Having a popular surname has it’s disadvantages when it comes to genealogy. As you put together your family tree, it can become difficult to discern between someone who is your relative, and someone who is not your relative, but does have the same last name as you do.
This can be especially difficult if you happen to have one of the most common surnames in the United States of America. What are those names? According to census data from 1990, the tenth most popular surname in the United States is Taylor. This last name comes from English origin. It means “to cut”, and refers to an occupation. A tailor today, is someone who alters clothing so that the clothes will fit a particular person better.
The ninth most common surname is Moore. The meaning comes from Middle English, and refers to an area of uncultivated land. There is also an Old French origin, which refers to a native of Northwestern Africa. The term Moore was once used in medieval England to refer to a person who was swarthy, or had dark skin.
Wilson is the 8th most popular surname. This name has English, or Scottish, origins. It comes from the phrase “son of Will”. It is also a medieval nickname for someone named Will or William. Miller is the 7th most common surname. This is another name that refers to an occupation. A miller is someone who owned a grain mill, or worked in a grain mill.
Number six is Davis. This is a nickname of David, and may also come from “son of David”. Number five is Brown. This name once referred to a person’s hair color, complexion, or clothing. The 4th most popular surname is Jones. It comes from the phrase “son of John”. The 3rd most popular last name is Williams, which, like Wilson, derives from the first name William.
Number two is Johnson. This name, like Jones, also comes from the phrase “son of John”. It may be spelled in a variety of ways such as: Johnston, Jonson, Jonsen, Johanson, or Johnstone. Many immigrants to America had their surnames changed to Johnson when they arrived. And finally, the most popular surname in the United States of America is Smith. This name is another one that refers to an occupation, in this case, the occupation of blacksmith. A blacksmith is someone who strikes or hits metal in order to form it into a tool, or other useful item.