishaburi* Mirzá Áqá Buzurg-i-Nishapuri...

, Noorani
Noorani or Nurani or Noorany is a family name in Middle East and South Asia. In Arabic Noor means Light.Noorani Tel , an Ayurvedic medicine manufactured by Indian Chemical Co...

, Kayani, Qizilbash, Saadi, Sabzvari
Sabzwari is a family name that denotes people from Sabzwar, a city in Iran. The Sabzwari family name is found in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh and India. In Pakistan, Shah Shamsuddin Sabzwari is the ancestral head of the Sabzwari's, being buried in Multan, Punjab, Pakistan....

, Shirazi, Sistani, Yazdani
Yazdani is a Indo-Aryan word meaning divine. It refers also to an ancient religious cult still present today among the Yezidi/Yarsani/Alevi Kurds. In Iran, People with this surname are mainly from the city of Yazdan in central Iran in the Isfahan province...

, Zahedi, and Zand
Zand tribe
The Zand tribe are a tribe of Fayli of Lorestan, most known for their member, Muhammad Karim Khan Zand, who become the Regent of Southern Persia for Ismail III in 1750. After Zand's death in 1779, internal conflicts for his succession resulted in a weakening of the dynasty, ending with the defeat...


Excerpt from family names: People linked to Kurd
Kürd or Kyurd or Kyurt may refer to:*Kürd Eldarbəyli, Azerbaijan*Kürd Mahrızlı, Azerbaijan*Kürd, Goychay, Azerbaijan*Kürd, Jalilabad, Azerbaijan*Kürd, Qabala, Azerbaijan*Qurdbayram, Azerbaijan...

/Turkish ancestry: Dogar
Dogar is a Muslim, Punjabi tribe in the Punjab region of Pakistan. It is also used as a family name in Turkey and Northern Iraq among some Kurds and Turks.-Ethnography:...

. Most probably linked to Dogrul, Dogan and Doger clans mostly located in Kurdish majority regions: Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

, Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

, Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

 and Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

. People with the surname Dogar are also found in Lower Caucasus region: Armenia
Armenia , officially the Republic of Armenia , is a landlocked mountainous country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia...

, Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan , officially the Republic of Azerbaijan is the largest country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west, and Iran to...

 and Georgia
Georgia (country)
Georgia is a sovereign state in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the southwest by Turkey, to the south by Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital of...

. An area in Iran is known as Dogar, Ardabil
Dogar, Ardabil

, which falls in area where Kurds are in majority. Urdu itself has a vocabulary that has a close relationship with Kurdish language. It is generally believed by Historians that Dogar, meaning 'Army' in Turkish language actually came to India during Mamluk power i.e.Delhi Sultanate
Delhi Sultanate
The Delhi Sultanate is a term used to cover five short-lived, Delhi based kingdoms or sultanates, of Turkic origin in medieval India. The sultanates ruled from Delhi between 1206 and 1526, when the last was replaced by the Mughal dynasty...

. The Mamluks were of Turkish origin who yielded power through famous concept of chalisya i.e. "The forty". Qutb-ud-Din Aybak was the first Turkish slave to become the Mamluk ruler of Delhi Sultanate. Izz al-Din Aybak (d. 1257, Cairo) was the first of the Mamluk sultans of Egypt in the Turkic Bahri dynasty
Bahri dynasty
The Bahri dynasty or Bahriyya Mamluks was a Mamluk dynasty of mostly Kipchak Turkic origin that ruled Egypt from 1250 to 1382 when they were succeeded by the Burji dynasty, another group of Mamluks...

 line. As-Salih Ayyub
As-Salih Ayyub
Al-Malik as-Salih Najm al-Din Ayyub , also known as al-Malik al-Salih was the Ayyubid ruler of Egypt from 1240 to 1249.-Biography:...

 (Ayyubids]recruited the Mamluks during the Fifth Crusades, who belonged to Kipchak Turkish origin. These Mamluks further recruited Turkish, Syrians, Egyptians, Persians, Indians, Berbers and Arabs to strengthen their hold over the Muslim heartlands, politically. A historian, Ghulam Mustafa Dogar, in his work on Dogar history, states that according to evidences, scores of Muslim armies composed of Mamluks penetrated into Indian heartland during 12–13th century, including Jalal ad-Din Mingburnu
Jalal ad-Din Mingburnu
Jalal ad-Din Mingburnu, also known as Mengübirti or Manguberdi or Minkburny in the east was the last ruler of the Khwarezmid Empire...

 escape from Golden Mongol Horde. Dogars settled in Uch and Multan area, which was ruled by a Governor appointed by Sultan Shahabuddin Muhammad Ghauri (1150 – 15 March 1206) in 1203, Nasir-ud-Din Qabacha
Nasir-ud-Din Qabacha
Nasir-ud-Din Qabacha or Kaba-cha was the Muslim Turkic governor of Multan, appointed by Sultan Shahabuddin Muhammad Ghauri in 1203.- Successors of Ghauri :...

 who belonged to Kipchak Turkish origin.

Tribal names include Abro
The Abro, Abra or Abrah , , is a division of the Samma tribe, found in Sindh, Balochistan and southern Punjab provinces of Pakistan.- Origin :...

 Afaqi, Afridi, Khogyani
Khogyani (tribe)
The Khogyani tribe is a Pashtun tribe of the Karlani or "Hill Tribes" branch. The tribe originated from the Khogyani District along the Koh-i-Safed mountain range in Nangarhar Province of Afghanistan...

(Khakwani), Amini
Amini (surname)
Amini is a transliterated family name of Persian and Pakistani origin. The Persian name, Amini , is Arabic-based. It may refer to:* Ali Amini , Prime Minister of Iran...

, Ashrafkhel, Awan
Awan (Pakistan)
Awan , is a South Asian Zamindar tribe, putatively of Arab origin, living predominantly in northern, central, and western parts of Punjab, Pakistan...

, Bajwa
Bajwa is a Jat gotra or clan. They originally belonged to the region known as 'Bajwath' situated on the border of Jammu and Kashmir, and Punjab. They are now spread across the Punjab region divided between Northern India and Pakistan.- Etymology :...

, Baloch
Baloch people
The Baloch or Baluch are an ethnic group that belong to the larger Iranian peoples. Baluch people mainly inhabit the Balochistan region and Sistan and Baluchestan Province in the southeast corner of the Iranian plateau in Western Asia....

, Barakzai
- History :Barakzai is a common ethnic name among the Pashtuns of Afghanistan/Pakistan and it means . Barakzai is also a Pashtun tribe in Pakistan, and more predominantly, in Afghanistan...

, Baranzai
Baranzai is a Pashtun tribe in the North West Frontier Province and a Baloch tribes in Balochistan and Iran. The Baranzai in Iran speak Baluchi....

, Bhatti, Bhutto
Bhutto is a Sindhi, Rajput tribe settled in Sindh, Pakistan.-Bhutto tribe:The Bhutto tribe is a Rajput tribe that has been settled in Sindh for over two centuries, occupying part of Balochistan in Kachhi, Sibi, Dera Murad Jamali, Bhag and Mithri, having migrated to Sindh from Jaiselmere in India...

, Ranjha, Bijarani
Bijarani is a name of Baloch tribes in the Balochistan and Sindh provinces of Pakistan.- Prominent Bijarani personalities* Sardar SHER MUHAMMAD KHAN BIJARANI* MIR HAZAR Khan Bijarani* SARDAR MEHBOOB ALI KHAN BIJARANI* MIR SHABBIR ALI KHAN BIJARANI...

, Bizenjo
Bizenjo is a Baloch tribe in Balochistan. This tribe is mainly located in Awaran Districtkolwa and grashag and district khuzdar,naal,ornach mountains till jhaoo and lasbella,and in district makran,gwadar,pasni,turbat the bizenjo tribe has four clans hamalani,tumrani,omrani,sehpaad sardar aslam...

, Brohi
Brahui people
The Brahui or Brohi are ethnic Baloch group of about 2.2 million people with the majority found in Kalat, Baluchistan, Pakistan, but they are also found in smaller numbers in neighboring Afghanistan and Iran. The Brahuis are almost entirely Sunni Muslims.-Origins:The ethnonym "Brahui" is a very...

, Bugti
Bugti , is a Baloch tribe located in Balochistan, Pakistan. They are divided into various clans such as Rahija, Mandawani , Kalpar, Nauthani, Masuri, Ferozani, Salamaan Zai, Mundarani, Qasimani, Shambani, Sobazai, Pahi, Maretha and Moharkanzai etc., numbering around 300,000.On a bigger scale the...

, Butt, Detho, Farooqui, Gabol
Gabol is a Baloch tribe settled in the Balochistan, Sindh and Punjab provinces of Pakistan. Gabols are of Rind origin and are mostly settled in Tikko Baran surrounding the Kirthar Mountains Range, Karachi, Ghotki, Alipur, Sibi, and Jacobabad. This tribe is also considered to be present in Iran...

, Ghaznavi
Ghaznavi Missile is a short range ballistic missile with an optimal range of 290 km, produced by Pakistan and named after the 11th century Afghan conqueror Mahmud of Ghazni. The missile has a length of 9.64m, diameter of 0.99 m, launch weight of 5256 kg and is powered by a single stage solid fuel...

, Ghilzai
Ghilzai are the largest Pashtun tribal confederacy found in Afghanistan and Pakistan. They are also known historically as Ghilji, Khilji, Ghalji, Ghilzye, and possibly Gharzai...

, Gichki
The Gichki [ is a Baloch tribe in Balochistan, Pakistan. There are different historical explanations of their origin. Some historians also say that they were native inhabitants of Gichk tehsil in Panjgur....

, Gujjar
The Gurjar are an ethnic group in India, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Alternative spellings include Gurjara, Gujar, Gurjjara and Gūrjara. The spelling Gurjara or Gurjar is preferable to the rest....

, Jakhrani
The Jakhrani are a Baloch tribe in Sindh and Balochistan, Pakistan.- Distribution :Most of them live in Jacobabad District and Kashmore District. Mir Aijaz Hussain Khan Jakhrani is a member National Assembly affiliated with Pakistan Peoples Party. Mir Aijaz Hussain Khan Jakhrani was Federal...

, Jamali
Jamali is the name of a Baloch tribe in Pakistan. Jamali tribe consists of 14 more tribes,like Esaani,Mureedani,Walwaani,Dodaani,Lalwaani. A large number of Jamali tribes also live in province of Sindh; these peopole speak Balochi,Sindhi,Seraiki,Punjabi and Urdu languages. In Sindh majority of...

, Jamote, Janjua, Jatoi, Jutt Joyo, Junejo
Junejo is the name of a Samma Sindhi Rajput tribe in Sindh and in some parts of India mostly in Rajasthan. Among the Sindhi Hindu community Juneja is a common surname and many Juneja people originally from Sindh migrated to India during the independence in 1947. Junejo are also known as Jam in...

, Karmazkhel, Kayani, Khar
Khar (tribe)
Khar is a Seraiki speaking clan of Kamboj tribe. Khar clan is mainly settled in southern Punjab province in Pakistan.They are mainly settled in Muzaffargarh, Layyah and Bhakkar districts...

, Khattak
Khattak or Khatak , is the name of an Afghan tribe. speaking a variant of the Kandahari Pashto. They are accorded the status of being one of the original and true Afghans. The tribe is settled along the western bank of the river Indus from as north upwards as Sammah; modern day Lund Khwar & Sher...

, Khuhro
Khuhro is a Sindhi tribe in Sindh and Balochistan, Pakistan. Khuhros belong to the Abro clan of the Sammas. According to tradition Khuhro settled in the fertile tract near the river Indus around modern Larkana District and KHAIR PUR DISTRICT. As per some saying they belongs to Arab ethic group...

, Lakhani
Lakhani (name)
Lakhani is a Sindhi family name in Pakistan and India. The Muslim Lakhani also belong to Memon community. Lakhani is a prosperous business community and now also in journalism, sports and politics. The Lakhani in India are Hindus as well as Muslims...

, Leghari
The Leghari , or Laghari) are a Baloch tribe living in Balochistan, Sindh and Punjab provinces of Pakistan. The Leghari Baloch primarily speak the Seraiki, Sindhi, and Balochi language, and are largely Sunni Muslims....

, Lodhi
Lodhi is a Batani Pashtun tribe mainly found in Afghanistan and Pakistan. They were part of a wave of Pashtuns who pushed east into what is today Pakistan. Often accompanying the Timurids who conquered South Asia, the Lodhi established themselves during the Islamic period as a Muslim ruling class...

, Magsi
Magsi is a name of Baloch tribe in the Balochistan, Punjab and Sindh provinces of Pakistan and Balochistan province of Iran.The Magsi tribe came from Iran where is place name is Magas in Lishar. They migrated to modern Pakistan with Lashari and Rind tribes that is the reason some historians...

, Malik
Malik is an Arabic word meaning "king, chieftain".It has been adopted in various other, mainly Islamized or Arabized, Asian languages for their ruling princes and to render kings elsewhere. It is also sometimes used in derived meanings...

, Mandokhel
The Mandokhel or Mindo Khel is a Pashtun tribe primarily found in northern regions of Balochistan Province, Pakistan and southern Afghanistan Most of the Mandokhels are settled in Zhob District of Balochistan Province, Pakistan,They live on both sides of Zhob river.They are mentioned in the...

, Mayo
Mayo or Meo or Mewati is a prominent Muslim Rajput tribe from North-Western India. A considerable number of Meos migrated to Pakistan after independence in 1947 and now they are estimated to be over 12 million. In Pakistan, Meos have lost their distinct group identity and cultural traditions and...

, Marwat
Marwat مروت, refers to a Pashtun tribe, located primarily in Lakki Marwat District in the south of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in Pakistan as well the districts of Tank and Dera Ismail Khan...

, Mengal
Mengal is a Brahui / Baloch tribe in Balochistan, Pakistan- Demographics :The Mengal tribe is one of the largest Baloch tribe. Mengal people speak Brahui, a Dravidian language that has been heavily influenced by other Iranian languages spoken in the area, especially Balochi...

, Mughal, Palijo
The Palijo are Sindhi tribe of Sindh province, Pakistan. Palijo is a Sammat tribe. During the Talpur dynasty and before, this tribe held lands on the banks of the Indus River when that area was under official administration of the Palijo tribe and was called Palijar'pargana, ranging from Choriya...

, Paracha, Panhwar
Panhwar or Panwar are a Sindhi Muslim Rajput tribe found in Sindh, Punjab and Azad Kashmir in Pakistan. The term Panwhar is used for the Parmar Rajputs clans that have converted to Islam, and are settled in what is now Pakistani territory.-History:...

, Popalzai
Popalzai or Popalzay are Durrani Pashtuns.-Origin:According to Hyat Khan's history of Afghanistan, from their progenitor Bor Tareen, otherwise known as Abdal, are descended two main divisions: the Zirak and the Panjpai...

, Qureshi, Rabbani, Raisani
Raisani is a Brahui-speaking Baloch tribe in Balochistan. The leader of each tribe is called Sardar. The Raisani tribal chief is called the Chief of `Sarawan`.The present Chief of Sarawan and Nawab of Raisani Tribe is Nawab Aslam Raisani.The leader of each tribe is called Sardar...

, Rakhshani, Sahi
Sahi or Shahi is a clan of jat , Rajput,Bhumihar and Arain mulims.- History :Sahis are primarily agrarians and found on either sides of Punjab...

, Swati
Swati (tribe)
The Swatis are a Pashtun tribe based around the Swat valley, in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. They are the largest tribal group of land owners in the Mansehra and Battagram districts....

, Soomro
Soomro or Soomra is a Sindhi tribe in Sindh, Punjab and Balochistan, Pakistan.- History and origin :The Soomra Dynasty was established by the Soomro tribe of Sindh. The Soomra ruled Sindh from 750-1351. Following the 985 CE expulsion of the Qarmatian Muslim sect from Iraq and Egypt, the...

, Sulaimankhel, Talpur
Talpur ; is a Baloch tribe settled in Sindh. Talpurs settled in northern Sindh, spoke Sindhi language very soon their descendants and allies formed a confederacy against the Kalhora dynasty. Later, however, they enjoyed good relations with the Kalhoras and were invited by them to help organize...

, Talwar
The talwar is a type of curved sword or sabre from India and modern-day Pakistan...

, Thebo, Yousafzai
The Yūsufzai is one of the largest Pashtun tribes...

, and Zamani.

In Pakistan, the official paperwork format regarding personal identity is as follows:

So and so, son of so and so, of such and such tribe or clan and religion and resident of such and such place. For example, Amir Khan s/o Fakeer Khan, tribe Mughal Kayani or Chauhan Rajput, Follower of religion Islam, resident of Village Anywhere, Tehsil Anywhere, District.

A large number of Muslim Rajputs
Muslim Rajputs
Muslim Rajputs or Musulman Rajputs are Muslims belonging to the Hindu Rajput Kshatriya groups of Indian subcontinent, who converted to Islam.-History:...

 have retained their surnames such as Chauhan
Chauhan, Chouhan or Chohan , , - is a clan who ruled parts of northern India in the Middle Ages. The clan is most famous for Rajput King Maharaja Prithviraj Chauhan...

, Rathore
The Rathore is a Suryavanshi Rajput clan same caste as Lohana. Their Kuldevi is Nagnechiya Mata and "Karani Mata". Rathores are originally from Kannauj in Uttar Pradesh. Rathores are historically considered the samurais of India...

, Parmar, Janjua, Bargujar, etc.

The Philippines

Until the middle of the 19th century, there was no standardization of surnames in the Philippines. There were native Filipinos without surnames, others whose surnames deliberately did not match that of their families, as well as those who took certain surnames simply because they had a certain prestige, usually ones dealing with the Roman Catholic religion, such as de los Santos and de la Cruz.

In 1849, Governor-general Narciso Clavería y Zaldúa decreed an end to these arbitrary practices, the result of which was the Catálogo Alfabético de Apellidos
Catálogo alfabético de apellidos
The Alphabetical Catalog of Surnames is a book of surnames published in the Philippines and other islands of Spanish East Indies in the mid-19th century...

 ("Alphabetical Inventory of Surnames"). The book contained many words coming from Spanish and the Philippine languages such as Tagalog and many Basque surnames, such as Zuloaga or Aguirre.

In practice, the application of this decree varied from municipality to municipality. Some municipalities received only surnames starting with a particular letter. For example, the majority of residents of the island of Banton in the province of Romblon have surnames starting with F such as Fabicon, Fallarme, Fadrilan, and Ferran. Thus, although perhaps a majority of Filipinos have Spanish surnames, such a surname does not indicate Spanish ancestry.

The vast majority of Filipinos follow a naming system which is the reverse of the Spanish one. Children take the mother's surname as their middle name, followed by their father's as their surname; for example, a son of Juan de la Cruz and his wife Maria Agbayani may be David Agbayani de la Cruz. Women take the surnames of their husband upon marriage; so upon her marriage to David de la Cruz, the full name of Laura Yuchengco Macaraeg would become Laura Yuchengco Macaraeg de la Cruz.

There are other sources for surnames. Many Filipinos also have Chinese-derived surnames, which in some cases could indicate Chinese ancestry. Many Hispanicised Chinese numerals and other Hispanicised Chinese words, however, were also among the surnames in the Catálogo Alfabético de Apellidos. For those whose surname may indicate Chinese ancestry, analysis of the surname may help to pinpoint when those ancestors arrived in the Philippines. A hispanicised Chinese surname such as Cojuangco suggests an 18th-century arrival while a Chinese surname such as Lim suggests a relatively recent immigration. Some Chinese surnames such as Tiu-Laurel are composed of the immigrant Chinese ancestor's surname as well as the name of that ancestor's godparent on receiving Christian baptism.

In the predominantly Muslim areas of the southern Philippines, adoption of surnames was influenced by connexions to that religion, its holy places, and prophets. As a result, surnames among Filipino Muslims are largely Arabic-based, and include such surnames as Hassan
Hassan (surname)
Hassan Hassan Hassan (also spelled Hasan, Hassen, Hasson, Hassin, Hassine, Hacen, Hasen, Hasin, Hass, Hassa, Hasa, Haas, Cassin, Chassan, Chasan, Chasson, Chason, Khassan, Khasan, Cassan, Casan, Hasso, Hassanein, Hasnen, Hassani, Hasani,...

 and Haradji.

There are also Filipinos who, to this day, have no surnames at all, particularly if they come from indigenous cultural communities.

Naming customs in the Philippines

Prior to the establishment of the Philippines as a US territory during the earlier part of the 20th century, Filipinos usually followed Iberian naming customs. However, upon the promulgation of the Family Code of 1987, Filipinos began to adopt the American system of using their surnames.

A common Filipino name will consist of the given name (mostly 2 given names are given), the initial letter of the mother's maiden name and finally the father's surname (i.e. Lucy Anne C. de Guzman). Also, women are allowed to retain their maiden name or use both her and her husband's surname, separated by a dash. This is common in feminist circles or when the woman holds a prominent office (e.g. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is a Filipino politician who served as the 14th President of the Philippines from 2001 to 2010, as the 12th Vice President of the Philippines from 1998 to 2001, and is currently a member of the House of Representatives representing the 2nd District of Pampanga...

, Miriam Defensor-Santiago). In more traditional circles, especially those who belong to the prominent families in the provinces, the custom of the woman being addressed as Mrs. Husband's Full Name is still common.

For widows, who chose to marry again, two norms are in existence. For those who were widowed before the Family Code, the full name of the woman remains while the surname of the deceased husband is attached. That is, Maria Andres, who was widowed by Ignacio Dimaculangan will have the name Maria Andres viuda de Dimaculangan. If she chooses to marry again, this name will still continue to exist while the surname of the new husband is attached. Thus, if Maria marries Rene de los Santos, her new name will be Maria Andres viuda de Dimaculangan de los Santos.

However, a new norm is also in existence. The woman may choose to use her husband's surname to be one of her middle names. Thus, Maria Andres viuda de Dimaculangan de los Santos may also be called Maria A.D. de los Santos.

Children will however automatically inherit their father's surname if they are considered legitimate. If the child is born out of wedlock, the mother will automatically pass her surname to the child, unless the father gives a written acknowledgment of paternity. The father may also choose to give the child both his parents' surnames if he wishes (that is Gustavo Paredes, whose parents are Eulogio Paredes and Juliana Angeles, while having Maria Solis as a wife, may name his child Kevin S. Angeles-Paredes.

In some Tagalog regions, the norm of giving patronyms, or in some cases matronyms, is also accepted. These names are of course not official, since family names in the Philippines are inherited. It is not uncommon to refer to someone as Juan anak ni Pablo (John, the son of Paul) or Juan apo ni Teofilo (John, the grandson of Theophilus).


In Romania
Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

, like in most of Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

, a child inherits his father's family name, and a wife takes her husband's last name. There are, however, exceptions.

Until the 19th century, the names were primarily of the form "[given name] [father's name] [grandfather's name]". The few exceptions are usually famous people or the nobility (boyars). The name reform introduced around 1850 had the names changed to a western style, most likely imported from France, consisting of a given name followed by a family name.

As such, the name is called prenume (French prénom), while the family name is called nume or, when otherwise ambiguous, nume de familie ("family name"). Although not mandatory, middle names are common.

Historically, when the family name reform was introduced in the mid-19th century, the default was to use a patronym, or a matronym when the father was dead or unknown. The typical derivation was to append the suffix -escu to the father's name, e.g. Anghelescu ("Anghel's child") and Petrescu ("Petre's child"). (The -escu seems to come from Latin -iscum, thus being cognate with Italian -esco and French -esque.) The other common derivation was to append the suffix -eanu to the name of the place of origin, especially when one came from a different region, e.g. Munteanu ("from the mountains") and Moldoveanu ("from Moldova"). These uniquely Romanian suffixes strongly identify ancestral nationality.

There are also descriptive family names derived from occupations, nicknames, and events, e.g. Botezatu ("baptised"), Barbu ("bushy bearded"), Prodan ("foster"), Bălan ("blond"), Fieraru ("smith"), Croitoru ("tailor"), "Păcuraru" ("shepherd").

Romanian family names remain the same regardless of the sex of the person.

Although given names appear before family names in most Romanian contexts, official documents invert the order, ostensibly for filing purposes. Correspondingly, Romanians occasionally introduce themselves with their family names first, e.g. a student signing a test paper in school.

Romanians bearing names of non-Romanian origin often adopt Romanianised versions of their ancestral surnames, such as Jurovschi for Polish Żurowski, which preserves the original pronunciation of the surname through transliteration. In some cases, these changes were mandated by the state.


In Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

, following the Surname Law
Surname Law (Turkey)
The Surname Law of the Republic of Turkey was adopted on June 21, 1934. The law required all citizens of Turkey to adopt the use of surnames. Turkey's Christian and Jewish citizens were already using surnames, but Muslims generally did not use Western-style surnames...

 imposed in 1934 in the context of Atatürk's Reforms
Atatürk's Reforms
Atatürk's Reforms were a series of political, legal, cultural, social and economic reforms that were designed to modernize the new Republic of Turkey into a democratic and secular nation-state...

, every family living in Turkey was given a family name. The surname was generally selected by the elderly people of the family and could be any Turkish
Turkish language
Turkish is a language spoken as a native language by over 83 million people worldwide, making it the most commonly spoken of the Turkic languages. Its speakers are located predominantly in Turkey and Northern Cyprus with smaller groups in Iraq, Greece, Bulgaria, the Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo,...

 word (or a permitted word for families belonging to official minority groups).

Some of the most common family names in Turkey are Yılmaz
Yılmaz is a Turkish word that translates to unshirking, unbeatable or brave, and is a common male given name and surname.-Given name:* Yilmaz Arslan , Kurdish film director, screenwriter and producer...

('undaunted'), Doğan
-Given name:* Dogan Abukay, Turkish experimental physicist and professor* Doğan Babacan, retired Turkish football referee* Doğan Köslü , co-founder of the video game developer Treyarch* Doğan Kuban, Turkish academic-Surname:...

('falcon'), Şahin ('hawk'), Yıldırım
Yıldırım is a metropolitan district in the centre of Bursa in Turkey. The district was named after Ottoman Sultan Bayezid I. It was founded in 1987 and it has a size of 399 km². The Sultan Bayezid I's nickname was Yıldırım, which means thunderbolt in Turkish.-Location:Yıldırım, which is...

('thunderbolt'), Şimşek ('lightning'), Öztürk ('purely Turkish').

A patronym, or patronymic, is a component of a personal name based on the name of one's father, grandfather or an even earlier male ancestor. A component of a name based on the name of one's mother or a female ancestor is a matronymic. Each is a means of conveying lineage.In many areas patronyms...

 surnames do not necessarily refer to ancestry, or in most cases can not be traced back historically. The most usual Turkish patronymic suffix is –oğlu; –ov(a), –yev(a) and –zade also occur in the surnames of Azeri or other Turkic descendants.

Official minorities like Armenians, Greeks, and Jews have surnames in their own mother languages.
The Armenian families living in Turkey usually have Armenian surnames and generally have the patronymic –yan (–ian). Greek descendants usually have Greek surnames which might have Greek suffixes like –ou, –aki(s), –poulos/poulou, –idis/idou, –iadis/iadou or prefixes like papa–.
The Sephardic Jews who were expelled from Spain and settled in Turkey in 1492 have both Jewish/Hebrew surnames, and Spanish surnames, usually indicating their native regions, cities or villages back in Spain, like De Leon or Toledano.

However these minorities increasingly tend to "Turkicize" their surnames or replace their original surnames with Turkish surnames altogether to avoid being recognized and discriminated against.


In Scandinavia
Scandinavia is a cultural, historical and ethno-linguistic region in northern Europe that includes the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, characterized by their common ethno-cultural heritage and language. Modern Norway and Sweden proper are situated on the Scandinavian Peninsula,...

 family names often, but certainly not always, originate from a patronymic. Later on, people from the Scandinavian middle classes, particularly artisans and town dwellers, adopted surnames in a similar fashion to that of the gentry
Gentry denotes "well-born and well-bred people" of high social class, especially in the past....

. Family names joining two elements from nature such as the Swedish Bergman ("mountain man"), Holmberg ("island mountain"), Lindgren ("linden branch"), Sandström ("sand stream") and Åkerlund ("field grove") were quite frequent and remain common today.

Regions of the Sinosphere

In Chinese
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

, Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

ese, Korea
Korea ) is an East Asian geographic region that is currently divided into two separate sovereign states — North Korea and South Korea. Located on the Korean Peninsula, Korea is bordered by the People's Republic of China to the northwest, Russia to the northeast, and is separated from Japan to the...

n, and Vietnam
Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam , officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea –...

ese cultures, the family name is placed before the given names. So the terms "first name" and "last name" are generally not used, as they do not in this case denote the given and family names.

Chinese family names have many types of origins, dating back as early as pre-Qin era
Qin Dynasty
The Qin Dynasty was the first imperial dynasty of China, lasting from 221 to 207 BC. The Qin state derived its name from its heartland of Qin, in modern-day Shaanxi. The strength of the Qin state was greatly increased by the legalist reforms of Shang Yang in the 4th century BC, during the Warring...

 (i.e., before 221 BCE):
  • from the land or state that one lived in or awarded: Chen 陳
    Chen (surname)
    Chén or Chan is one of the most common East Asian family names. It ranks as the 5th most common surname in China, as of 2007 and the most common surname in Singapore and Taiwan . Chen is also the most common family name in Guangdong, Zhejiang, Fujian, Hong Kong...

     after the state of Chen
    Chen (state)
    Chen was a minor Zhou Dynasty vassal state during the Spring and Autumn Period of Chinese History. It was a relatively minor state based on a single urban centre near what is now Huaiyang County in the plains of eastern Henan province...

    , Cai 蔡
    Cai (surname)
    Cài is a Chinese surname that derives from the name of the ancient Cai state. It is regionally more common in China's Fujian Province and in countries settled by ethnic Chinese from that province than in China as a whole...

     after the state of Cai;
  • from the given name or Posthumous name
    Posthumous name
    A posthumous name is an honorary name given to royalty, nobles, and sometimes others, in East Asia after the person's death, and is used almost exclusively instead of one's personal name or other official titles during his life...

     of one's ancestor: Zhuang 莊
    Zhuang (surname)
    Zhuang is a Chinese surname. It ranked 73rd by population in a 1990 study of 174,900 samples but dropped out of the top 100 in a 2006 study, which included 296 million samples ....

     after King Zhuang of Chu
    King Zhuang of Chu
    King Zhuāng of Chǔ was a monarch of the Zhou Dynasty vassal State of Chu during the Spring and Autumn Period of Chinese history...

  • from the nobility status
    Chinese nobility
    Chinese sovereignty and peerage, the nobility of China, were an important feature of traditional social and political organization of Imperial China. While the concepts of hereditary sovereign and peerage titles and noble families were featured as early as the semi-mythical, early historical...

     or officer status of one's ancestor: Wang 王
    Wang (surname)
    Wang is a Chinese family name and one of the most common surnames in the world. It is ranked 8th in the Hundred Family Surnames, and first in the People's Republic of China's National Citizen ID Information System . Wang is ranked as the most common surname in mainland China, with 92.88 million...

     (a king) or Shi 史 (a history-recording officer);
  • and some other origins.

In history, some changed their surnames due to a naming taboo
Naming taboo
Naming taboo is a cultural taboo against speaking or writing the given names of exalted persons in China and neighboring nations in the ancient Chinese cultural sphere.-Kinds of naming taboo:...

 (from Zhuang 莊 to Yan 嚴 during the era of Liu Zhuang 劉莊
Emperor Ming of Han
Emperor Ming of Han, , was second emperor of the Chinese Eastern Han Dynasty.He was the second son of Emperor Guangwu. It was during Emperor Ming's reign that Buddhism began to spread into China. One night, he is said to have dreamed of a golden man or golden men...

) or as an award by the Emperor (Li
Li (surname)
Li is a common transliteration of several Chinese family names, including 李 , the most common Chinese family name, and the Korean family name Lee...

 was often to senior officers during Tang Dynasty
Tang Dynasty
The Tang Dynasty was an imperial dynasty of China preceded by the Sui Dynasty and followed by the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period. It was founded by the Li family, who seized power during the decline and collapse of the Sui Empire...


In modern days, some Chinese adopt a Western given name in addition to their original given names, e.g. Lee Chu-ming (李柱銘) adopted the Western name Martin, which can often be used as a nickname of Chu-ming. The adopted Western name can be put in front of their Chinese name, e.g. Martin LEE Chu-ming. In addition, many people with Chinese names have non-Chinese first names which are commonly used. Sometimes, the Chinese name becomes used as a "middle name", e.g. Martin Chu-ming Lee, or even used a "last name", e.g. Lee Chu-ming Martin. Chinese names used in Western countries may be rearranged when written to avoid misunderstanding, e.g. cellist Yo-Yo Ma
Yo-Yo Ma
Yo-Yo Ma is an American cellist, virtuoso, and orchestral composer. He has received multiple Grammy Awards, the National Medal of Arts in 2001 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011...

. However, some well-known Chinese names remain in the traditional order even in English literature, e.g. Chiang Kai-shek
Chiang Kai-shek
Chiang Kai-shek was a political and military leader of 20th century China. He is known as Jiǎng Jièshí or Jiǎng Zhōngzhèng in Mandarin....

, Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong, also transliterated as Mao Tse-tung , and commonly referred to as Chairman Mao , was a Chinese Communist revolutionary, guerrilla warfare strategist, Marxist political philosopher, and leader of the Chinese Revolution...

, Yao Ming
Yao Ming
Yao Ming is a retired Chinese professional basketball player who last played for the Houston Rockets of the National Basketball Association...

(Note that the name on the back of Yao Ming's NBA jersey is "Yao," rather than "Ming," as the former is his family name). Most people from mainland China stick with their own national standard to present their names. For example, in all Olympic events all the PRC
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

 athletes' names are presented in the Chinese ordering even when they are spelled out phonetically in Latin alphabets. Chinese athletes from other countries, especially those on the US team, use the Western ordering. The non-compliance to the Western ordering is a matter of cultural convention and also a national standard adopted by PRC.

Vietnamese names are generally stated in East Asian order (family name first) even when writing in English.

In English writings originating from non-English cultures (e.g. English newspapers in China), the family name is often written with all capital letters to avoid being mistaken as a middle name, e.g. Laurence Yee-ming KWONG or using small capitals, as Laurence KWONG Yee-ming or with a comma, as AKUTAGAWA, Ryūnosuke
Ryunosuke Akutagawa
was a Japanese writer active in the Taishō period in Japan. He is regarded as the "Father of the Japanese short story". He committed suicide at age of 35 through an overdose of barbital.-Early life:...

to make clear which name is the family name. Such practice is particularly common in mass-media reporting international events like the Olympic Games
Olympic Games
The Olympic Games is a major international event featuring summer and winter sports, in which thousands of athletes participate in a variety of competitions. The Olympic Games have come to be regarded as the world’s foremost sports competition where more than 200 nations participate...

. The CIA World Factbook stated that "The Factbook capitalizes the surname or family name of individuals for the convenience of [their] users who are faced with a world of different cultures and naming conventions". For example, Leslie Cheung Kwok Wing
Leslie Cheung
Leslie Cheung Kwok-Wing , nicknamed elder brother , was a film actor and musician from Hong Kong. Cheung was considered as "one of the founding fathers of Cantopop", and "combining a hugely successful film and music career".In 2000, Cheung was named Asian Biggest Superstar by China Central...

who is actually Mr.Cheung might be mistaken as Mr. Wing by readers unaware of Chinese naming conventions.

Vietnamese family names present an added complication. Like Chinese family names, they are placed at the beginning of a name, but unlike Chinese names, they are not usually the primary form of address. Rather, people will be referred to by their given name, usually accompanied by an honorific. For example, Phan Van Khai is properly addressed as Mr. Khai, even though Phan is his family name. This pattern contrasts with that of most other East Asian naming conventions.

In Japan, the civil law forces a common surname for every married couple, unless in a case of international marriage. In most cases, women surrender their surnames upon marriage, and use the surnames of their husbands. However, a convention that a man uses his wife's family name if the wife is an only child is sometimes observed. A similar tradition called ru zhui (入贅) is common among Chinese when the bride's family is wealthy and has no son but wants the heir to pass on their assets under the same family name. The Chinese character zhui (贅) carries a money radical
Radical (Chinese character)
A Chinese radical is a component of a Chinese character. The term may variously refer to the original semantic element of a character, or to any semantic element, or, loosely, to any element whatever its origin or purpose...

 (貝), which implies that this tradition was originally based on financial reasons. All their offspring carry the mother's family name. If the groom is the first born with an obligation to carry his own ancestor's name, a compromise may be reached in that the first male child carries the mother's family name while subsequent offspring carry the father's family name. The tradition is still in use in many Chinese communities outside of mainland China
Mainland China
Mainland China, the Chinese mainland or simply the mainland, is a geopolitical term that refers to the area under the jurisdiction of the People's Republic of China . According to the Taipei-based Mainland Affairs Council, the term excludes the PRC Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and...

, but largely disused in China because of social changes from communism. Due to the economic reform in the past decade, accumulation and inheritance of personal wealth made a come back to the Chinese society. It is unknown if this financially motivated tradition would also come back to mainland China.

In Chinese, Korean, and Singaporean cultures, women keep their own surnames, while the family as a whole is referred to by the surnames of the husbands.

In Hong Kong, some women would be known to the public with the surnames of their husbands preceding their own surnames, such as Anson Chan Fang On Sang
Anson Chan
Anson Maria Elizabeth Chan Fang On-sang GBM GCMG CBE JP was a member of the Legislative Council of Hong Kong for Hong Kong Island, succeeding the late legislator Ma Lik....

. Anson is an English given name, On Sang is the given name in Chinese, Chan is the surname of Anson's husband, and Fang is her own surname. A name change on legal documents is not necessary. In Hong Kong's English publications, her family names would have been presented in small cap letters to resolve ambiguity, e.g. Anson CHAN FANG On Sang in full or simply Anson Chan in short form.

In Macau
Macau , also spelled Macao , is, along with Hong Kong, one of the two special administrative regions of the People's Republic of China...

, some people have their names in Portuguese spelt with some Portuguese
Portuguese language
Portuguese is a Romance language that arose in the medieval Kingdom of Galicia, nowadays Galicia and Northern Portugal. The southern part of the Kingdom of Galicia became independent as the County of Portugal in 1095...

 style, such as Carlos do Rosario Tchiang.

Chinese women in Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, especially Hongkongers in Toronto
Toronto is the provincial capital of Ontario and the largest city in Canada. It is located in Southern Ontario on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario. A relatively modern city, Toronto's history dates back to the late-18th century, when its land was first purchased by the British monarchy from...

, would preserve their maiden names before the surnames of their husbands when written in English, for instance Rosa Chan Leung, where Chan is the maiden name, and Leung is the surname of the husband.

In Chinese
Chinese language
The Chinese language is a language or language family consisting of varieties which are mutually intelligible to varying degrees. Originally the indigenous languages spoken by the Han Chinese in China, it forms one of the branches of Sino-Tibetan family of languages...

, Korean
Korean language
Korean is the official language of the country Korea, in both South and North. It is also one of the two official languages in the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture in People's Republic of China. There are about 78 million Korean speakers worldwide. In the 15th century, a national writing...

, and Vietnamese
Vietnamese language
Vietnamese is the national and official language of Vietnam. It is the mother tongue of 86% of Vietnam's population, and of about three million overseas Vietnamese. It is also spoken as a second language by many ethnic minorities of Vietnam...

, surnames are predominantly monosyllabic (written with one character), though a small number of common disyllabic (or written with two characters) surnames
Chinese compound surname
A Chinese compound surname is a Chinese surname using more than one character. Many of these surnames derive from noble and official titles, professions, place names and other areas, to serve for a purpose. Some are originally non-Han, while others were created by joining two one-character family...

 exists (e.g. the Chinese name Ouyang, the Korean name Jegal and the Vietnamese name Phan-Tran).

Many Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese surnames are of the same origin, but simply pronounced differently and even transliterated differently overseas in Western nations. For example, the common Chinese surnames Chen, Chan, Chin, Cheng and Tan, the Korean surname Jin, as well as the Vietnamese surname Trần are often all the same exact character 陳. The common Korean surname Kim is also the common Chinese surname Jin, and written 金. The common Mandarin surnames Lin or Lim (林) is also one and the same as the common Cantonese or Vietnamese surname Lam and Korean family name Lim (written/pronounced as Im in South Korea
Korean phonology
This article is a technical description of the phonetics and phonology of Korean.Korean has many allophones, so it is important here to distinguish morphophonemics from corresponding phonemes and allophones .-Consonants:The following are phonemic transcriptions of Korean consonants.# are voiced ...

). Interestingly, there are people with the surname of Hayashi (林) in Japan too. The common Chinese surname 李, translated to English as Lee, is, in Chinese, the same character but transliterated as Li according to pinyin
Pinyin is the official system to transcribe Chinese characters into the Roman alphabet in China, Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan. It is also often used to teach Mandarin Chinese and spell Chinese names in foreign publications and used as an input method to enter Chinese characters into...

 convention. Lee is also a common surname of Koreans, and the character is identical.


In Scandinavia
Scandinavia is a cultural, historical and ethno-linguistic region in northern Europe that includes the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, characterized by their common ethno-cultural heritage and language. Modern Norway and Sweden proper are situated on the Scandinavian Peninsula,...

 family names often, but certainly not always, originate from a patronymic In Denmark
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

 and Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

, the corresponding ending is -sen, as in Karlsen. Names ending with dotter/datter (daughter), such as Olofsdotter, are rare but occurring, and only apply to females. Today, the patronymic names are passed on similarly to family names in other Western countries, and a person's father does not have to be called Karl if he or she has the surname Karlsson. However, in 2006 Denmark reinstated patronymic and matronymic surnames as an option. Thus, parents Karl Larsen and Anna Hansen can name a son Karlssøn or Annasøn and a daughter Karlsdatter or Annasdatter.

Before the 19th century there was the same system in Scandinavia as in Iceland today. Noble families, however, as a rule adopted a family name, which could refer to a presumed or real forefather (e.g. Earl Birger Magnusson
Birger jarl
, or Birger Magnusson, was a Swedish statesman, Jarl of Sweden and a member of the House of Bjelbo, who played a pivotal role in the consolidation of Sweden. Birger also led the Second Swedish Crusade, which established Swedish rule in Finland. Additionally, he is traditionally attributed to have...

In modern Swedish, Folkung has two meanings, which appear to be opposites:# The medieval "House of Bjelbo" in Sweden, which produced several Swedish statesmen and kings....

) or to the family's coat of arms
Coat of arms
A coat of arms is a unique heraldic design on a shield or escutcheon or on a surcoat or tabard used to cover and protect armour and to identify the wearer. Thus the term is often stated as "coat-armour", because it was anciently displayed on the front of a coat of cloth...

 (e.g. King Gustav Eriksson Vasa
House of Vasa
The House of Vasa was the Royal House of Sweden 1523-1654 and of Poland 1587-1668. It originated from a noble family in Uppland of which several members had high offices during the 15th century....

). In many surviving family noble names, such as Silfversparre ("silver chevron"; in modern spelling, Silver-) or Stiernhielm ("star-helmet"; in modernized spelling, stjärnhjälm), the spelling is obsolete, but since it applies to a name, remains unchanged. (Some names from relatively modern times also use archaic or otherwise aberrant spelling as a stylistic trait; e.g. -quist pro -kvist "twig" or -grén pro -gren, "branch".)

Later on, people from the Scandinavian middle classes, particularly artisans and town dwellers, adopted names in a similar fashion to that of the nobility. Family names joining two elements from nature such as the Swedish Bergman ("mountain man"), Holmberg ("island mountain"), Lindgren ("linden branch"), Sandström and Åkerlund ("field meadow") were quite frequent and remain common today. The same is true for similar Norwegian and Danish names.
Another common practice was to adopt one's place of origin as a middle or surname.

Even more important a driver of change was the need, for administrative purposes, to develop a system under which each individual had a "stable" name from birth to death. In the old days, people would be known by their name, patronymic and the farm they lived at. This last element would change if a person got a new job, bought a new farm, or otherwise came to live somewhere else. (This is part of the origin, in this part of the world, of the custom of women changing their names upon marriage. Originally it indicated, basically, a change of address, and from older times, there are numerous examples of men doing the same thing). The many patronymic names may derive from the fact that people who moved from the country to the cities, also gave up the name of the farm they came from. As a worker, you passed by your father's name, and this name passed on to the next generation as a family name. Einar Gerhardsen
Einar Gerhardsen
was a Norwegian politician from the Labour Party of Norway. He was Prime Minister for three periods, 1945–1951, 1955–1963 and 1963–1965. With 17 years in office, he is the longest serving Prime Minister in Norway since the introduction of parliamentarism...

, the Norwegian prime minister
Prime minister
A prime minister is the most senior minister of cabinet in the executive branch of government in a parliamentary system. In many systems, the prime minister selects and may dismiss other members of the cabinet, and allocates posts to members within the government. In most systems, the prime...

, used a true patronym, as his father was named Gerhard Olsen (Gerhard, the son of Ola). Gerhardsen passed his own patronym on to his children as a family name. This has been common in many working class
Working class
Working class is a term used in the social sciences and in ordinary conversation to describe those employed in lower tier jobs , often extending to those in unemployment or otherwise possessing below-average incomes...

 families. The tradition of keeping the farm name as a family name got stronger during the first half of the 20th century in Norway.

These names often indicated the place of residence of the family. For this reason, Denmark and Norway have a very high incidence of last names derived from those of farms, many signified by the suffixes like -bø, -rud, -stuen, -løkken (these being examples from Norway) or even more predominantly -gaard — the modern spelling is gård in Danish and has changed to gard in Norwegian, but as in Sweden, archaic spelling persists in surnames. The most well-known example of this kind of surname is probably Kierkegaard
Søren Kierkegaard
Søren Aabye Kierkegaard was a Danish Christian philosopher, theologian and religious author. He was a critic of idealist intellectuals and philosophers of his time, such as Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling and Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Schlegel...

(combined by the words "kirke/kierke" (= church) and "gaard" (= farm) meaning "the farm located by the Church". It is, however, a common misunderstanding that the name relates to its direct translation: churchyard/cemetery), but many others could be cited. It should also be noted that, since the names in question are derived from the original owners' domiciles, the possession of this kind of name is no longer an indicator of affinity with others who bear it.

In many cases, names were taken from the nature around them. In Norway, for instance, there is an abundancy of surnames based on coastal geography, with suffixes like -strand, -øy, -holm, -vik, -fjord or -nes. A family name such as Swedish Dahlgren is derived from "dahl" meaning valley and "gren" meaning branch; or similarly Upvall meaning "upper-valley"; It depends on the Scandinavian country, language, and dialect.

Slavic countries

Slavic countries are noted for having masculine and feminine versions for many (but not all) of their names. Most of their surnames have suffixes which are found in varying degrees over the different nations. (Of course, many other names do not have suffixes at all.)

Note: the following list does not take regional spelling variations into account.
  • -ov / -ev (-ova/-eva): Russia, Bulgaria, Republic of Macedonia, Serbia (especially frequent in Vojvodina), Croatia (rare) (sometimes as -iv in Ukraine); this has been adopted by many non-Slavic peoples of Central Asia who are or have been under Russian rule, such as the Tatars, Chechens, Kyrgyz, Uzbeks, Kazakhs, etc. Note that -ev is the soft form of -ov, found after palatalized consonants or sibilants. In English, -ev is also erroneously written after ch, even though it is pronounced -ov (Gorbachev, Khrushchev, etc.)
  • -sky (-ska), -ski (-ska), -skiy (-skaya): Poland, Ukraine, Czech Republic, Russia, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Republic of Macedonia, Serbia (especially in Vojvodina), Croatia.
  • Note that these first two can be combined: -ovsky (-ovska), -owski (-owska): Belarus, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, Ukraine, Serbia, Croatia.
  • -ich, -vich, -vych, -ovich, -owicz: Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia, Belarus, Poland, Slovakia, Ukraine, Russia, Republic of Macedonia (rare), occasionally Bulgaria. Yugoslav ex.: Petrović, means Petar's son. In Russia, where patronyms are used, a person would have two -(ov)ich names in a row; first the patronym, then the family name (see Shostakovich).
  • -in (-ina): Russia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Republic of Macedonia (rare)
  • -ko, -nko, -enko: Ukraine
    Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

    , -enkov (-enkova): Russified
    Russian language
    Russian is a Slavic language used primarily in Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Turkmenistan and Estonia and, to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics...

     of Ukrainian origin
  • -ak/-ek/-ik (-akova/-ekova/-ikova): Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Belarus, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, very rarely in Bulgaria.
  • -uk, -yuk: Ukraine
  • -ac/-ec: Slovenia (only -ec), Croatia (both versions), Serbia (only -ac), Czech Republic (only -ec), Slovakia (only -ec).

If the name has no suffix, it may or may not have a feminine version. Sometimes it has the ending changed (such as the addition of -a). In the Czech Republic and Slovakia, suffixless names, such as those of German origin, are feminized by adding -ová (for example, Schusterová), but this is not done in neighboring Poland, where feminine versions are used only for -ski (-ska) names (this includes -cki and -dzki, which are phonetically -ski preceded by a t or d respectively) and for other adjectival surnames.

Czech Republic

Names of Czech people consist of given name (křestní jméno) and surname (příjmení). Usage of the second or middle name is not common. Feminine names are usually derived from masculine ones by a suffix -ová (Nováková) or for names being originally adjectives (Veselá), sometimes with a little change of original name's ending (Sedláčková from Sedláček or Svobodová from Svoboda). Women usually change their family names when they get married. The family names are usually noun
In linguistics, a noun is a member of a large, open lexical category whose members can occur as the main word in the subject of a clause, the object of a verb, or the object of a preposition .Lexical categories are defined in terms of how their members combine with other kinds of...

s (Svoboda, Král, Růžička, Dvořák, Beneš), adjective
In grammar, an adjective is a 'describing' word; the main syntactic role of which is to qualify a noun or noun phrase, giving more information about the object signified....

s (Novotný, Černý, Veselý) or past participles of verb
A verb, from the Latin verbum meaning word, is a word that in syntax conveys an action , or a state of being . In the usual description of English, the basic form, with or without the particle to, is the infinitive...

s (Pospíšil). There is also a couple of names with more complicated origin which are actually complete sentences (Skočdopole, Hrejsemnou or Vítámvás). The most common Czech family name is Novák / Nováková.

In addition, many Czechs and some Slovaks have German surnames due to mixing between the ethnic groups over the past thousand years. Deriving women's names from German and other foreign names is often problematic since foreign names do not suit Czech language
Czech language
Czech is a West Slavic language with about 12 million native speakers; it is the majority language in the Czech Republic and spoken by Czechs worldwide. The language was known as Bohemian in English until the late 19th century...

 rules, although most commonly -ová is simply added (Schmidtová; umlauts are simply dropped), or the German name is respelled with Czech spelling (Šmitová). Hungarian names, which can be found fairly commonly among Slovaks, can also be either left unchanged (Hungarian Nagy, fem. Nagyová) or respelled according to Czech/Slovak orthography (masc. Naď, fem. Naďová).


A full Russian
The Russian people are an East Slavic ethnic group native to Russia, speaking the Russian language and primarily living in Russia and neighboring countries....

 name consists of personal (given) name, patronymic, and family name (surname).

Most Russian family names originated from patronymics, that is, father's name usually formed by adding the adjective suffix -ov(a) or -ev(a)). Contemporary patronymics, however, have a substantive suffix -ich for masculine and the adjective suffix -na for feminine.

For example, the proverbial triad of most common Russian surnames follows:
  • Ivanov (son of Ivan),
  • Petrov (son of Peter),
  • Sidorov (son of Sidor).

Feminine forms of these surnames have the ending
  • Ivanova (daughter of Ivan),
  • Petrova (daughter of Peter),
  • Sidorova (daughter of Sidor).

Such a pattern of name formation is not unique to Russia or even to the Eastern and Southern Slavs in general; quite common are also names derived from professions, places of origin, and personal characteristics, with various suffixes (e.g. -in(a) and -sky (-skaia)).

  • kuznets (smith
    Smith (metalwork)
    A metalsmith, often shortened to smith, is a person involved in making metal objects. In contemporary use a metalsmith is a person who uses metal as a material, uses traditional metalsmithing techniques , whose work thematically relates to the practice or history of the practice, or who engages in...

    ) → KuznetsovKuznetsova
  • portnoi (tailor
    A tailor is a person who makes, repairs, or alters clothing professionally, especially suits and men's clothing.Although the term dates to the thirteenth century, tailor took on its modern sense in the late eighteenth century, and now refers to makers of men's and women's suits, coats, trousers,...

    ) → PortnovPortnova
  • pastukh (shepherd
    A shepherd is a person who tends, feeds or guards flocks of sheep.- Origins :Shepherding is one of the oldest occupations, beginning some 6,000 years ago in Asia Minor. Sheep were kept for their milk, meat and especially their wool...

    ) → PastukhovPastukhova.

Places of origin:
  • Moskva (Moscow
    Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

    ) → MoskvinMoskvina, MoskovskyMoskovskaia,
  • SmolenskSmolenskySmolenskaia,
  • RiazanRiazanovRiazanova.

Personal characteristics:
  • tolsty (stout, fat) → TolstovTolstova, TolstoyTolstaya,
  • nos (nose) → NosovNosova,
  • sedoi (grey-haired or -headed) → SedovSedova.

A considerable number of “artificial” names exists, for example, those given to seminary graduates; such names were based on Great Feasts of the Orthodox Church
Great Feasts of the Orthodox Church
The feast of the Resurrection of Jesus, called Pascha , is the greatest of the feasts of the Eastern Orthodox Church. In addition, there are other days of great importance in the life of the Church - the Twelve Great Feasts ....

  or Christian virtues.

Great Orthodox Feasts:
  • rozhdestvo (Christmas) → RozhdestvenskyRozhdestvenskaia,
  • voskresenie (Resurrection) → VoskresenskyVoskresenskaia,
  • uspenie (Assumption) → UspenskyUspenskaia.

Christian virtues:
  • philagathos (one who loves goodness) → DobrolubovDobrolubova, DobrolubskyDobrolubskaia,
  • philosophos (one who loves wisdom) → LubomudrovLubomudrova,
  • theophilos (one who loves God) → BogolubovBogolubova.

Many freed serfs were given surnames after those of their former owners. For example, a serf of the Demidov
The Demidov family, also Demidoff, were an influential Russian merchant, industrialist and later chivalry family, possibly second only to the Tsar himself in wealth during the late 18th and early 19th centuries.-History:...

 family might be named Demidovsky, which translates roughly as "belonging to Demidov" or "one of Demidov's bunch".

Grammatically, Russian family names follow the same rules as other nouns or adjectives (names ending with -oy, -aya are grammatically adjectives), with exceptions: some names do not change in different cases and have the same form in both genders (for example, Sedykh, Lata).


In Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

 and most of the former Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth
Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth
The Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth was a dualistic state of Poland and Lithuania ruled by a common monarch. It was the largest and one of the most populous countries of 16th- and 17th‑century Europe with some and a multi-ethnic population of 11 million at its peak in the early 17th century...

, surnames first appeared during the late Middle Ages. They initially denoted the differences between various people living in the same town or village and bearing the same name. The conventions were similar to those of English surnames, using occupations, patronymic descent, geographic origins, or personal characteristics. Thus, early surnames indicating occupation include Karczmarz ("innkeeper"), Kowal ("blacksmith"), "Złotnik" ("gold smith") and Bednarczyk ("young cooper"), while those indicating patronymic descent include Szczepaniak ("Son of Szczepan), Józefowicz ("Son of Józef), and Kaźmirkiewicz ("Son of Kazimierz"). Similarly, early surnames like Mazur ("the one from Mazury
Masuria is an area in northeastern Poland famous for its 2,000 lakes. Geographically, Masuria is part of two adjacent lakeland districts, the Masurian Lake District and the Iława Lake District...

") indicated geographic origin, while ones like Nowak ("the new one"), Biały ("the pale one"), and Wielgus ("the big one") indicated personal characteristics.

In the early 16th century, ( the Polish Renaissance), toponymic names became common, especially among the nobility
The szlachta was a legally privileged noble class with origins in the Kingdom of Poland. It gained considerable institutional privileges during the 1333-1370 reign of Casimir the Great. In 1413, following a series of tentative personal unions between the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Kingdom of...

. Initially, the surnames were in a form of "[first name] z ("de", "of") [location]". Later, most surnames were changed to adjective forms, e.g. Jakub Wiślicki ("James of Wiślica
Wiślica is a village in Busko County, Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship, in south-central Poland. It is the seat of the gmina called Gmina Wiślica. It lies on the Nida River, approximately south of Busko-Zdrój and south of the regional capital Kielce...

") and Zbigniew Oleśnicki ("Zbigniew of Oleśnica
Oleśnica is a town in the Trzebnickie Hills in southwestern Poland with 36,951 inhabitants . It is situated in Lower Silesian Voivodeship...

"), with masculine suffixes -ski, -cki, -dzki and -icz or respective feminine suffixes -ska, -cka, -dzka and -icz on the east of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Names formed this way are adjectives grammatically, and therefore change their form depending on sex; for example, Jan Kowalski and Maria Kowalska collectively use the plural Kowalscy.

Names with masculine suffixes -ski, -cki, and -dzki, and corresponding feminine suffixes -ska, -cka, and -dzka became associated with noble origin. Many people from lower classes successively changed their surnames to fit this pattern. This produced many Kowalskis, Bednarskis, Kaczmarskis and so on. Today, although most Polish speakers do not know about noble associations of -ski, -cki, -dzki and -icz endings, such names still somehow sound better to them.

A separate class of surnames derive from the names of noble clans
The szlachta was a legally privileged noble class with origins in the Kingdom of Poland. It gained considerable institutional privileges during the 1333-1370 reign of Casimir the Great. In 1413, following a series of tentative personal unions between the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Kingdom of...

. These are used either as separate names or the first part of a double-barrelled name. Thus, persons named Jan Nieczuja and Krzysztof Nieczuja-Machocki might be related. Similarly, after World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 and World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, many members of Polish underground organizations adopted their war-time pseudonyms as the first part of their surnames. Edward Rydz thus became Marshal of Poland
Marshal of Poland
Marshal of Poland is the highest rank in the Polish Army. It has been granted to only six officers. At present, this rank is equivalent to a Field Marshal or General of the Army in other NATO armies.-History:...

 Edward Śmigły-Rydz and Zdzisław Jeziorański became Jan Nowak-Jeziorański
Jan Nowak-Jezioranski
Jan Nowak-Jeziorański was a Polish journalist, writer, politician, social worker and patriot. He served during the Second World War as one of the most notable resistance fighters of the Home Army...


South Slavs

Surnames of some South Slavic
South Slavs
The South Slavs are the southern branch of the Slavic peoples and speak South Slavic languages. Geographically, the South Slavs are native to the Balkan peninsula, the southern Pannonian Plain and the eastern Alps...

 groups such as Serbs
The Serbs are a South Slavic ethnic group of the Balkans and southern Central Europe. Serbs are located mainly in Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and form a sizable minority in Croatia, the Republic of Macedonia and Slovenia. Likewise, Serbs are an officially recognized minority in...

, Croats
Croats are a South Slavic ethnic group mostly living in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and nearby countries. There are around 4 million Croats living inside Croatia and up to 4.5 million throughout the rest of the world. Responding to political, social and economic pressure, many Croats have...

, Montenegrins, and Bosniaks
The Bosniaks or Bosniacs are a South Slavic ethnic group, living mainly in Bosnia and Herzegovina, with a smaller minority also present in other lands of the Balkan Peninsula especially in Serbia, Montenegro and Croatia...

 traditionally end with the suffixes "-ić" and "-vić" (often transliterated to English and other western languages as "ic", "ich", "vic" or "vich". The v is added in case the name to which "-ić" follows ends on a vowel, to avoid double vowels with the "i" in "-ić".) which are a diminutive indicating descent i.e. "son of." In some cases family name was derived from a profession (e.g. blacksmith - "Kovač" → "Kovačević").

In general family names in all of these countries follow this pattern with some family names being typically Serbian, some typically Croat and yet others being common throughout the whole linguistic region.

Children usually inherit fathers family name. In older naming convention which was common in Serbia
Serbia , officially the Republic of Serbia , is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Carpathian basin and the central part of the Balkans...

 up until mid-19th century a person's name would consist of three distinct parts: the person's given name, the patronymic derived from father's personal name, and the family name, as seen in for example in the name of language reformer Vuk Stefanović Karadžić
Vuk Stefanovic Karadžic
Vuk Stefanović Karadžić was a Serbian philolog and linguist, the major reformer of the Serbian language, and deserves, perhaps, for his collections of songs, fairy tales, and riddles to be called the father of the study of Serbian folklore. He was the author of the first Serbian dictionary...


Official family names do not have distinct male or female forms. The somewhat archaic unofficial form of adding suffixes to family names to form female form exists, with -eva, implying "daughter of" or "female descendant of" or -ka, implying "wife of" or "married to".

Bosniak Muslim names follow the same formation pattern but are usually derived from proper names of Islamic origin, often combining archaic Islamic or feudal Turkish titles i.e. Mulaomerović, Šabanović, Hadžihafizbegović etc. Also related to Islamic influence is prefix Hadži
Hajji or El-Hajj, is an honorific title given to a Muslim person who has successfully completed the Hajj to Mecca, and is often used to refer to an elder, since it can take time to accumulate the wealth to fund the travel. The title is placed before a person's name...

found in some family names. Regardless of religion, this prefix was derived from the honorary title which a distinguished ancestor earned by making a pilgrimage to either Christian or Islamic holy places. Hadžibegić, being Bosniak Muslim example.

In Croatia
Croatia , officially the Republic of Croatia , is a unitary democratic parliamentary republic in Europe at the crossroads of the Mitteleuropa, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean. Its capital and largest city is Zagreb. The country is divided into 20 counties and the city of Zagreb. Croatia covers ...

 where tribal affiliations persisted longer, Lika
Lika is a mountainous region in central Croatia, roughly bound by the Velebit mountain from the southwest and the Plješevica mountain from the northeast. On the north-west end Lika is bounded by Ogulin-Plaški basin, and on the south-east by the Malovan pass...

, Herzegovina
Herzegovina is the southern region of Bosnia and Herzegovina. While there is no official border distinguishing it from the Bosnian region, it is generally accepted that the borders of the region are Croatia to the west, Montenegro to the south, the canton boundaries of the Herzegovina-Neretva...

 etc., original family name came to signify practically all people living in one area or holding of the nobles. The Šubić
The Šubić were one of the twelve tribes which constituted Croatian statehood in the Middle Ages; they held the county of Bribir in inland Dalmatia.-Origins:...

 family owned land around the Zrin River in the Central Croatian region of Banovina. The surname became Šubić Zrinski, the most famous being Nikola Šubić Zrinski
Nikola Šubic Zrinski
Nikola Šubić Zrinski , was a Croatian nobleman and general in service of Habsburg Monarchy, ban of Croatia from 1542 to 1556, and member of the Zrinski noble family...


Due to discriminatory laws in Austro-Hungarian Empire some of Serb families of Vojvodina
Vojvodina, officially called Autonomous Province of Vojvodina is an autonomous province of Serbia. Its capital and largest city is Novi Sad...

 have discarded suffix - in an attempt to mask their ethnicity and avoid heavy taxation.

Among the Bulgarians
The Bulgarians are a South Slavic nation and ethnic group native to Bulgaria and neighbouring regions. Emigration has resulted in immigrant communities in a number of other countries.-History and ethnogenesis:...

, another South Slavic people, the typical surname suffix is "-ov" (Ivanov, Kovachev), although other popular suffixes also exist.

In the Republic of Macedonia
Republic of Macedonia
Macedonia , officially the Republic of Macedonia , is a country located in the central Balkan peninsula in Southeast Europe. It is one of the successor states of the former Yugoslavia, from which it declared independence in 1991...

, the most popular suffix today is "-ski".

Slovenes have a great variety of surnames, most of them differentiated according to region. Surnames ending in -ič are less frequent than among Croats and Serbs. There are typically Slovenian surnames ending in -ič, such as Blažič, Stanič, Marušič
Marušič is a Slovene surname, mostly present in western Slovenia and in the Slovene-inhabited areas of Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy. The name derives from the female personal name Maruša, which is a diminutive of Marija, Mary...

. Many Slovenian surnames, especially in the Slovenian Littoral
Slovenian Littoral
The Slovenian Littoral is a historical region of Slovenia. Its name recalls the historical Habsburg crown land of the Austrian Littoral, of which the Slovenian Littoral was a part....

, end in -čič (Gregorčič, Kocijančič, Miklavčič, etc.), which is uncommon for other South Slavic peoples. On the other hand, surname endings in -ski and -ov are rare, and are usually of foreign (mostly Czech) origin. One of the most typical Slovene surname endings is -nik (Rupnik, Pučnik, Plečnik, Pogačnik, Podobnik) and other used surname endings are -lin (Pavlin, Mehlin, Ahlin, Ferlin), -ar (Mlakar, Ravnikar, Smrekar Tisnikar) and -lj ( Rugelj, Pucelj, Bagatelj, Bricelj). Many Slovenian surnames are linked to Medieval rural settlement patterns. Surnames like Novak (literally, "the new one") or Hribar (from hrib, hill) were given to the peasants settled in newly established farms, usually in high mountains. Peasant families were also named according to the owner of the land which they cultivated: thus, the surname Kralj (King) or Cesar (Emperor) was given to those working on royal estates, Škof (Bishop) or Vidmar to those working on ecclesiastical lands, etc. Many Slovenian surnames are named after animals (Medved - bear, Volk, Vovk or Vouk - wolf, Golob - pigeon, Lisjak - fox, Orel - eagle, Zajc or Zajec - rabbit, etc.). Many are named after neighbouring peoples: Horvat
Horvat is the most frequent surname in Croatia and 2nd most frequent in Slovenia. The surname originates from Croatia, Horvat being the older version of the word Hrvat, a term used to describe a Croat. Croats with surname Horvat live almost exclusively in kajkavian speaking region...

, Hrovat, or Hrovatin (Croat), Furlan (Friulian
Friulians or Furlans are a linguistic minority living in Italy and elsewhere. About 530,000 of them live in the provinces of Udine and Pordenone and in parts of Gorizia and Venice. Their language, the Friulian language, is the second largest minority language in Italy. About 170,000 Friulians live...

), Nemec (German), Lah (Italian), Vogrin, Vogrič or Vogrinčič (Hungarian), Vošnjak (Bosnian), Čeh (Czech), Turk (Turk), or different Slovene regions: Kranjc, Kranjec or Krajnc (from Carniola
Carniola was a historical region that comprised parts of what is now Slovenia. As part of Austria-Hungary, the region was a crown land officially known as the Duchy of Carniola until 1918. In 1849, the region was subdivided into Upper Carniola, Lower Carniola, and Inner Carniola...

), Kraševec (from the Kras
Karst ; also known as the Karst Plateau, is a limestone borderline plateau region extending in southwestern Slovenia and northeastern Italy. It lies between the Vipava Valley, the low hills surrounding the valley, the westernmost part of the Brkini Hills, northern Istria, and the Gulf of Trieste...

), Korošec (from Carinthia), Kočevar or Hočevar (from the Gottschee county
Gottschee County
Gottschee County refers to the former German speaking region in the Duchy of Carniola , a crownland of the Habsburg Empire, located in modern day Slovenia...


Ukraine and Belarus

Ukrainian and Belarusian names evolved from the same Old East Slavic and Ruthenian language
Ruthenian language
Ruthenian, or Old Ruthenian , is a term used for the varieties of Eastern Slavonic spoken in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and later in the East Slavic territories of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth....

 (western Rus’
Rus' (people)
The Rus' were a group of Varangians . According to the Primary Chronicle of Rus, compiled in about 1113 AD, the Rus had relocated from the Baltic region , first to Northeastern Europe, creating an early polity which finally came under the leadership of Rurik...

) origins. Ukrainian and Belarusian names share many characteristics with family names from other Slavic cultures. Most prominent are the shared root words and suffixes. For example, the root koval (blacksmith) compares to the Polish kowal
Kowalski is the second most common surname in Poland . During the previous century it was the most common name. Jan Kowalski are synonymous with John Doe or John Smith in English-speaking countries....

, and the root bab (woman) is shared with Polish, Slovakian, and Czech. The suffix -vych (son of) corresponds to the South Slavic -vic, the Russian -vich, and the Polish -wicz, while -sky, -ski, and -ska are shared with both Polish and Russian, and -ak with Polish.

However some suffixes are more uniquely characteristic to Ukrainian and Belarusian names, especially: -chuk (Western Ukraine
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

), -enko (all other Ukraine) (both son of), -ko (little [masculine]), -ka (little [feminine]), -shyn, and -uk. See, for example, Mihalko
The name Mihalko originates from Hungary, Belarus and Ukraine. The majority of the Mihalko families in the United States are located in the northeastern portion, primarily concentrated in the state of Pennsylvania.-Coat of arms:...

, Ukrainian Presidents Leonid Kravchuk
Leonid Kravchuk
Leonid Makarovych Kravchuk is a Ukrainian politician, the first President of Ukraine serving from December 5, 1991 until his resignation on July 19, 1994, a former Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada and People's Deputy of Ukraine serving in the Social Democratic Party of Ukraine faction.After a...

, and Viktor Yushchenko
Viktor Yushchenko
Viktor Andriyovych Yushchenko is a former President of Ukraine. He took office on January 23, 2005, following a period of popular unrest known as the Orange Revolution...

, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko
Alexander Lukashenko
Alexander Grigoryevich Lukashenko has been serving as the President of Belarus since 20 July 1994. Before his career as a politician, Lukashenko worked as director of a state-owned agricultural farm. Under Lukashenko's rule, Belarus has come to be viewed as a state whose conduct is out of line...

, or former Soviet diplomat Andrei Gromyko
Andrei Gromyko
Andrei Andreyevich Gromyko was a Soviet statesman during the Cold War. He served as Minister of Foreign Affairs and as Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet . Gromyko was responsible for many top decisions on Soviet foreign policy until he retired in 1987. In the West he was given the...



In Burundi and Rwanda, most, if not all surnames have God in it, for example Hakizimana (meaning God cures), Nshimirimana (I thank God) or Havyarimana/Habyarimana (God gives birth). But not all surnames end with the suffix -imana. Irakoze is one of these (technically meaning Thank God, though it is hard to translate it correctly in English or probably any other language). Surnames are often different among immediate family members, as parents frequently choose unique surnames for each child, and women keep their maiden names when married. Surnames are placed before given names and frequently written in capital letters, e.g. HAKIZIMANA Jacques.


The patronymic custom in most of Eritrea
Eritrea , officially the State of Eritrea, is a country in the Horn of Africa. Eritrea derives it's name from the Greek word Erethria, meaning 'red land'. The capital is Asmara. It is bordered by Sudan in the west, Ethiopia in the south, and Djibouti in the southeast...

 and Ethiopia
Ethiopia , officially known as the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is a country located in the Horn of Africa. It is the second-most populous nation in Africa, with over 82 million inhabitants, and the tenth-largest by area, occupying 1,100,000 km2...

 gives children the father's first name as their surname. The family then gives the child its first name. Middle names are unknown. So, for example, a person's name might be Bereket Mekonen . In this case, Bereket is the first name and Mekonen is the surname, and also the first name of the father.

The paternal grandfather's name is often used if there is a requirement to identify a person further, for example, in school registration. Also, different cultures and tribes use as the family's name the father's or grandfather's given name. For example, some Oromos use Warra Ali to mean families of Ali, where Ali, is either the householder, a father or grandfather.

In Ethiopia, the customs surrounding the bestowal and use of family names is as varied and complex as the cultures to be found there. There are so many cultures, nations or tribes, that currently there can be no one formula whereby to demonstrate a clear pattern of Ethiopian family names. In general, however, Ethiopians use their father's name as a surname in most instances where identification is necessary, sometimes employing both father's and grandfather's names together where exigency dictates.

Many people in Eritrea have Italian surnames, but all of these are owned by Eritreans of Italian descent
Italian Eritreans
Italian Eritreans are Eritrean-born descendants of Italian settlers as well as Italian long-term residents in Eritrea.-History:...



Jewish names have historically varied, encompassing throughout the centuries several different traditions. The most usual last name for those of the priest tribe is "Cohen"/"Kahen"/"Kogan"/"Kohen"/"Katz" (a Hebrew acronym of Kohen Tzedek, or righteous Kohen) and for those of the Levite
In Jewish tradition, a Levite is a member of the Hebrew tribe of Levi. When Joshua led the Israelites into the land of Canaan, the Levites were the only Israelite tribe that received cities but were not allowed to be landowners "because the Lord the God of Israel himself is their inheritance"...

s, "Levi"/"Levine". Those who came from Europe usually have "Rosen"("rose"), "Speil", "Gold", and other German words as their names' prefixes, and "man", "wyn"/"wein"("wine"), "berg"("mountain"), and
other German words as their names' suffixes. Most Sephardic Jews adopted Arabic names, like "Azizi"("you're [someones] love"), "Hassan
Hassan (surname)
Hassan Hassan Hassan (also spelled Hasan, Hassen, Hasson, Hassin, Hassine, Hacen, Hasen, Hasin, Hass, Hassa, Hasa, Haas, Cassin, Chassan, Chasan, Chasson, Chason, Khassan, Khasan, Cassan, Casan, Hasso, Hassanein, Hasnen, Hassani, Hasani,...

" or added words to their original names, like "Kohenzadeh"("[she] bore a Kohen"). Names like "Johnson" and "Peterson"("Peter" not included) come from the Jewish tradition to use the father's name as identification. So "Johnson" in Hebrew is "Ben Yochanon", meaning "Yochanon(John)'s son".


These groups of people make up a similar ethnic body with deep and long roots in the Middle East, mainly present-day Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

 and Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

. Surnames come from the Aramaic languages of these Chaldean, Assyrian, and Syriac people. Some surnames are connected to Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

, the religion Chaldeans, Assyrians, and Syriacs currently follow and have followed since its beginnings.

Common surnames include: Ablahat, Aboona, Abraham, Abro, Alamasha, Alamshah, Alawerdy, Aldawood, Amoo, Amu, Antar, Aprim, Asfar, Ashouri, Ashurian, Awshalum, Aziz, Azzo, Baaba, Bacchus, Badal, Balou, Barkoo, Benyamin, Bidavid, Bidawid, Cabani,Dankha,Desho, Duman, Elia, Elias, Enwiga, Eshai, Farhad, Gorges, Gewargis, Hasso
Hassan (surname)
Hassan Hassan Hassan (also spelled Hasan, Hassen, Hasson, Hassin, Hassine, Hacen, Hasen, Hasin, Hass, Hassa, Hasa, Haas, Cassin, Chassan, Chasan, Chasson, Chason, Khassan, Khasan, Cassan, Casan, Hasso, Hassanein, Hasnen, Hassani, Hasani,...

, Hermes, Hormis, Hosanna, Hurmis, Ibrahim, Isaac, Ishaq, Iskhaq, Jacoub, Josep, Karam, Karoukian, Khamis, Khanbaba, Khanisho, Khedroo, Khubiar, Koshaba, Malech, Malek, Malick, Matti, Mieza, Mikhail, Mnashi, Neesan, Odah, Odisha, Odisho, Oraham, Oshana, Samo, Sargis, Sarkis, Sayad, Semma, Shabas, Shamun, Shamoon, Shimon, Shimonaya, Sleman, Sliwoo, Tematheus, Thoma, Thomaya, Urshan, Warda, Wyrda, Yacoub, Yawalaha, Yelda, Yohannan, Yonan, Yoseph, Youkhana, Younan, Yousif, and Yukhannan.


The majority of Kurds do not hold Kurdish names because the names have been banned in the countries they primarily live in (namely Iran, Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

 and Syria). Kurds in these respective countries tend to hold Turkish, Persian or Arabic names, in the majority of cases, forcefully appointed by the ruling governments. Others hold Arabic names as a result of the influence of Islam and Arab culture.

Kurds holding authentic Kurdish names are generally found in Diaspora or in Iraqi Kurdistan
Iraqi Kurdistan
Iraqi Kurdistan or Kurdistan Region is an autonomous region of Iraq. It borders Iran to the east, Turkey to the north, Syria to the west and the rest of Iraq to the south. The regional capital is Arbil, known in Kurdish as Hewlêr...

 where Kurds are relatively free. Traditionally, Kurdish family names are inherited from the tribes of which the individual or families are members. However, some families inherit the names of the regions they are from.

Common affixes of authentic Kurdish names are "i" and "zade".

Some common Kurdish last names, which are also the names of their respective tribes, include Baradost, Barzani, Berwari, Berzinji, Chelki, Diri, Doski, Jaf, Mutki, Rami, Rekani, Rozaki, Sindi, and Tovi. Other names include Akreyi, Alan, Amedi, Botani, Hewrami, Mukri, and Serhati.

Traditionally, Kurdish women did not inherit a man's last name. Although still not in practice by many Kurds, this can be more commonly found today.


Tibetan people are often named at birth by the local Buddhist Lama or they may request a name from the Dalai Lama. They do not often use family name though many have one. They may change their name throughout life if advised by a Buddhist Lama, for example if a different name removes obstacles. The Tibetans who enter monastic life take a name from their ordination Lama, which will be a combination of the Lama's name and a new name for them.

North Caucasian Adyghe family surnames

In the case of Circassians, especially Adyges and Kabardians, hereditary surnames have been borne by people for thousands of years. All Circassian people belong to a Clan.

Most surnames of Adyge origin fall into six types:
  • Occupations (e.g., 'smith', 'hunter', 'tailor')
  • Personal characteristics (e.g., 'short', 'deaf', 'beautiful')
  • Geographical features (e.g., 'hill', 'river', 'cave', 'wood', 'fields')
  • Animal names (e.g., 'bear', 'horse', 'snake', 'fox', 'wild boar')
  • Patronymics and ancestry, often from a male's given name ('son of...') or from an ethnic name (e.g., Shapsug, Kabardey)
  • Religious names (e.g., Shogen 'Priest', Yefendi 'Efendi', Mole 'Mullah')

Shogen comes from the Christian era, and Yefendi and Mole come from the Muslim era.

Circassian women, even when they marry, do not change their surnames. By keeping their surnames and passing it on to the next generation, children come to distinguish relatives from the maternal side and respect her family as well as those from their father's side.

On the other hand, children cannot marry someone who bears the same surname as they do, no matter how distantly related.

In the Circassian tradition, the formula for surnames is patterned to mean “daughter of ...”

Abkhaz families follow similar naming patterns reflecting the common roots of the Abkhazian, Adygean and Wubikh peoples.

Circassian family names cannot be derived from women's names and of the name of female ancestors.

See also

  • Extinction of surnames
  • Family history
    Family history
    Family history is the systematic narrative and research of past events relating to a specific family, or specific families.- Introduction :...

  • Family name affixes
    Family name affixes
    Family name affixes are a clue for family name etymology and can sometimes determine the ethnic origin of a person. This is a partial list of affixes.-Prefixes:* A- "son of"* Ab - "son of"...

  • German family name etymology
    German family name etymology
    German family names were introduced during the late Middle Ages in the German language area. Usually, such family names are derived from nicknames. In etymology, they are generally classified into four groups, based on the origin of a nickname: given names, job designations, bodily attributes, and...

  • Legal name
    Legal name
    Legal name is the name that an individual is given at birth and/or recognized by a government or other legal entity, or which appears on a birth certificate , marriage certificate , or other government issued document on which a legal name change is evidenced and...

  • List of common Chinese surnames
  • List of most common surnames
  • List of personal naming conventions
  • Married and maiden names
    Married and maiden names
    A married name is the family name adopted by a person upon marriage. When a person assumes the family name of her spouse, the new name replaces the maiden name....

  • Matriname
    Matrilineal surnames, or equivalently matrinames, are inherited or handed down from mother to daughter in matrilineal cultures, and this line of descent or "mother line" is called a matriline...

  • Name change
    Name change
    Name change generally refers to a legal act allowing a person to adopt a name different than their name at birth, marriage, or adoption. The procedures and ease of a name change depend on the jurisdiction. In general, common law jurisdictions have loose limitations on name changes while civil law...

  • One-name study
    One-name study
    A one-name study is a project researching a specific surname, as opposed to a particular pedigree or descendancy...

  • Surname map
    Surname map
    Surname maps are maps which display and indicate the highest concentration of residents with a particular surname, or set of surnames. This information can be useful for studying the current or historic distribution of surnames, and occasionally their origin. Surname maps are generally created...

  • T-V distinction
    T-V distinction
    In sociolinguistics, a T–V distinction is a contrast, within one language, between second-person pronouns that are specialized for varying levels of politeness, social distance, courtesy, familiarity, or insult toward the addressee....

  • Scandinavian family name etymology
    Scandinavian family name etymology
    Heritable family names were generally adopted rather late within Scandinavia. Nobility were the first to take names that would be passed on from one generation to the next. Later, clergy, artisans and merchants in cities took heritable names...

External links

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