I'm doing some fun analyses in my free time at home. Has anyone seen a dataset that lists out surnames/family names and their place of origin? I haven't even found one that gets to a country-level for origins yet but I'd like to get as sub-regional as possible. I'd prefer a list that hits surnames commonly found in the United States but I'm open to anything - like I said, this is kinda for practice and fun.

Have a good day,


P.S. I've seen a couple of questions on here and other forums that ask about names but not necessarily the combination of surnames and their origin. If you've seen an answer elsewhere, I would love for this question to have already been asked and answered.

  • As most people started adopting surnames in the middle ages, perhaps you should look wider than the USA for surname origin.
    – nmtoken
    Commented Jun 2, 2017 at 20:36
  • For UK and Ireland you could look at global.oup.com/academic/product/… but it's not free
    – nmtoken
    Commented Jun 2, 2017 at 20:42
  • My scope will be most certainly greater than the US, I'm looking at the origins of surnames that are commonly in the US, so I'll certainly need UK and Irish and other European origins but the Indian subcontinent, SE Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia are more elusive and many names from these places are in the top surnames as listed by the Census.
    – gunDy
    Commented Jun 5, 2017 at 13:57

1 Answer 1


The USA Census has a surname dataset (162,253 names, CSV/Excel export) which may be useful to get started.


"Name"  "Number Of Occurrences"
Smith   2,442,977
Johnson     1,932,812
Williams    1,625,252
Brown   1,437,026
Jones   1,425,470
Garcia  1,166,120
Miller  1,161,437
Davis   1,116,357
Rodriguez   1,094,924
Martinez    1,060,159

As for their origin, you'd need to be either clever or flexible to join the name dataset to a country of origin. It would be a fun project, but not an exact one.

The website Forebears.io has this data, but you can only search one name at a time (article).

  • I had looked at Forebears before and saw the same thing - it does appear they are launching an API soon so that may resolve that issue entirely.
    – gunDy
    Commented Mar 4, 2019 at 16:47

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