Surname Baby Names Welcome the Next Wave
Surname baby names have a whole family full of new members. In each generation, a fresh set of last names crosses over into the pool of surnames, from aristocratic families (Sidney, Howard) to patriotic heroes (Lee, Grant) to modern trends for occupational and “son” names (looking at you, Taylor and Jackson).
The great thing is that the pool of surnames is so large — and ever more diverse — that there are always more to discover.
Sure, they don’t all make good first names. I know families called Beer, Small and Bottomley, but I doubt any babies will get those as honor names. Even so, surnames give us hundreds of options that people will recognize and be able to spell, yet you won’t find on many other children.
Whether you’re hoping to honor someone or just searching for a cool name that no one else has discovered yet, we’ve got inspiration for you. Here’s a selection of fresh alternatives to six of the most popular surname names.
Instead of Everett…
Instead of Jackson…
The “son” names are one of the most popular categories of surname names. For boys, as well as Jackson, there’s Grayson, Hudson, Carson, Jameson, Bryson – and that’s only in the Top 100. The biggest for girls are Madison, Addison and Emerson. Fortunately, there are plenty more that are familiar but not too popular as first names.
Gilson — Gilbert is a darling vintage name, but this derived surname brings it up to date.
Instead of Lennox…
Every generation has its favorite Scottish surnames. Last century, it was the likes of Gordon and Keith. A decade or two ago, Mackenzie and Cameron were at their peak, and today parents are turning to unisex options like Blair and Lennox. But in the richness of Scottish family names, there are still many underused possibilities.
Cairns — On-trend S ending? Check. Cool surfer vibes? Check. Ever appeared on the charts? Nope.
Forbes — Here’s another name with that stylish ending and a businesslike vibe, thanks to the magazine.
Guthrie — This is from a place name meaning “windy place”.
Macleod — Behind the unusual spelling, this clan name has an appealing pronunciation, “Ma-cloud”.
Instead of Lincoln…
Lincoln, Madison, Kennedy, Truman… presidential surnames are a well-used category of names. How about some lesser-used surnames from politics? To redress the balance a little, these are all names of female US senators.
Caraway — Hattie Caraway was the first elected female senator, in 1932.
Snowe — Olympia Snowe is undoubtedly one of the most romantically-named incumbents.
Instead of Mason…
You’ll probably know that occupational baby names are a huge trend of recent decades. Names that were once fresh, like Taylor and Tanner, have given way to others such as Cooper, Sawyer, and of course Top 10 favorite Mason. So what’s next? Here are some
Renner — Avengers actor Jeremy Renner has put his surname, meaning “messenger”, onto the radar.
Instead of Skyler…
With Dutch origins, Skylar (and its variant spellings) is a popular surname name that’s been imported from another language fairly recently. Here are a few more ideas of European surnames that could be international first names.
Cortez — This is a virtue name, meaning “courteous”, as well as a Spanish surname.
Schmidt — Ending on a wild card! Sure, Schmidt has a few extra letters (to anglophone eyes), but so does Saoirse, and that hasn’t stopped parents embracing it.
Do any of these surname names inspire you? Can you see any of them climbing the charts? Let us know in the comments.