Great Britain Research
Stephen   Thomas
26 Noel Coward Gardens
Aldington Kent
UK TN25 7EU
ancestry.uk.com
Click to send email
01233 720938 07708 079924

Great Britain Research    Stephen Thomas

UK Professional Family History Research



The Top 50 Most popular Surnames in the United Kingdom in the 1996 were the following:

1.Smith Occupational name

2.Jones Family name, son of John

3.Williams Family name, son of William

4.Brown Nickname, colour of hair or complexion

5.Taylor Occupational name

6.Davies Family name, son of David

7.Wilson Family name, son of William

8.Evans Family name, son of Evan (Welsh form of John)

9.Thomas Family name, son of Thomas

10.Johnson Family name, son of John

11.Roberts Family name, son of Robert

12.Walker Occupational name, cloth dresser

13.Wright Occupational name, maker of machinery or objects

14.Robinson Family name from a diminutive of Robert

15.Thompson Family name, son of Thomas

16.White Nickname, colour of hair

17.Hughes Family name, son of Hugh

18.Hall Local name, lived near a large house

19.Edwards Family name, son of Edward

20.Green Local name, lived near village green

21.Martin Family name, son of Martin

22.Wood Local name, lived near a wood

23.Harris Family name, son of Harry

24.Lewis Family name, son of Louis

25.Clarke Occupational name, scribe or secretary

26.Jackson Family name, son of Jacob or Jack ( pet form of John)

27.Clark Occupational name, scribe or secretary

28.Turner Occupational name, maker of small wooden objects

29.Hill Local name, lived near a hill

30.Scott Local name, a Gaelic speaker, from Scotland

31.Moore Local name, lived near a moor

32.Cooper Occupational name, maker of wooden vessels

33.Morris Family name, son of Maurice

34.Ward Occupational name, a watchman or guard

35.King Nickname, a person who acted in a haughty manner

36.Watson Family name, son of Watt (Walter)

37.Baker Occupational name, a baker

38.Harrison Family name, son of Harry

39.Morgan Family name, son of Morien (an old Welsh personal name)

40.Young Family name, son of identically named father

41.Allen Family name, son of Alan (an old Celtic personal name)

42.Mitchell Family name, son of Michel

43.Phillips Family name, son of Phillip

44.James Family name, son of James

45.Bell Occupational name, bellfounder or bellringer

46.Campbell Nickname, crooked mouth

47.Lee Local name, lived near a pasture

48.Parker Occupational name, gamekeeper

49.Kelly Nickname, Gaelic for troublesome

50.Davis Family name, son of David




All the major groups of names are represented here. It is interesting to note that names we think of as typically British are often derived from given names that were popular 800 years ago when the Normans appeared on these shores with names such as Louis, Michel and Maurice.


In 1851 a census of the United Kingdom was taken and the top 50 were listed. Clarke, Allen, Phillips, James. Lee and Kelly are the only surnames that feature in 1996 but were not included in the list for 1851 which demonstrates that the top fifty out of an estimated half a million different surnames in the United Kingdom remain amazingly consistent over the years and have probably remained little altered for generations.




Did you know?


Medieval man had a strong sense of irony and would often attribute a seemingly contradictory sobriquet. Think of Little John (or John Little) the giant companion of Robin Hood. This would also result in him naming a large man Small and a short man Long!