If you had to guess what one of the most common surnames was in the world, what would you guess? If you said Smith, you’re correct. Although it’s origins are found in England, Smith is the most widely recorded last name in the United States. While we often think the name comes from the age-old trade of blacksmiths, it actually comes from the expression War-Smith’ to describe brave soldiers who acted as blacksmiths when repairing their own armor.
On the other side of the world in Vietnam, the surname Nguyen takes the cake. The common name came to be after the Ly Dynasty was overturned in the 13th century. After a brutal battle, Clan leader Tran Thu Do forced the people to change their name from Ly to Nguyen. Little did he know the name would become one of the most popular surnames used today.
So what are the other eight most common surnames on the globe? And what is their origin?Here are the ten most common surnames in the world:
The name Smith originated in England and was broken down from the phrase War-Smith,’ a term used to describe brave soldiers.
This popular surname is centuries old and comes after one of many clan disputes recorded in history.
Garcia is a Spanish surname, and can be found as far back as medieval times. Other historic records show the surname may have come from Tuscany, Italy, where it was considered a name for the very wealthy.
Russian in origin, Smirnov is derived from the word Smyrnoi, meaning “meek.” Interestingly, the last name became part of a legal dispute after the Smirnov family claimed the makers of Smirnoff vodka stole the name. A federal judge dismissed the lawsuit.
Spanish in origin, Hernandez is derived from the personal name, Hernando. If you carry this surname, consider yourself an adventurer at heart. The name is also noted to be a form of the old German name, Ferdinand, meaning “bold voyager.”
Zhang is a surname that originated in China. The name goes as far back as B.C. to a bow maker with the surname of Hui. To honor his work, he was given the name Zhang, which means “to stretch a bow.”
The last name Miller comes from the occupation of a miller, and is both Scottish and English in origin. Many different cultural versions of the name can be found as Mueller, Moller, or Muhler.
8) Wang Much like Zhang, Wang is also of Chinese origin, and is said to be the most common last name used in mainland China. If you hold this surname, you may have come from royalty. Wang means “a prince or a king.”
While Wang is the most common surname used in China, Li is the second most commonly used surname in China. Worldwide, the name is shared by more than 100 million people.
Spanish in origin, the surname Gonzales was also found in parts of Germany. Loosely translated, it means “the battlefield.”
Is your surname one of the Top Ten Surnames in the world?