Do you have one of these rare last names in your family tree?

The first thing most people do when starting a family history project is to research their own surname. And, even though we may only learn a small part of our family’s past by doing so, it is always a fascinating undertaking. Our surname, whether it’s a rare name or a name you share with thousands of others, connects us to the generations that came before and it can be a lot of fun to know where it originated.

If you’re lucky enough to have an unusual last name, it can make researching yours past a little easier (or harder, depending on who you ask). After all, there were certainly more women named “Mary Brown” than “Mary Neidherges” in older records. But even if your last name is common, you’re lucky enough to have some rare gems in your family tree. If you’ve been doing research for a while, you know what they are.

Curious about how rare your surname is? If so, many of you have probably used Ancestry’s fun tool to see how the distribution of various last names has changed throughout American history (with data available between 1840 and 1920), But did you know that the US Census Bureau provides more recent information on surname usage?

Do you have one of these rare last names in your family tree?
Do you have one of these rare last names in your family tree?

The bureau tracks the frequency of surnames reported by Americans every ten years, and compiles census surname tables for 1990, 2000, and 2010 census returns. You can download the latest data, a spreadsheet of surnames, and the exact number of claimants, right here.

Interestingly, the five most common American last names as of 2010 (data from the 2020 census is not yet available) haven’t changed that much over time and are Smith, Johnson, Williams, Brown, and Jones. But the bureau also compiled a list of the fastest-growing surnames in the United States, and they include Zhang, Li, Ali, Liu, and Khan — a testament to our nation’s amazing diversity.

According to Bureau statistics, there were about 6.3 million different surnames in the United States in 2010. And unfortunately, they don’t share the rarest of these names (those that belong to fewer than 100 people), they share those last. Let’s share the name with only 100 entries. So we can’t know for sure what the rarest last name is, but we can get close.

The list below is a selection of these unusual last names, of which there are a little over 1200. To see them all you’ll need to download the full list here and scroll down to find out the nicknames held by the fewest people. Us.

Here List: of Russian surnames

Based on the 2010 Census, here are 100 of the most common last names in the United States

  1. Konietzko
  2. Kronbach
  3. Kustka
  4. Lahde
  5. Latcha
  6. Leneghan
  7. Llama
  8. Luettgen
  9. Madris
  10. Maloles
  11. Marudas
  12. Mccallops
  13. Melgren
  14. Mickelberg
  15. Mishchuk
  16. Mosheyev
  17. Naese
  18. Nierling
  19. Occhialini
  20. Ollenburger
  21. Owsinski
  22. Panchak
  23. Pegany
  24. Petrunich
  25. Ploense
  26. Protich
  27. Ragsdill
  28. Reat
  29. Riggie
  30. Rugger
  31. Salotto
  32. Scheben
  33. Schoellman
  34. Serranogarcia
  35. Shuldberg
  36. Skalbeck
  37. Snearl
  38. Spedoske
  39. Stawarski
  40. Stolly
  41. Suco
  42. Tahhan
  43. Tartal
  44. Throndsen
  45. Torsney
  46. Tuffin
  47. Usoro
  48. Vanidestine
  49. Viglianco
  50. Vozenilek
  1. Afify
  2. Allaband
  3. Amspoker
  4. Ardolf
  5. Atonal
  6. Banasiewicz
  7. Beischel
  8. Bidelspach
  9. Bombardo
  10. Bressett
  11. Bullara
  12. Calascione
  13. Carpiniello
  14. Chaparala
  15. Chorro
  16. Clyborne
  17. Concord
  18. Cripple
  19. Dallarosa
  20. Delatejera
  21. Denetsosie
  22. Dierksheide
  23. Dolivo
  24. Doxon
  25. Duckstein
  26. Ekundayo
  27. Eswaran
  28. Featheringham
  29. Feyrer
  30. Floding
  31. Freling
  32. Gancayco
  33. Gayhardt
  34. Gessele
  35. Ginart
  36. Goscicki
  37. Grigoras
  38. Guillebeaux
  39. Hanschu
  40. Hayda
  41. Henris
  42. Hinsen
  43. Hoig
  44. Hulls
  45. Ionadi
  46. Javernick
  47. Jonguitud
  48. Kasprak
  49. Kentala
  50. Kleinhaus

Best Rare Last Names 2024

  1. Ashbourne – Meaning “burning ash”
  2. Blackthorn – Refers to a type of thorny shrub
  3. Crestwood – A wooded area with a prominent crest
  4. Duskfield – Twilight or evening field
  5. Emberley – Derived from “ember,” meaning a small piece of burning coal
  6. Falconridge – A high ridge where falcons might dwell
  7. Frostvale – A valley known for its frosty climate
  8. Galewood – A forest with strong winds
  9. Hawksworth – A settlement where hawks are abundant
  10. Icebourne – A place characterized by icy conditions
  11. Jadelake – A lake with jade-colored waters
  12. Kestrelhaven – A safe haven for kestrels
  13. Larkspire – A tall structure where larks might perch
  14. Moonshadow – The shadow cast by the moon
  15. Nightshade – A poisonous plant associated with darkness
  16. Oakheart – A strong and sturdy heart, like an oak tree
  17. Peregrin – From the Latin word “peregrinus,” meaning traveler or pilgrim
  18. Quillen – A surname with associations to writing or scribing
  19. Rainfield – A field often blessed with rain
  20. Stormcrest – The highest point during a storm
  21. Thornebrooke – A brook surrounded by thorny vegetation
  22. Uplandia – Refers to elevated or highland areas
  23. Valewood – A wooded valley
  24. Windmere – A pleasant place with a gentle wind
  25. Xanther – A unique and mysterious-sounding name
  26. Yarrowfield – A field where yarrow plants grow
  27. Zephyrson – The son of the west wind (Zephyr)
  28. Astralyn – A celestial or starry surname
  29. Bramblewood – A forest with thorny undergrowth
  30. Celestria – Derived from “celestial,” meaning heavenly
  31. Driftwood – Wood floating in the water or washed ashore
  32. Everglen – A perpetually green and lush glen
  33. Fairhaven – A beautiful and welcoming haven
  34. Glimmerstone – A stone that glimmers or shines
  35. Halloway – A sacred or holy path or road
  36. Ironhart – A surname reflecting strength and resilience
  37. Juniperhill – A hill covered with juniper trees
  38. Kindlebrook – A brook where fires are lit or kindled
  39. Loomis – Meaning “luminary” or a source of light
  40. Mistbourne – A place often covered in mist
  41. Nighthaven – A peaceful haven during the night
  42. Oakenfold – A fold or enclosed area with oak trees
  43. Pendleton – A settlement near a hill or mound
  44. Quicksilver – A reference to the liquid metal mercury
  45. Rivenstone – A stone that appears split or divided
  46. Seraphine – Derived from “seraph,” a type of angel
  47. Thistledown – The downy material attached to thistle seeds
  48. Umbermere – A dark or shadowy lake
  49. Verdantwood – A lush and green woodland
  50. Wilderose – A wild or untamed rose
  51. Xenophon – A unique and ancient-sounding name
  52. Yesteryear – A surname evoking a sense of the past
  53. Zephyrina – Feminine form of Zephyr, the west wind
  54. Avalonheart – A heart associated with the mythical island of Avalon
  55. Bellamoor – Beautiful moorland or open country
  56. Crescentmoon – Shaped like a crescent moon
  57. Drakewood – A forest with associations to dragons
  58. Echowind – Wind that echoes or resonates
  59. Falconheart – A heart as bold and fierce as a falcon
  60. Gossamer – Delicate or light, like a gossamer thread
  61. Hearthstone – A stone used for a hearth or fireplace
  62. Illusionary – Creating illusions or deceptive appearances
  63. Jesterwood – A place associated with jesters or humor
  64. Kithrill – A combination of “kith” (friends) and “thrill”
  65. Lunadale – A dale or valley under the influence of the moon
  66. Mysticgrove – A mysterious and magical grove of trees
  67. Nightshade – A poisonous plant associated with darkness (repeated for variety)
  68. Opaline – Resembling or having qualities of opal
  69. Pyrocrest – A crest or peak associated with fire
  70. Quasar – A powerful and energetic astronomical object
  71. Rhapsody – A surname with musical or poetic connotations
  72. Starglow – Glowing like the stars in the night sky
  73. Tidewalker – One who walks along the tide or shoreline
  74. Umbralight – A light that exists in shadows or darkness
  75. Vellichor – The strange wistfulness of used bookstores
  76. Winterbourne – A stream that flows in the winter
  77. Xylograph – A surname associated with wood engraving
  78. Yggdrasil – The mythical world tree in Norse mythology
  79. Zenithcrest – The highest point or culmination
  80. Aetherstorm – A storm associated with the upper atmosphere
  81. Berylline – Resembling or related to the mineral beryl
  82. Cipher – A secret or mysterious code
  83. Dusktreader – One who walks or reads during dusk
  84. Ecliptic – A path associated with eclipses or celestial events
  85. Feywood – A woodland inhabited by mythical creatures (fey)
  86. Gleamingstone – A stone that gleams or shines brightly
  87. Hyacinth – A flowering plant associated with rebirth
  88. Ivorymoon – A moon that appears ivory or pale
  89. Jovian – Pertaining to Jupiter or Jove in Roman mythology
  90. Kindleflame – A flame that is easily kindled or ignited
  91. Luminara – A luminous or radiant surname
  92. Moonshiver – A shiver or tremor associated with the moon
  93. Nebulon – A celestial or cosmic-themed surname
  94. Orpheus – Named after the legendary musician in Greek mythology
  95. Polaris – The North Star, often used for navigation
  96. Quellion – A surname suggesting the calming or quelling of something
  97. Radiantorchid – A vibrant and radiant shade of orchid color
  98. Solstice – A point in time when the sun is at its highest or lowest
  99. Thunderforge – A forge or crafting place associated with thunder
  100. Zirconia – Resembling or related to the gemstone zircon

Interested in researching your surname or your family tree?

Researching the origins of last names in your family tree can be a fascinating journey and well worth the effort. We suggest sharing what you can about your family’s past first to clear up the confusion and help you get started.

It’s easy to guess what your family name might reveal about your ancestry if you’re not careful. Know that a name, no matter how rare, can have many origins. Make sure you take the time to research the line (often paternal in the US, but not always) that provides you with your surname. See where this family line takes you before you make a judgment about what it might mean.

How can I search a family tree with rare last names?

Researching a family tree that includes rare last names should be done in the same way as any other tree. You will want to start by interviewing family members for details about recent individuals (parents, grandparents, etc.) and then enter this information into a concrete family tree program. Research each person carefully, adding as much factual data as you can to prove it (and always record your sources).

As you work backward in your tree, more and more information will become available through your own research and presentation of record suggestions (if using trees that provide them, help with See the article linked above about family tree programs for. Sometimes it only takes a few generations for you to see where a surname originated – other times you may have to research further back, especially if you have early American colonial ancestors.

Once you can trace the origins of your unusual last name, you’ll be able to do better research on the people who bear it and perhaps even find out why it was coined (many surnames originated in recent Is).

Learning that you only share your surname with a small group of people can be exciting and may help you uncover forgotten stories about your family. For more help building a family tree so you can get started with your research, read our Quick Guide to Building a Family Tree or consider taking an online course.

Here List: Unique last name

FAQ: rare last names in your family tree?

What is the most rare last name?

Based on the 2010 Census, here are 100 of the most common last names in the United States

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