Top Surname Names
The top surnames that are baby names have been on the rise 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.
What are the most popular surname names? This list includes all the surnames that are on the US Top 1000 popular names list.
Along with Taylor and Tyler, other top surnames that are first names among on the US popular names list include Harper, Madison, Carter, Lincoln, Everly, Hudson, Colton, and Kennedy. Up-and-coming surnames include Colter, Foster, Banks, and Ellison.
Surnames as first names appeal to contemporary parents and are an elusive blend of traditional and novel. If you’re searching for well-liked surnames to use as baby names for your son or daughter, consult our list of surnames that are commonly used as first names. Or check out our list of even more last names as first names.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
Description:Hudson has risen quickly up the charts after emerging at the bottom of the list in 1995, now solidly in the Top 100.
Origin:English surname and nature name
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.
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.
Origin:English occupational name
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.
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.
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.
Origin:English from Norse
Description:A strong single-syllable surname with a joyful meaning, Tate is finding a place on more and more birth certificates.
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.
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.
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.
Origin:English occupational name
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.
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.