Every ten years the US Census tallies the frequency of last names occurring in the US. Looking at the Bureau’s findings tell a remarkable story about how America is changing and becoming more diverse. In the 1990 Census, every name in the top ten was either English, Irish, or Scottish in origin. Ten years later, that changed when Garcia, Rodriguez, Martinez, and Hernandez entered the top ten. Each of these names is of Spanish origin and represents the growing population of people with Hispanic heritage. In fact, data from the study reveals that the number of Hispanic surnames in the top 25 doubled between 1990 and 2000.
When it comes to the largest frequency increase, the surname Zhang had the largest change in frequency at 111.2 percent, followed by Li, Ali, and Liu. This is all very exciting as we see our country’s ideal as a “nation of immigrants” reflected in the data. You might be wondering what are the most common last names in the US and we’re here to share them with you. Below you will find the 100 most common surnames in the US today.
There Are Millions of People With These Last Names
- Smith – A name of English origin belonging to 2,442,977.
- Johnson – A name of English and Scottish origin belonging to 1,932,812.
- Williams – A name of English and Welsh origin belonging to 1,625,252.
- Brown – A name of English, Scottish, and Irish origin belonging to 1,437,026.
More Surnames Belonging to Millions
- Jones – A name of English and Welsh origin belonging to 1,425,470.
- Garcia – A name of Spanish origin belonging to 1,166,120.
- Miller – A name of English and French origin belonging to 1,161,437.
- Davis – A name of English and Welsh origin belonging to 1,116,357.
Final Last Names Belonging to Millions
- Rodriguez – A name of Spanish origin belonging to 1,094,924.
- Martinez – A name of Spanish origin belonging to 1,060,159.
- Hernandez – A name of Spanish origin belonging to 1,004,328
- Lopez – A name of Spanish origin belonging to 874,523.
Last Names Belonging to Hundreds of Thousands
- Gonzalez – A name of Spanish origin belonging to 841,025.
- Wilson – A name of English and Scottish origin belonging to 801,882.
- Anderson – A name of Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, and English belonging to 784,404.
- Thomas – A name of English and Welsh origin belonging to 756,142.
More, Extremely Popular Last Names in the US
- Taylor – A name of English origin belonging to 751,209.
- Moore – A name of English origin belonging to 724,374.
- Jackson – A name of English origin belonging to 708,099.
- Martin – A name of English, French, Scottish, Irish, and German origin belonging to 702,625.
Other Super Common Surnames
- Lee – A name of English, Irish, and Chinese origin belonging to 702,625.
- Perez – A name of Spanish origin belonging to 681,645.
- Thompson – A name of English and Scottish origin belonging to 664,644.
- White – A name of English, Scottish, and Irish origin belonging to 660,491.
Still More Common American Last Names
- Harris – A name of English and Welsh origin belonging to 624,252.
- Sanchez – A name of Spanish origin belonging to 612,752.
- Clark – A name of English and Irish origin belonging to 562,679.
- Ramirez – A name of Spanish origin belonging to 557,423.
Last Names Belonging to Half a Million Americans
- Lewis – A name of English origin belonging to 531,781.
- Robinson – A name of English and Hebrew origin belonging to 529,821.
- Walker – A name of English and Scottish origin belonging to 523,189.
- Young – A name of English and Scottish origin belonging to 484,447.
More Exceptionally Common Last Names
- Allen – A name of English and Scottish origin belonging to 482,607.
- King – A name of English origin belonging to 465,422.
- Wright – A name of English origin belonging to 458,980.
- Scott – A name of English and Scottish origin belonging to 439,530.
Popular Last Names from a Variety of Naming Traditions
- Torres – A name of Spanish and Portuguese origin belonging to 437,813.
- Nguyen – A name of Vietnamese origin belonging to 437,645.
- Hill – A name of English origin belonging to 434,827.
- Flores – A name of Spanish origin belonging to 433,969.
Even More Common Last Names
- Green – A name of English origin belonging to 430,182.
- Adams – A name of English and Hebrew origin belonging to 427,865.
- Nelson – A name of Irish origin belonging to 424,958.
- Baker – A name of English origin belonging to 419,586.
Keep Reading to Learn About Common Last Names
- Hall – A name of English, Scottish, German, Irish, and Scandanavian origin belonging to 407,076.
- Rivera – A name of Spanish origin belonging to 391,114.
- Campbell – A name of Irish and Scottish origin belonging to 386,157.
- Mitchell – A name of Scottish, English, and Irish origin belonging to 384,486.
We’re Rolling Right Along
- Carter – A name of English origin belonging to 376,966.
- Roberts – A name of Welsh and German origin belonging to 376,774.
- Gomez – A name of Spanish origin belonging to 365,655.
- Phillips – A name of Welsh origin belonging to 360,802.
We’re Halfway Through the Top 100 Most Common Surnames
- Evans – A name of Welsh origin belonging to 355,593.
- Turner – A name of English and Scottish origin belonging to 348,627.
- Diaz – A name of Spanish and Portuguese origin belonging to 347,636.
- Parker – A name of English origin belonging to 336,221.
Common Last Names Belonging to 300,000 or More Americans
- Cruz – A name of Spanish origin belonging to 334,201.
- Edwards – A name of English origin belonging to 332,423.
- Collins – A name of Irish and English origin belonging to 329,770.
- Reyes – A name of Spanish origin belonging to 327,904.
More Names in the 300,000+ Club
- Stewart – A name of English and Scottish origin belonging to 324,957.
- Morris – A name of English, Irish, and Scottish origin belonging to 318.884.
- Morales – A name of Spanish and Portuguese origin belonging to 311,777.
- Murphy – A name of Irish origin belonging to 308,417.
More Popular Last Names in the US
- Cook – A name of English origin belonging to 302,589.
- Rogers – A name of English origin belonging to 302,261.
- Gutierrez – A name of Spanish origin belonging to 293,218.
- Ortiz – A name of Spanish origin belonging to 286,899.
Common Last Names Belonging to 250,000+
- Morgan – A name of Welsh origin belonging to 286,280.
- Cooper – A name of English and Dutch origin belonging to 280,791.
- Peterson – A name of English, Scottish, and German origin belonging to 278,297.
- Bailey – A name of French and English origin belonging to 277,030.
Chugging Right Along
- Reed – A name of English origin belonging to 277,030.
- Kelly – A name of Irish origin belonging to 267,394.
- Howard – A name of English and German origin belonging to 264,826.
- Ramos – A name of Spanish and Portuguese origin belonging to 263,464.
More Top 100 Common Last Names
- Kim – A name of Korean origin belonging to 262,352.
- Cox – A name of English, French, Welsh, and Irish origin belonging to 261,231.
- Ward – A name of English and Irish origin belonging to 260,464.
- Richardson – A name of English origin belonging to 259,758.
Other Common Surnames to Rank
- Watson – A name of English and Scottish origin belonging to 252,579.
- Brooks – A name of Swedish and English origin belonging to 251,633.
- Chavez – A name of Spanish and Portuguese origin belonging to 250,898.
- Wood – A name of English and Scottish origin belonging to 250,715.
Keep On Going to Learn About Other Popular Surnames
- James – A name of English and Welsh origin belonging to 249,379.
- Bennet – A name of English origin belonging to 247,599.
- Gray – A name of English and Scottish origin belonging to 246,116.
- Mendoza – A name of Spanish origin belonging to 242,771.
We’re Getting Near the End
- Ruiz – A name of Spanish origin belonging to 238,234.
- Hughes – A name of English and Irish origin belonging to 236,271.
- Price – A name of Welsh origin belonging to 235,251.
- Alvarez – A name of Spanish origin belonging to 233,983.
Still, Common Last Names Even Though They’re Near the Bottom of the List
- Castillo – A name of Spanish origin belonging to 230,420.
- Sanders – A name of English, Scottish, and German origin belonging to 230,347.
- Patel – A name of Indian and Hindu origin belonging to 229,973.
- Myers – A name of German and English origin belonging to 229,895.
Final Last Names to Land in the Top 100
- Long – A name of English, Scottish, and Chinese origin belonging to 229,374.
- Ross – A name of English and Scottish origin belonging to 229,368.
- Foster – A name of English origin belonging to 227,764.
- Jimenez – A name of Spanish origin belonging to 227,118.
There you go! Now you know the most common last names in the US. Did any of these names surprise you? They all looked pretty familiar to us. If you would like to keep learning about surnames, read about the Celtic last names that can be used as given names.
Try These Amazing Celtic Last Names As First Names!
Celtic Last Names That Works As First Names for Girls
Kelly derived from Ó Ceallaigh an Irish Gaelic surname that means “bright-headed.” This Irish name is technically gender-neutral as are many of the appellations on this list which have been given liberally to both boys and girls through the years. In the US, Kelly reigned supreme from the 1960s to the 1980s, but since then, it’s been on the decline. That still doesn’t mean there are not a ton of celebrities with the name. Some examples include:
- Kelly Rutherford: American actress
- Kelly Brianne Clarkson: American pop singer and the first “American Idol” winner
- Kelly Maria Ripa: American actress and TV host
- Kelly Preston (born Kelly Kamalelehua Smith): American actress
- Kelly Michelle Lee Osbourne: English singer and TV personality
- Kelly Jean Killoren Bensimon: American model and reality TV personality
- Kelly Lee Carlson: American actress
- Kelly Coultas: American singer
- Kelly Marie Monaco: American actress and model
Ryan is commonplace in the US today but before it was Ryan this name came from the Irish Gaelic name Ó Maoilriain, meaning “king.” We love this name for girls but it can easily be used for baby boys as well. It’s one of the most popular Celtic last names to use as first names on this list. Notable people with the name include:
- Ryan Whitney Newman: American actress
- Ryan Starr (born Tiffany Ryan Montgomery): American pop singer; finalist on “American Idol”
- Ryan Haddon: American journalist and TV producer
- Ryan Destiny (Irons): American actress and singer
- Ryan Williams: American soccer player
Kennedy is a storied Gaelic name that can be found in both Irish and Scottish traditions. For the Irish, this name came mainly from Ó Cinnéide which means “helmet-headed.” However, in Scotland Kennedy is associated with Scottish Gaelic surnames: Ceanadach, Ceannaideach, MacCnusachainn, MacRusachainn, and MacUalraig. Some remarkable people with the name include:
- Kennedy Fraser: American fashion journalist
- Kennedy Trawick: American actress & model
- Kennedy Cutler: American child model
- Kennedy: Stage name of Lisa Kennedy Montgomery, American political satirist, radio personality, and television host
Quinn is a versatile name that comes from Irish Gaelic Ó Cuinn. This appellation means “wisdom” and “chief.” It was associated with a clan in County Tyrone in Northern Ireland. In Scotland, you will find it associated with the name MacCuinn or MacQueen. Quinn is one of the easiest Celtic last names to use as a first for both girls and boys. Notable folks with the name:
- Quinn Louise Cummings: American actress
- Quinn Norton: American journalist, photographer, and blogger
- Quinn Shephard: American actress
We thought that O’Shea was a little much as a first name so we decided to present you with Shea which is derived from the Irish Gaelic name Ó Séaghdha. The name means “stately” and “fine.” This is one of the Celtic last names that has dipped as a first name option in the US in recent years. Examples include:
- Shea Sydney Ralph: American basketball player and coach
- Shea Grisham: Daughter of author John Grisham
- Shea Joelle James: Daughter of actor Kevin James
- Shea Couleé: Drag name of performer Jaren Kyei
- Shea Groom: American soccer player
Healy makes for a perfectly offbeat yet familiar given name. It comes from the Irish Gaelic name Ó hÉalaighthe, meaning “artistic” and “scientific.” It’s one of the perfect Celtic last names to use as a first name that has not been overdone yet. This name is rare and would make a distinctive choice for your daughter as an alternative to Hailee.
A unisex classic in the US, Casey comes from a few Celtic last names, namely the Irish Ó Cathasaigh, which means “vigilant in war” and “watchman.” This name has been a perennial favorite in the US and there are several notable folks with the appellation:
- Cathryn Rose “Casey” Wilson: American actress and comedienne
- Casey Donovan: Australian pop singer from “Australian Idol”
- Casey Jones: American reality TV personality from “Quints By Surprise”
- Sale Trotter Case “Casey” Johnson: American heiress
- Casey Beau Reinhardt: American actress
- Dr. Casey Jordan: American criminologist and legal analyst
- Cassandra “Casey” Jenner: Daughter of TV personality and former Olympian Caitlyn Jenner; stepsister to the Kardashians
- Casey Patricia Desmond: American pop singer
We love the name Regan for a baby girl. It comes from the Irish surname Ó Riagáin, meaning “little king.” The name has been a mildly popular choice in the US off and on since the 1970s. Regan is one of the most accessible Celtic last names to use as a first. Notable examples include:
- Regan Elizabeth Hartley: American beauty queen; Miss New Hampshire 2011
- Regan Lamble: Australian Olympic racewalker
- Regan Lauscher: Canadian Olympic luger
- Regan: American YouTuber of PeruseProject
This name remains mostly intact and unchanged like many of the Anglicized forms of the names on this list, at least for the Irish surname, which means “red hair” or “ruddy complexion.” For the Scots, however, this name evolved from many surnames including MacIlleRuaidh, Roid, Roideach, Ruadh, and Mac’IlleRuaidh. Reid is evocative of nature and reeds which makes it an attractive choice among Celtic last names. It’s rare but not an impossible choice.
A very common surname, Channing means “people of Cana” or “wolf cub.” The name comes from Mac Cana. The Mac Cana clan originated as chiefs of Cenél Aengusa, the name of a kindred and its territory in Tír Eoghain. The name is given to as third as many girls as boys today in the US but it’s still popular among Celtic last names as first names.
The most popular surname in Ireland today, Murphy comes from Ó Murchadha and means “sea battler.” In fact, it’s one of the most popular Celtic last names in the world. In Scotland, you will find it applied to those who previously used MacMhurchaidh. The name ranked in the US top-1000 names for girls for the first time in 2020 and it has so much untapped potential. Keep it up, parents!
Sheeran would make for a fabulous alternative to Sharon! This Irish last name comes from Ó Síoráin or Ó Sírín or Mac Searthuin. It means “descendant of Sírín/Síorán/Searthuin” or “eternal.” It’s one of the Celtic last names that is most likely recognized as belonging to Ed Sheeran. But, he’s not the only one to get have all the fun with this name.
Dillon is an Irish surname of Breton origin derived from Diolun. Do not confuse this one with a Welsh name that sounds the same, Dylan. Dillon means “loyal.” This somewhat rare name for girls could use some more attention from new parents today. A couple of famous people with the name:
- Dillon (born Dominique Dillon de Byington): Brazilian/German singer and pianist
- Dillon Monroe Buckley: Birth name of actress Maika Monroe
From the Irish Gaelic surnames Ó Fiaich and Ó Fathaigh, Fay is the Anglicized form but Fahey is also common. This name means “descendant of Fathaigh” which itself means “base” or “foundation.” The is one of the Celtic last names that might get confused with the English name, Fay, meaning “fairy,” but they come from separate roots. Famous people with the name Fay:
- (Vina) Fay Wray: American actress
- Fay Okell Bainter: American actress
- Fay Elinora Lanphier: Miss America 1925
- Fay Ripley: English actress and recipe author
- Fay Compton (born Virginia Lilian Emmeline Compton Mackenzie): English actress
- Sarah Fay Wright: American actress
- Fay Weldon: English novelist
- Fay Baker: American actress
- Fay Templeton: American actress, singer, and comedian
How do you feel about using Fee as a given name? We think it has its charms. Ó Fiaich was the surname of a Gaelic-Irish erenagh and Brehon family from County Fermanagh. Not only does that name give us Fay, it also gives us Fee! Thus, this name also means “base” and “foundation.” This is one of the rare Celtic last names to be used as a given but not completely far-fetched.
One of the Celtic last names you are likely familiar with, Flannery was popularized as a given name for girls in the US by Flannery O’Connor. Flannery comes from the Irish surname Ó Flannghaile, meaning “descendant of Flannghal.” That name can be further translated to “red eyebrows” or “red warrior.” Despite being well-known, it’s not a wildly popular choice today.
Kearney is another one of the Celtic last names that sound special as a first. The surname derives from the Gaelic O Catharnaigh, derived from the word “cearnach,” meaning “warlike” or “victorious.” This is another last name that’s not getting tons of play as a first but you could help change that, new parents.
One of the Celtic last names that sounds surprisingly like Lucy, Lucey comes from Old Gaelic Ó Luasaigh, anciently, Mac Cluasaigh. The meaning of the original name is debated but it could come from Lucius by way of a Norman conquest, meaning “light.” Or it might be a name denoting someone with “big ears.” White the Lucy form of the name was once a huge hit in the US the Celtic form of the name never has been.
O’Reilly is a very popular surname in Ireland today. It was derived from Ó Raghallaigh, a Sept that was based in Counties Cavan and Westmeath. While a similar name, Riley, is more popular as a given name in the US, especially for girls, Reilly would be a standout way to give an appellation more character. The name means “courageous.”
Rowan is a commonly given name today but it comes from a variety of Celtic last names originally. In Ireland, the name is derived from Ó Ruadháin. The name can means “the rowan tree” or “little red one.” It’s found in the US as an emerging unisex hit with many celebrity parents choosing it for their daughters some of those famous kids include:
- Rowan Reid (b. 1992): Daughter of actress Margi Clarke and artist Jamie Reid
- Rowan Francis Henchy (b. 2001): Daughter of actress Brooke Shields
- Rowan Grey Nesser (b. 2009): Daughter of skateboarder Steve Nesser
- Rowan Louise Way (b. 2017): Daughter of Electric Century and My Chemical Romance Bassist Mikey Way
- Rowan McKee Melia (b. 2017): Daughter of American soccer player Tim Melia and Kristen Melia
Seery is one of the best Celtic last names to use as an alternative to Sara. It is derived from the Gaelic name Ó Saoraidhe meaning “descendant of Saoraidhe,” a personal name derived from saordha, meaning “noble.” This unique name will inevitably be confused with Siri which might be scaring new parents away from this sweet choice.
An Irish last name that is sometimes Anglicized as Sloan or Sloane, it comes from Ó Sluaghhadáin which means “raid” or “little raider.” Sloane has emerged as a trendy unisex name in the US today and we are thrilled with it! A couple of folks associated with Sloane include:
- Sloane Stephens: American tennis player
- Sloane Crosley: American memoirist and author
Tierney is derived from Ó Tighearnaigh or Ní Thighearnaigh. The names simply come from an Irish word that means “lord.” There were five unrelated Clans with this name all over Gaelic Ireland. Despite this being one of the rare Celtic last names to be used as a first, there are a couple of notable examples:
- Tierney Gearon: American photographer
- Tierney Sutton: American jazz singer
- Tierney Thys: American biologist and explorer
Blair is an Anglicized name of Scottish Gaelic origin. It comes from the Scottish Gaelic surnames Blàr or Blàrach. The name means “dweller of the plains.” The name is on the rise for girls in the US but in its native England and Wales, it is rarely given to girls. Here are a few famous Blairs:
- Blair Butler: American comedienne
- Laura Elizabeth “Blair” Fowler: American YouTuber
- (Bonnie) Blair Brown: American actress
- Blair Catherine Evans: Australian Olympic swimmer
- Blair Chenoweth: Miss Alaska USA 2007
- Blair Imani (born Blair Elizabeth Brown): American civil rights activist
We find another Scottish Gaelic surname in Cameron which is derived from Camran, Camshron, and Camshronach. Cameron is a popular choice for both boys and girls today even though this name means “crooked nose.” In our opinion, Cameron is one of the best Celtic last names to use as a first for girls. Some famed folks with the appellation include:
- Cameron Michelle Diaz: American actress
- Cameron Russell: American model
- Cameron Richardson: American actress
- Cameron (Cami) Ritzler: American dancer
- Cameron: The ring name of Ariane Nicole Andrew, an American pro wrestler
Leamhanach and Leamhnach are the primary Scottish surnames that give us Lennox. Of all the Celtic last names on this list, Lennox feels most distinct as a given name for girls. It is a habitational surname that means “from many elm trees.” This appellation first landed in the US top-1000 names in 2015 and it has quietly climbed the list since then.
From Loganach, Logan is a trendy choice in the US today. The name means “little hollow.” Logan is one of the Celtic last names that’s emerged as a wildly popular choice for both girls and boys today. Some famous Logans are:
- Andrea Logan White: Co-founder of PureFlix and American actress
- Logan Laurice Browning: American actress
- Logan Maile Lei Tom: American Olympic volleyball player
Derived from the Celtic last names MacBhlàthain and MacIlleBhlàthain, it’s easy to see that Blaine is the streamlined form here. The name is considered to come from both Scottish and Irish Gaelic origin, meaning “slender” or “yellow.” The name is sometimes spelled Blaine but neither forms are popular for girls in the US today.
Now, we look to other Celtic last names, this one from Wales, which means “son of Aubrey.” The Welsh roots of this name mean “one living with elder trees.” The Aubrey spelling is much more popular today but it can be confusing because it’s a name of English and German origin that means “elf ruler.” Don’t get these names twisted, each comes from a different root.
Another one of the Celtic last names from Welsh that seems like a natural fit to us is Dew. The name is a result of a Norman conquest and refers to someone from Eu in Seine-Maritime, France. However, some argue that the Celtic meaning of this name is “dark complexion.” This name is virtually unknown to US parents and we hope more of them take notice of its virtues.
Another Welsh last name, Wynn comes from the name Wyn and the word Gwynn. It means “blessed” or “fair.” Despite this name’s winning sound, it’s never been a popular option as a given name. If it doesn’t feel like a fit as a first name, the name plays well with others and makes for an excellent middle name option.
Malone is an Irish surname from Mael Eòin, meaning “servant,” a reference to being devoted to Saint John. Malone is currently more popular for baby girls than boys but it is technically gender-neutral. That does not mean that the name is ubiquitous. It’s still one of the Celtic last names that deserves more attention from American parents today.
From Ó Móráin, Moran could be the perfect alternative to Morgan. The name means “great chieftain.” The only issue we can find with this one is that it is terribly close to the word “moron” which could be a source of ridicule. Despite that, it’s one of our favorite Celtic last names. This name has never been a popular choice in the US and we see the potential for it as an alternative for Morgan.
A name related to McGee and likely from Maolgaoithe, that means “fire.” With a warm sound and meaning, this could be a great option. This name is incredibly similar to Maggie except the emphasis goes on the second syllable. The name is recognizable to most thanks to New York television newswoman Magee Hickey.
From the Gaelic siodhach, meaning “peaceful,” the appellation Sheehan was first used in Limerick and Munster. We think it’s a splendid idea for a given name. It’s most popular known as one of the common Celtic last names found around the world but it’s just not taking off as a first name.
Thanks to its -an (Anne) ending, we feel this would be appropriate as a given name for girls. It comes from ó Braonáin and means “sorrow.” It’s one of our favorite Celtic last names. The only famous example for this name is Mad Men‘s Kiernan Brennan “Kiki” Shipka. It works well as a middle name as well!
From Mac Cionaoith we get MacKenna. We also feel like Kenna would be an appropriate form as well. The name means “fire-sprung.” The name is barely popular in the US with the spelling McKenna going to about 15 girls each year in the US.
Meara is a gorgeous name that comes from the Ó Meadhra Clan who resided in the Irish Gaelic Kingdom of Limerick. The Irish meaning of the name is “pool” or “lake.” Others claim the name is related to myrrh and means “jovial.” We’ll take any of those wonderful meanings! This appellation is an excellent alternative to Myra or Mira.
Celtic Last Names That Fit Perfectly As First Names for Boys
Now, let’s take a look at some Celtic last names for boys. Doyle is a bold name from the Irish Gaelic surname Ó Dubhghaill. The name means “dark foreigner.” Despite not being all too popular there are several famous examples with the name:
- Doyle McManus: American journalist
- Doyle Brunson: American poker player
- Doyle Alexander: American baseball pitcher
- Doyle Bramhall I and II: American musicians
- Doyle Lawson: American bluegrass musician
- Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein (born Paul Caiafa): Guitarist of The Misfits
Stewart is the Anglicized form of the Irish last name Stiobhard. The name means “one who superintends.” This is one of the true Celtic last names that’s also found in Scottish Gaelic as a form of Stiùbhart or Stiùbhartach. The name can also be taken to means “steward.” Famous Stewarts include:
- Stewart Armstrong Copeland: American drummer of The Police
- Stewart Granger (born James Lablache Stewart): English actor
- Stewart Ernest Cink: American golfer
- Stewart Lee Udall: U.S. Congressman and Secretary of the Interior
- Stewart Graham Lee: English comedian
- Stewart Brand: American writer and editor of the Whole Earth Catalog
- Stewart Edward “Stu” Hart: Canadian wrestler and father of Bret and Owen Hart
- Stewart Downing: English footballer
Graham is a very Irish surname that’s one of the most popular ones in Ireland today. It means “grey home” or “gravelly homestead.” In Scotland, it was derived from Greum and Greumach. It’s one of the Celtic last names for boys that’s on the rise today in the US. Some famous examples are:
- Graham Abbey: Canadian actor
- Graham E. Bell: American astronomer
- Graham Chapman: English comedian (Monty Python)
- Graham Gano: American football player
- (Henry) Graham Greene: English novelist
- Graham Hancock: British writer and reporter
- Graham Harrell: American football player
- Graham Hill: British racing driver
From the Irish family name Ó Buachalla, Buckley means “cowherd.” This name has never been a popular given name option in the US but we think it is one of the Celtic last names that could really be beloved as a first name for boys.
One of the top 50 most popular surnames in Ireland today, Flynn comes from Ó Floinn and means “bright red.” It would make for a fresh alternative to Finn. It’s one of the Celtic last names that’s trending as a first for boys today. The name landed in the US top-1000 in 2011 and has been slowly climbing ever since. Some famous Flynns out there:
- Flynn Gower: Australian singer of the band Cog
- Flynn Morrison: American child actor
- Flynn Downes: English footballer
- Flynn McGarry: American teen chef
- Flynn Adam (Atkins): American rapper of LA Symphony
Brady comes from the Irish surname Mac Brádaigh, meaning “spirited one.” Brady is a top 500 pick for baby boys born in the US today. There are many famous examples but here are a few:
- Brady Kevin Anderson: American baseball player
- Brayden Tyler “Brady” Quinn: American NFL football player
- Brady Lee Ellison: American Olympic archer
- (Patrick) Brady Smith: American actor
- Brady Paul Poppinga: American NFL football player
- Brady Goodwin Jr. aka Phanatic: American rapper
- Brady Patrick Hoke: American college football coach
- Brady John Haran: Australian filmmaker
Similar to Weylan, Whelan comes from Ó Faoláin which is an Irish surname that means “wolf.” This is one of the Celtic last names that has gone largely unused as a given name in the US. It’s never been popular in the US and we hope that new parents will consider it for their sons.
From the Irish surname, Ó Bruaideadha, we get Briody. It is a very old name from a personal name Bruaided. The Clan with this name inhabited Counties Longford and Cavan. The Gaelic meaning of this name is unknown but could potentially be “broad eye” or “broad island.”
Burke is another Irish surname that comes from de Búrca and refers to Richard de Burgh. The name was adopted by the Irish after one of the Norman conquests. The name means “from the fortress.” It’s one of Celtic last names that was once popular as a first name in the US, both times before the 1960s.
One of the ever-popular Celtic last names to use as a first name is Clarke! Clarke comes from ÓCléirigh meaning “clergyman.” The Scottish surname Mac a’ Chléirich might also have been Anglicized into Clarke or Clark as well. A few famous Clarkes include:
- Clarke James Carlisle: English footballer
- Clarke MacArthur: Canadian ice hockey player
- (Clarke) Isaac Hanson: American singer of the band Hanson
- Clarke “Everett” Hanson (b. 2007): Son of Isaac Hanson
Conroy is likely derived from Ó Maolchonaire and Mac Conraoi. Conroy makes for an interesting and evocative first name. It means “hound of the plains.” This is one of the Celtic last names that has not found a home in the US yet. There are a couple of famous folks with the name:
- Conroy Black: American football player
- Conroy Maddox: English surrealist painter
Cregg comes from the Scottish Gaelic word creag, meaning “a rock” which became the Scottish word “craig.” The Scottish surnames Creag, Creagach, and Mac na Carraige all predate the name. Obviously, Craig is the more popular form of this name in the US but you could make a distinct choice by going with Cregg instead.
From Scottish Gaelic we get many names that became Fergus or Ferguson, mainly Fearghasdan and MacFhearghais. In Ireland, you will find the name Ó Fearghusa (which the Scottish names likely have been derived from). The name means “man of force.” Fergus was once a popular name across Scotland but it has never translated for American parents and feels a bit outdated for a boy born today.
Finn comes from the Irish Ó Finn, meaning “descendant of Fionn.” The byname means “white” or “fair-haired.” The name belonged to the hero of Irish mythology Fionn mac Cuumhaill, a brave and warm warrior. It’s one of the most popular names for boys in the US today. Some notable Finns include:
- Finn mac Blatha: 5th-century BC king of Ireland
- Terence “Finn” Jones: English actor
- Finn Erling Kydland: Norwegian economist; winner of the Nobel Prize
- Finn Balorring: Name of Fergal Devitt, an Irish pro wrestler
- Finn Ronne: Norwegian-American Arctic explorer
- Finn Cole: English actor
Giles is an Irish name too! It comes from the surname Ó Glaisne, a County Louth name. The name likely means “green” or “blue.” Despite this being one of the accessible Celtic last names to use as a first name, it has not been popular in the US since the 1950s. However, that does not mean there are not any famous folks with the name.
- Giles Snyder: American newscaster
- Giles of Rome: Archbishop of Bourges and commentator on the Organon by Aristotle
- Giles Deacon: English fashion designer
- Giles Bryan Chichester: English MEP
- Giles Corey: Figure in the 1692 Salem Witch Trials
- Giles Martin: English record producer, son of Beatles producer George Martin
The Irish surname Ó Gríofa comes from the Welsh name Gruffudd (Griffith). Both were Anglicized to Griffin. The Welsh meaning of the name is “lord” or “strong lord.” Griffin is one of the most popular Celtic last names as first names for boys in the US. Some famous folks with the name include:
- Griffin Boyette Bell: 72nd U.S. Attorney General
- Griffin Steinfeld: American NASCAR driver; brother of actress Hailee Steinfeld
- (Thomas) Griffin Dunne: American actor
- Griffin Claude Beresford Dauphin Newman: American actor
- Griffin Reinhart: Canadian ice hockey player; son of ice hockey player Paul Reinhart
- Griffin Andrew McElroy: American podcaster
- Griffin Gluck: American child actor
Keefe or O’Keeffe are Irish surnames from Ó Caoimh, meaning “gentle.” It is used as both a surname and a given name and we think it makes for a fabulous alternative to Keith. However, this one has never been a popular given name in the US.
The biggie of all Celtic last names Mack means “son” and is the basis for much of Irish and Scottish surnaming tradition. Many, many, many names contain Mack or Mac or Mc in some form. Many people have this element as a part of their name but there are some famous people with the standalone name.
- Mack Sennett (born Michael Sinnott): Canadian-American actor and comedian
- (William) Mack Brown: American college football coach
- Mack Calvin: American basketball player
- Mack David: American lyricist and songwriter
- George M. “Mack” Flenniken: American NFL football player and coach
- Mack Gordon (born Morris Gittler): American composer and lyricist
- Mack Herron: American NFL football player
Nolan is a handsome name for boys but also an Irish surname from Ó Nualláin, meaning “son of the famous one.” Today, the name is more popular than ever before for boys in the US. We love to see Celtic last names finding new life as given ones! Famous examples include:
- (Lynn) Nolan Ryan: American baseball pitcher
- Nolan Gould: American child actor
- Nolan Kay Bushnell: American engineer and entrepreneur
- Nolan Alexander Carroll: American NFL player
- Nolan Gallagher Reimold: American baseball player
- Nolan Neil Cromwell: American NFL football coach
- Nolan Bertrandoff Miller: American fashion designer
- Nolan North: American voice actor
- Nolan James Arenado: American baseball player
A big one! Patrick can be considered an Anglicized form of the surname Mac Phádraig or diminutive forms of Fitzpatrick and Mulpatrick. In most cases, the Gaelic form of the name is taken to mean “a devotee to Saint Patrick.” The name was adopted from Latin, Patricius, meaning “noble patrician.” One of the most popular Celtic last names that is used as a first today has some famous people associated:
- Patrick Swayze: American actor
- Patrick Henry: American Founding Father; 1st governor of Virginia
- Patrick James “Pat” Carney: Drummer of American band The Black Keys
- Patrick Aloysius Ewing: American basketball player
- Patrick Joseph Leahy: U.S. Senator from Vermont
- Patrick Cassidy: American actor
Tobin is another one of the Celtic last names that was adopted after the Norman conquest in the 12th century. The name is often found spelled Tóibín in Ireland. It is related to the Norman surname de St. Aubyn. The name means “of St. Aubyn.” Tobin was once a popular given name to boys in the US but fell out of fashion in the 1970s.
Troy is an Anglicized form of a few Irish surnames. Ó Tréamháin, Ó Troighthigh, and Ó Turráin might have all been changed to Troy. Because each of these names has its own meaning there are several possibilities here. Troy can mean “son of the foot soldier,” “son of the journals,” or “son of the turrets.” The name has been a favorite in the US for decades. Some famous Troys:
- Troy Aumua Polamalu: American football player and actor
- Troy Kenneth Aikman: American football player
- Troy Edward Baker: American actor
- Troy Nolan: American football player
- Troy Garity (born Troy O’Donovan Garity Hayden): American actor, son of actress Jane Fonda and politician Tom Hayden
- Troy Lee Coleman III aka Cowboy Troy: American musician
- Troy Brouwer: Canadian hockey player
There is an Irish name Keir that means “black” but this name is also derived from Scottish surnames MacIlleChiar, Mac’IlleChiar, Ciarach, and Ciar. The name can also mean “dark” or “dusky.” Keir is heating up and one of the fastest-rising Celtic last names as first names for boys. Some famous Keirs in the world:
- Keir Dillon: American pro snowboarder
- Keir Dullea: American actor
- Keir Gilchrist: English,born Canadian actor
- Keir Hardie: Scottish socialist
- Kier Maitland: Canadian freestyle swimmer
- Keir O’Donnell: American actor
- Keir Simmons: English journalist
Dallas comes from the Scottish Gaelic name Dalais. The Gaelic root of this name means “skilled” or “from the meadow.” It’s one of the Celtic last names that feels American thanks to the city in Texas. There are a few notable folks named Dallas:
- Dallas Clark: American NFL football player
- Dallas Reynolds: American NFL football player
- Dallas Lauderdale: American basketball player
- Dallas Cook: American musician of the band Suburban Legends
- Dallas Green aka City & Color: Canadian singer-songwriter
Gibson is an English form of Scottish surnames Giobsan, MacGilleBhrìghde, and MacGilleBhrìghde. Today, we consider this name to mean “Gilbert’s son.” It’s one of the Celtic last names that is just outside of the US top-1000 names for boys today. Expect to hear this one more and more in years to come.
From the Scottish Gaelic name Lathurna or Loarn we get Lorne. It is associated with the legendary king of Dál Riata, Loarn mac Eirc of Scotland’s western coast. This name can potentially refer to that place or come from the Celtic word that means “fox.” It’s one of the Celtic last names that’s become synonymous with one figure in the US, SNL’s Lorne Michaels.
One of the Celtic last names from Wales, Vaughan comes from the Welsh word bychan, meaning “small.” The name has always been far more popular in the UK than in the US but not unheard of. Here are some famous folks with the given name:
- Ralph Vaughan Williams: English composer
- Vaughan Grylls: English sculptor
- Vaughan Cornish: English geographer
- Vaughan Hanning Vaughan Lee: English politician
The Welsh name Rhydderch was Anglicized as Roderick. The name means “reddish-brown.” It’s one of the Celtic last names that was most popular as a given name in the US in the 1960s and 1970s. It’s used conservatively today but there are some notable examples from around the world:
- Roderick Andrew Anthony Jude “Roddy” McDowall: English-American Actor
- Roderick Anthony Burton II AKA Dolla: American rapper
- Roderick “Roddy” Maude Roxby: English actor
- Roderick George Toombs AKA Rowdy Roddy Piper: Canadian professional wrestler and actor.
- Roderick David “Rod” Stewart: English singer-songwriter
- Roderick Random Allen: US WWII major general
- Roderick Strongring: Name of Christopher Lindsay, an American pro wrestler
Yet another Welsh name, Elisedd gave us Ellis which means “benevolent.” Ellis is a top 500 name for boys in the US today! It’s one of the Celtic last names that truly bridged the divide! Famous people with this charming name include:
- Ellis Paul (born Paul Plissey): American singer-songwriter
- Ellis Charles Wackett: Australian Air Force commander
- Ellis Andrew Stones: Australian landscape architect
- Ellis Ashmead Bartlett: English war correspondent
- Ellis Lankster: American football player
Edris is sometimes spelled Idris and comes from Welsh roots: uud and ris, meaning “impulsive lord.” It’s one of the Celtic last names that sounds so very fresh and modern today thanks to A-list star Idris Elba. The Idris spelling is more popular today and landed in the US top-1000 for boys in 2018.
A very popular surname in Ireland today, Keane comes from Mac Catháin. The name is sometimes Anglicized to Kane. The root of the name means “war.” Others argue that the root means “ancient.” It has never been a popular given name in the US.
Caimbeul and Caimbeulach are two Scottish Gaelic surnames that were changed to Campbell. Campbell today is a popular last name in both Scotland and Ireland. The Gaelic root of this word means “crooked mouth.” Some famous Campbells include:
- Campbell Scott: American actor, son of actors George C. Scott and Colleen Dewhurst
- Campbell Kevin Thomas Newman: Australian politician, 38th Premier of Queensland
- (Israel) Campbell Money: Scottish footballer
- Campbell A. “Stretch” Miller: American sportscaster
- Campbell Jackson: Northern Irish darts player
Sullivan comes from ó Súilleabháin and would make for a storied option for a boy in the US today. It’s more popular today than ever before! The name means “dark-eyed” or “hawk-eyed.” Famous Sullivans include:
- Sullivan Stapleton: Australian actor
- Sullivan Skye Sweeten: American actor; twin brother of the late Sawyer Storm Sweeten
- Sullivan Waits: Son of singer Tom Waits
- Sullivan Marsters: Son of actor James Marsters
- Sullivan Patrick Dempsey: Son of actor Patrick Dempsey
From Ó Báire and Ó Beargha, we get the Anglicized form, Barry. Barry was once a popular choice in the US but it has since fallen from fashion. You can help change that! Barry means “spear-like” or “plunderer.” It’s one of the Celtic last names that deserves a comeback. Famous examples with the name include:
- Barry Robert Pepper: Canadian actor
- Barry Morris Goldwater: U.S. Senator from Arizona and presidential candidate
- Barry Alan Manilow: American pop singer
- (John) Barry Humphries aka Dame Edna: Australian comedian
- Barry Williams (born Barry William Blenkhorn): American actor
- Barry Eugene White: American R&B singer
A great option as a first name, Hayes proves one of the few Celtic last names that has crossed over into given name territory in the US in recent years. It comes from Ó hAodha’, referring to the descendants of Aodh. The name means “fire.” Some famous people with the appellation include:
- Hayes MacArthur: American actor
- Hayes Robbins: American attorney; husband of American actress Danielle Panabaker
- Hayes Logan Costner: Son of actor Kevin Costner
- Hayes Alba Warren: Son of actress Jessica Alba and Cash Warren
A colorful choice as a given name, Flanagan means “red” or “ruddy.” It comes from Ó Flannagáin. Unfortunately, this is one of the Celtic last names that American parents have not connected with. It is a mouthful but it does sound rhythmic and playful should you be so bold.
Pronounced the same as “done,” Dunne comes from Ó Duinn. The name means “dark” and “brown.” For a nice single-syllable appellation, you should totally go with Dunne. Dunn is the more popular form of the name today but stick with the original for something special.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: 25 Rare Celtic Baby Names for Boys That Never Crossed the Pond
One of the most popular names for boys in the US is Grady and it comes from the Irish surname O Gradaugh which you might have seen spelled O’Gradys. The Irish Clan gave us an impressive number of bishops through the years. The Gaelic root of the name means “noble.” The name belongs to many famous folks:
- Grady Tate: American jazz musician
- Grady Sizemore: American baseball player
- Grady Booch: American computer engineer who invented UML
- Grady Thomas: American musician of the band Parliament, Funkadelic
- (Thomas) Grady Martin: American country music guitarist
- (William) Grady Little: American baseball manager
- Grady Jarrett: American NFL football player
What did you think of these Celtic last names as first names? We found amazing names used in Ireland, Scotland, and Wales today as well as their root names that once named great Clans and Septs. Celtic last names are beautiful and storied and we hope you will honor your heritage whether it be Irish, Scottish, Welsh, Cornish, or Manx with a given name taken from these cherished surnames!
Andrew is an Assistant Editor for Mamas Uncut with over ten years of experience as a writer in the creative, marketing, and blogging spaces. After studying Film and Art History, he developed a passion for telling stories in a variety of mediums. Obsessively making lists, reporting celebrity news, and diving into emerging pop cultural topics are a few of his interests.
- 0.1 There Are Millions of People With These Last Names
- 0.2 More Surnames Belonging to Millions
- 0.3 Final Last Names Belonging to Millions
- 0.4 Last Names Belonging to Hundreds of Thousands
- 0.5 More, Extremely Popular Last Names in the US
- 0.6 Other Super Common Surnames
- 0.7 Still More Common American Last Names
- 0.8 Last Names Belonging to Half a Million Americans
- 0.9 More Exceptionally Common Last Names
- 0.10 Popular Last Names from a Variety of Naming Traditions
- 0.11 Even More Common Last Names
- 0.12 Keep Reading to Learn About Common Last Names
- 0.13 We’re Rolling Right Along
- 0.14 We’re Halfway Through the Top 100 Most Common Surnames
- 0.15 Common Last Names Belonging to 300,000 or More Americans
- 0.16 More Names in the 300,000+ Club
- 0.17 More Popular Last Names in the US
- 0.18 Common Last Names Belonging to 250,000+
- 0.19 Chugging Right Along
- 0.20 More Top 100 Common Last Names
- 0.21 Other Common Surnames to Rank
- 0.22 Keep On Going to Learn About Other Popular Surnames
- 0.23 We’re Getting Near the End
- 0.24 Still, Common Last Names Even Though They’re Near the Bottom of the List
- 0.25 Final Last Names to Land in the Top 100
- 1 Try These Amazing Celtic Last Names As First Names!
- 1.1 Celtic Last Names That Works As First Names for Girls
- 1.2 Kelly
- 1.3 Ryan
- 1.4 Kennedy
- 1.5 Quinn
- 1.6 Shea
- 1.7 Healy
- 1.8 Casey
- 1.9 Regan
- 1.10 Reid
- 1.11 Channing
- 1.12 Murphy
- 1.13 Sheeran
- 1.14 Dillon
- 1.15 Fay
- 1.16 Fee
- 1.17 Flannery
- 1.18 Kearney
- 1.19 Lucey
- 1.20 Reilly
- 1.21 Rowan
- 1.22 Seery
- 1.23 Sloane
- 1.24 Tierney
- 1.25 Blair
- 1.26 Cameron
- 1.27 Lennox
- 1.28 Logan
- 1.29 Blain
- 1.30 Awbrey
- 1.31 Dew
- 1.32 Wynn
- 1.33 Malone
- 1.34 Moran
- 1.35 Magee
- 1.36 Sheehan
- 1.37 Brennan
- 1.38 MacKenna
- 1.39 Meara
- 1.40 Celtic Last Names That Fit Perfectly As First Names for Boys
- 1.41 Doyle
- 1.42 Stewart
- 1.43 Graham
- 1.44 Buckley
- 1.45 Flynn
- 1.46 Brady
- 1.47 Whelan
- 1.48 Briody
- 1.49 Burke
- 1.50 Clarke
- 1.51 Conroy
- 1.52 Cregg
- 1.53 Fergus
- 1.54 Finn
- 1.55 Giles
- 1.56 Griffin
- 1.57 Keefe
- 1.58 Mack
- 1.59 Nolan
- 1.60 Patrick
- 1.61 Tobin
- 1.62 Troy
- 1.63 Keir
- 1.64 Dallas
- 1.65 Gibson
- 1.66 Lorne
- 1.67 Vaughan
- 1.68 Roderick
- 1.69 Ellis
- 1.70 Edris
- 1.71 Keane
- 1.72 Campbell
- 1.73 Sullivan
- 1.74 Barry
- 1.75 Hayes
- 1.76 Flanagan
- 1.77 Dunne
- 1.78 Grady
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