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Surname Favorites

Surname Favorites
Surnames have been on the rise as baby names for a couple of decades now. The early generation saw surnames like Tyler and Blake for boys, Taylor and Morgan for girls. Those names are still used today, but they’re not as widespread as they once were.

Along with Taylor and Tyler, other surnames that rank as first names in the US Top 150 include Harper, Madison, Carter, Lincoln, Everly, Hudson, Colton, and Kennedy. Up-and-coming surnames near the bottom of the charts include Colter, Foster, Banks, and Ellison.

Surnames as first names appeal to contemporary parents and are elusively both traditional and new. If you’re searching for well-liked surnames to use as baby names for your son or daughter, consult our list of surnames from the US Top 1000, below.

ArcherHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "bowman"
  • Description:

    Archer is an Anglo-Saxon surname that feels more modern than most because of its on-target occupational and Hunger Games associations. And it's a nice way to bypass the clunky Archibald to get to the cool nickname Archie.

SawyerHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "woodcutter"
  • Description:

    Sawyer is a surname with a more relaxed and friendly feel than many others, and is one of the hottest occupational names right now, with the Nameberry seal of approval. Sawyer is becoming one of the top unisex names. Both Sara Gilbert and Diane Farr used Sawyer for their daughters, while it was given a boost as a boys' name by the character Sawyer on Lost, an alias for the character really named James Ford.

QuinnHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "descendent of Conn"
  • Description:

    Quinn is the Anglicized version of the Irish patronymic surname Ó Cuinn, meaning "descendent of Conn." Conn has two possible derivations—the Old Irish cond, meaning "intellect," or cenn, meaning "chief." One of the most notable Quinn clans was from County Tyrone in Northern Ireland.

HudsonHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "Hugh's son"
  • Description:

    Hudson has risen quickly up the charts after emerging at the bottom of the list in 1995, now solidly in the Top 100.

WilderHeart

  • Origin:

    Surname or word name
  • Description:

    New to the US Top 1000 in 2015, Wilder is on many parents' possibility lists, one of the new generation of bad boy names growing in popularity. Wilder got a big boost in interest through Goldie Hawn's grandson, born in 2007, via son Oliver.

HarperHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "harp player"
  • Description:

    Harper is a red hot name for girls, having jumped from obscurity to near the top of the popularity list in less than a decade; it entered the Top 10 for the first time in 2015, and has stayed near there since. Harper is a prime example of the trend of surnames that turn into boys' names and then become girls' names. Harper was rarely heard for either sex before the mid-2000s, entering the girls' list in 2004. (For boys, it was in use until 1906 when it dropped off the scope and didn't reappear until a full century later.)

LoganHeart

  • Origin:

    Scottish
  • Meaning:

    "small hollow"
  • Description:

    Logan originated as a Scottish surname which was derived from a place of that name in Ayrshire. The place name came from lagan, a Scottish Gaelic diminutive of lag, meaning “hollow.” Alternate spellings include Logon, Logen, and Logyn, which is more common among girls.

HarlowHeart

  • Origin:

    English surname
  • Meaning:

    "rock hill or army hill"
  • Description:

    Jean Harlow (born Harlean Carpenter), the original platinum blonde bombshell, was a symbol of 1930s glamour, a factor that first Patricia Arquette and then Nicole Richie and Joel Madden probably had in mind when they gave their daughters the distinctive surname name Harlow.

HunterHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "one who hunts"
  • Description:

    Hunter has been dropping a bit for the past few years but is still one of the leaders of a distinctive band of boys' names that combines macho imagery (Hunter, Austin, Harley) with a softened masculinity. Hunter was for years attached to gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson; Josh Holloway used it for his son.

RyanHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "little king"
  • Description:

    Ryan’s use as a given name was inspired by the surname Ryan, a variation of the Irish O’Riain meaning "son of Rían." Rían is composed of the Irish-Gaelic elements , meaning "king" and an, a diminutive suffix. Ryan is considered a unisex name in the US, where variant spellings Ryann and Ryanne are also valid for girls.

ParkerHeart

  • Origin:

    English occupational name
  • Meaning:

    "park-keeper"
  • Description:

    One of the first generation of surname names, along with Porter and Morgan, Parker's still one of the most appealing and remains firmly in the Top 100 for boys. About three times as many boys as girls get this occupational name. The association with Charlie Parker gives Parker itself a jazzy edge, and it also has a nature-related meaning. Rosie O'Donnell has a son named Parker.

HayesHeart

  • Origin:

    English surname and nature name
  • Meaning:

    "hedged area"
  • Description:

    One of those simple, straightforward English surnames -- and with a presidential pedigree -- that's easy to translate into a first. It was recently chosen by both Kevin Costner and Jessica Alba for their sons, which can likely be credited for its spike in popularity in the past few years. Surname names and nature names like Hayes, which qualifies on both counts, along with occupational names all make up the new generation of stylish English names for boys that go far beyond Harry and Edward.

DylanHeart

  • Origin:

    Welsh
  • Meaning:

    "son of the sea"
  • Description:

    Dylan was derived of the Welsh components dy and llanw, meaning "sea." In Welsh mythology, Dylan was a legendary sea god who prompted all the waters of Britain and Ireland to weep when he died. The name came to prominence via the great Welsh poet Dylan Thomas, whose name Bob Dylan adopted in tribute.

HaydenHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "fire"
  • Description:

    Hayden – a formerly obscure name that's risen to huge popularity – has dipped in this year's ratings. Though Hayden is among the most distinctive of the bunch, it gets lost in the crowd of Jaidens, Bradens, Aidans, and endless variations. Associated with Hayden Christensen, of Star Wars fame.

HarrisonHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "son of Harry"
  • Description:

    Harrison, a name made viable by Harrison Ford, is increasingly popular with parents who want an H name that's more formal than Harry or Hank but doesn't veer into the stiff Huntington-Harrington territory.

RileyHeart

  • Origin:

    English, Irish
  • Meaning:

    "rye clearing; courageous"
  • Description:

    Riley originated as both an English and an Irish surname. The former was derived from British place names that got their names from the Old English words for "rye clearing." Irish Riley is a variation of Reilly, a surname taken from the given name Raghailleach.

EverlyHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "wild boar in woodland clearing"
  • Description:

    Everly originated as a toponymic surname derived from the Old English roots eofor, meaning "boar," and leah, "clearing." It is related to the Germanic name Eberhard, meaning "brave as a wild boar," from which popular name Everett also derived. Wild boars represented strength and courage to ancient Germanic peoples, who often took on names with animal meanings.

GraysonHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "the son of the bailiff"
  • Description:

    Grayson, which you might think of as a Jason-Mason substitute, is on the fast track. Though--you may be surprised to know--Grayson has been in the Top 1000 since 1984, it is now more popular than ever, and is rising.

SullivanHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish surname
  • Meaning:

    "black-eyed one"
  • Description:

    Sullivan is a jaunty Celtic three-syllable name, with a real twinkle in its eye. It was immortalized in the 1930s classic film Sullivan's Travels and was chosen for one of Patrick Dempsey's twin boys. Nickname Sully is equally jaunty.

MadisonHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "son of Matthew"
  • Description:

    Madison originated as an English surname, a variant of Mathieson, meaning "son of Matthew." It is occasionally translated as "son of Maud," as Maddy was historically a nickname for Maud. It was introduced as a feminine given name in the 1984 movie Splash, in which the main character takes her name from New York’s Madison Avenue street sign.

TateHeart

  • Origin:

    English from Norse
  • Meaning:

    "cheerful"
  • Description:

    A strong single-syllable surname with a joyful meaning, Tate is finding a place on more and more birth certificates.

WestonHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "from the western town"
  • Description:

    Weston has gone from being a Jane Austenish British surname to a first name with a relaxed American western cowboy feel. Along with other trendy 'n'-ending boys’ names, Weston is rising in popularity, and is now more popular than ever. Weston also has a glimmer of creative appeal via its connection to the great photographer Edward Weston. Nicolas Cage chose Weston for his son back in 1990, when it was much more unusual; The Office's Jenna Fischer used it for her baby more recently. Cousin name Easton is even more popular.

EmersonHeart

  • Origin:

    German
  • Meaning:

    "son of Emery"
  • Description:

    The combination of Emily and Emma's popularity -- and the fact that Desperate Housewives star Teri Hatcher's daughter is named Emerson -- have put this formerly strictly boys’ name, embodying the gravitas of Ralph Waldo Emerson, in the limelight for girls.

DelaneyHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "dark challenger"
  • Description:

    Delaney has been a popular Irish surname name for a couple of decades, projecting buoyant enthusiasm plus a feminine feel.

MorganHeart

  • Origin:

    Welsh
  • Meaning:

    "sea-born, sea-song or sea-circle"
  • Description:

    Morgan has long been a traditional Welsh male name, a variant of the Old Welsh name Morcant, from the Welsh elements mor, meaning “sea” and cant, “circle.” The female Morgan is unrelated to the male version—it is a name from Arthurian legend created for Morgan le Fay, King Arthur's half-sister and famed sorceress. Her name comes from Morgen, an Old Welsh name meaning “sea-born,” and is related to the Irish name Muirgen.

BowenHeart

  • Origin:

    Welsh
  • Meaning:

    "son of Owen"
  • Description:

    Bowen is a Celtic surname representing two separate Celtic strains, one Welsh and one Irish, and entered the US Top 1000 for the first time in 2011.

CooperHeart

  • Origin:

    English occupational name
  • Meaning:

    "barrel maker"
  • Description:

    The genial yet upscale and preppy Cooper was one of the first occupational last names to catch on -- and Cooper remains a pleasing option.

LincolnHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "town by the pool"
  • Description:

    Lincoln cracked the Top 50 for boys' names for the first time in 2016, more than 150 years after the death of its most famous bearer. This is especially remarkable because, as crazy as it seems now, Lincoln was deeply out of fashion as recently as the late 90s, consistently hovering near the bottom of the Top 1000. This admirable presidential choice with a stylish two-syllable sound projects the tall, rangy, upright, image of Honest Abe. Bill Murray is father to a son named Lincoln, and Kathryn Erbe's boy Carson has Lincoln for his middle name. Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard gender-bent it for their daughter.

BlairHeart

  • Origin:

    Scottish
  • Meaning:

    "dweller on the plain"
  • Description:

    In the USA, Blair is gaining momentum. In England and Wales, Blair is incredibly unpopular for girls, sitting well outside the Top 2000.

CarterHeart

  • Origin:

    English occupational name
  • Meaning:

    "transporter of goods by cart"
  • Description:

    Carter has been popular for almost two decades, but it only cracked the Top 30 in 2014, leaving the other upscale occupational surname names behind. Having hot characters named Carter on both Gossip Girl and The OC probably didn't hurt, and for fifteen years on ER" Noah Wyle's Dr. John Carter was always called by his last name. Carter also, of course, has presidential cred.

LennonHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish
  • Meaning:

    "lover"
  • Description:

    A growing number of high-profile (and other) parents are choosing to honor their musical idols, such as Hendrix, Presley, Jagger, and now Lennon, an Irish name for girls as well as boys with a wonderful meaning on many levels. Lennon first came to notice when Liam Gallagher and Patsy Kensit used it for their son in 1999, and singer-musician Adam Pascal followed their lead two years later.

BrooksHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "of the brook"
  • Description:

    Surname name, nature name, and word name, with a more masculine slant than Brook or Brooklyn. Brooks Robinson was one of the greatest third basemen ever, playing for the Baltimore Orioles from 1955 until 1977. Brooks might be considered one of the new wave of stylish English names for boys.

JacksonHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "son of Jack"
  • Description:

    Cool name Jackson is one of the celebrisphere's top favorite boy names, having been chosen by, among others, Spike Lee, Poppy Montgomery, Carson Daly, Maria Bello, Natalie Maines, Scott Wolf, Maya Rudolph, and Katey Sagal. After a spectacular rise, this stylish presidential name has been in the Top 25 since 2010, overtaking John as one of the most popular boy names starting with J.

LandonHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "long hill"
  • Description:

    Landon is a popular surname name; it's been dropping slightly in recent years but has surpassed its once more popular rhyming cousin Brandon. For some it may bring back nostalgic memories of Little House on the Prairie 's understanding Pa, played by Michael Landon.

CarsonHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish and Scottish
  • Meaning:

    "son of the marsh-dwellers"
  • Description:

    Carson is one of the most long-running popular androgynous baby names, with a dash of the Wild West via the legendary Missouri frontiersman Kit Carson. Dating back to when it was the name of Nancy Drew's Dad, Carson is still steadily in the Top 100 baby names.

    Current Carsons include TV personalities Carson Daly and Carson Kressley, and Pro Bowl quarterback Carson Palmer. Carson Wells was the bounty hunter character played by Woody Harrelson in No Country for Old Men, and Carson is the name chosen by actress Kathryn Erbe for her son.

FletcherHeart

  • Origin:

    English occupational name
  • Meaning:

    "arrow-maker"
  • Description:

    Fletcher is a common surname with a touch of quirkiness; it definitely fits into the So Far Out It's In category--and moving further in all the time along with other occupational names from Parker to Forester.

EastonHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "east-facing place"
  • Description:

    Easton is a stylish Ivy League-ish place and surname name, more modern than Weston, on its way up for both sexes as part of the new direction baby names are taking, as in North and West. Easton was used for her son by Jenna Elfman--and by Elizabeth Rohm for her daughter.

DamonHeart

  • Origin:

    English variation of Damian
  • Description:

    Damon is a name with a strong, pleasing aura (much like the persona of Matt D.) and extremely positive ancient associations. From the classical myth, Damon and Pythias have become symbols of true friendship, as Damon risked his life to save his friend from execution. And Damon of Athens was the fifth century philosopher who taught both Pericles and Socrates.

HendrixHeart

  • Origin:

    Dutch and German, from first name Hendrik
  • Meaning:

    "estate ruler"
  • Description:

    Hendrix is one of those hip rock and roll names, like Lennon, Jagger and Presley, that have been used by fellow celebs and others, to honor the seminal guitarist/singer/songwriter Jimi. And this one has the trendy 'x' ending, as well, helping to propel it up the charts and into the spotlight.

BlakeHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "fair-haired, dark"
  • Description:

    The unisex Blake, which indeed has two conflicting meanings, has a briskly efficient image when used for a girl.

RemingtonHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "place on a riverbank"
  • Description:

    Remington Steele was the perfect name for an upper-crust action hero on 1980s television. Now, Remington is catching fire along with a new generation of predatory baby boy names such as Hunter, Gunner, and Colt. Or you might consider it a unisex namewith a buttoned-up British feel and the friendly short form Rem or Remy.

TylerHeart

  • Origin:

    English occupational name
  • Meaning:

    "maker of tiles"
  • Description:

    The presidential Tyler rocketed up popularity charts in the late 1980s and early 1990s (it ranked Number 9 for that entire decade), along with cousin Taylor, becoming almost pandemic across the land-- and to make matters more confusing, both (especially Taylor) have been used for girls as well.

ShepherdHeart

  • Origin:

    Occupational name
  • Meaning:

    "sheep hearder"
  • Description:

    Shepherd is an occupational surname with a pleasant pastoral feel. It was chosen for their son by the Jerry Seinfelds, which might inspire others to follow their lead.

CameronHeart

  • Origin:

    Scottish surname
  • Meaning:

    "crooked nose"
  • Description:

    Cameron is a popular Scottish name, for both boys and now girls (thanks to Cameron Diaz). With its good-looking, sensitive aura, Cameron has also generated a deluge of variant spellings.

PaigeHeart

  • Origin:

    English, occupational name
  • Meaning:

    "page to a lord"
  • Description:

    Paige is more name, and less word than the occupational Page. Paige is also sleek and sophisticated a la Brooke and Blair and reached as high as Number 47 in 2003, when there was a very popular television show, Trading Spaces, hosted by the energetic Paige Davis.

SuttonHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "from the southern homestead"
  • Description:

    Sutton is a plain-sounding surname most notably worn by Tony-winning Broadway actress Sutton Foster, now starring in TV Land's Younger -- based on a novel written by Nameberry co-creator Pamela Redmond Satran.

FinleyHeart

  • Origin:

    Irish and Scottish
  • Meaning:

    "fair-haired hero"
  • Description:

    This was a 100 percent boys’ name until celebs Jason Sehorn and Angie Harmon bestowed it on their daughter, recently followed by Lisa Marie Presley, who used it for one of her (female) twins. Finlay is also now among the most popular unisex names.

HuxleyHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "inhospitable place"
  • Description:

    Huxley is definitely rising as a surname name, with its X that makes almost any name cooler. It debuted in the US Top 1000 in 2015. The modern nicknames Hux and Huck certainly don't hurt.

ClarkHeart

  • Origin:

    English
  • Meaning:

    "scribe, secretary, cleric, scholar, clerk"
  • Description:

    Clark seemed to have been Gone with the Wind, but parents looking for a short, strong boy's name are now beginning to appreciate its cool combination of Gable charm with Superman power.

BellamyHeart

  • Origin:

    English and Irish from French
  • Meaning:

    "fine friend"
  • Description:

    Bellamy is a surname name with an admirable meaning and upbeat rhythm, similar to jovial choices like Rafferty, Barnaby and Willoughby.
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