Last Names

90+ Southern Last Names As Charming As The Region Itself

Perfect for your little belle or beau.

by Team Scary Mommy
Originally Published: 
City of Charleston, South Carolina.
Peter Unger/Getty Images

If you’re considering Southern first names for your baby on the way but want something even more unique, you may be interested in the region’s surnames as well. After all, using last names as first names is a trend that isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. And if the American South’s culture, cuisine, literature, and lore have charmed you (like so many others), it might be the perfect place to look when deciding what to call your little one. Of course, the American South has a complicated past and present, and its story can be told — at least in part — by Southern last names.

Like the rest of the United States, the South was home to a variety of Indigenous Peoples, including the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Seminole nations. The Spanish were among the first to explore the region, beginning in the 15th century, and started colonizing what is now the state of Florida in the mid-1500s. The French and British soon followed, colonizing other parts of the South. Once tobacco was introduced and became the basis of the Southern economy, the colonists began to realize they needed more people to do the manual labor growing the cash crop required. Their solution was to capture and then enslave Africans and build an entire political economy and culture around ensuring that enslaved people were never treated as human beings. Throughout its history, the South has also been the destination of immigrants from around the world, including Europe and Central and South America.

Today, the American South has made great strides and is a destination known for its beauty, lifestyle, and hospitality. Still, there is much room for progress, and realizing its full potential means not glossing over the difficult parts of its history. Bearing that in mind, choosing a name from the region can serve as a way to further the dialogue surrounding the South’s inherent complexity — especially since many of the most popular last names in the region are a reflection of the aforementioned people, who imbued it with the culture it is loved for now.

So, ready to learn more about the region’s most enduring monikers? Here are some of the most common Southern last names, along with their meanings and origins.

Common Southern Last Names

1. Abel

Meaning: Breath, vigor

Origin: Anglo-Scottish

2. Adams

Meaning: Earth

Origin: Hebrew

3. Aiken

Meaning: Little Adam

Origin: English

4. Alden

Meaning: Friend

Origin: Scottish

5. Allen

Meaning: Little rock

Origin: Irish

6. Armstrong

Meaning: Son of a very strong man

Origin: Scottish

7. Baker

Meaning: One who bakes bread

Origin: Anglo-Saxon

8. Banks

Meaning: One who lives on banks of a river

Origin: Anglo-Scottish

9. Barnes

Meaning: Granary

Origin: English

10. Baskin

Meaning: Descendant of little Bass

Origin: Scottish

11. Bates

Meaning: Boat

Origin: English

12. Beauregard

Meaning: Beautiful view

Origin: English

13. Bennett

Meaning: Blessed

Origin: English

14. Berkeley

Meaning: Birch leaf

Origin: Old English

15. Birdie

Meaning: Little bird

Origin: German

16. Boone

Meaning: Good

Origin: English

17. Boseman

Meaning: Cunning

Origin: German

18. Bowen

Meaning: The son of Owain

Origin: Welsh

19. Boykin

Meaning: Timid

Origin: Slavic

20. Brown

Meaning: Brun Origin:

Old English

21. Buckley

Meaning: Buck or boy

Origin: Irish

22. Butler

Meaning: The bottler

Origin: English

23. Calhoun

Meaning: The nook/corner

Origin: Scottish

24. Callaway

Meaning: Pebble

Origin: Norman French

25. Carson

Meaning: Son of Carr

Origin: Scottish

26. Clark

Meaning: Scribe, clerk, or secretary

Origin: Anglo-Scottish

27. Cook

Meaning: One who sells cooked meat

Origin: English

28. Copeland

Meaning: Bought land

Origin: Old Norse

29. Corbin

Meaning: Raven

Origin: English

30. Cunningham

Meaning: Chief or leader

Origin: Scottish

31. Davenport

Meaning: Market town

Origin: English

32. Dawson

Meaning: Son of David

Origin: Anglo-Scottish

33. Dillard

Meaning: Descendant of little Dill

Origin: English

34. Doby

Meaning: Famous, renowned, bright

Origin: Scottish

35. Drayton

Meaning: Drag or sledge town

Origin: English

36. Duvall

Meaning: Of the valley

Origin: French

37. Ellis

Meaning: The Lord is my God

Origin: English

38. Farrow

Meaning: Ironworker

Origin: Medieval English

39. Ferrell

Meaning: Man of valor

Origin: Irish

40. Freeman

Meaning: Free man

Origin: British

41. Fry

Meaning: Free

Origin: English

42. Fuller

Meaning: One who deals with woolen clothes

Origin: English

43. Garcia

Meaning: Young

Origin: Spanish

44. Goodwin

Meaning: Good-hearted

Origin: English

45. Grady

Meaning: Noble

Origin: Irish

46. Harding

Meaning: Strong, hardy, brave

Origin: English

47. Harrison

Meaning: Son of Harry

Origin: English

48. Hayes

Meaning: Hedged area

Origin: English

49. Henderson

Meaning: Son of Henry

Origin: Scottish

50. Hernandez

Meaning: Son of Hernando

Origin: Spanish

51. Holt

Meaning: Forested upland

Origin: German

52. Howard

Meaning: Brave, spirit

Origin: English

53. Huger (pronounced hyoo-jee)

Meaning: Keeper of cattle

Origin: French

54. Jewel

Meaning: Generous

Origin: English

55. Johnson

Meaning: Son of John

Origin: Scottish

56. Jones

Meaning: Loan’s son

Origin: Welsh

57. Legare (pronounced luh-gree)

Meaning: To be troubled or abandoned

Origin: French

58. Madison

Meaning: Son of Matthew

Origin: English

59. Martin

Meaning: Of Mars

Origin: Latin

60. Martinez

Meaning: Son of Martin

Origin: Spanish

61. Moore

Meaning: Open land

Origin: Middle English

62. Perkins

Meaning: Kin of Pierre

Origin: Anglo-Saxon

63. Peyton

Meaning: Fighting man’s estate

Origin: English

64. Pinckney

Meaning: Someone from Pincino’s village

Origin: German

65. Redd

Meaning: Read

Origin: Old English

66. Riggins

Meaning: Little king

Origin: Irish

67. Rodgers

Meaning: Son of Roger

Origin: English

68. Rodriguez

Meaning: Son of Rodrigo

Origin: Spanish

69. Rutledge

Meaning: Root ledge

Origin: Old English

70. Shepherd

Meaning: Herdsman or guardian

Origin: Middle English

71. Simmons

Meaning: Victorious protector

Origin: Old Norse

72. Smalls

Meaning: A person who is of slender build

Origin: Old English

73. Smith

Meaning: To smite metal

Origin: English

74. Spalding

Meaning: District

Origin: English

75. Sullivan

Meaning: Dark eyes

Origin: Gaelic

76. Taylor

Meaning: Tailor

Origin: English

77. Tradd

Meaning: Spear or any sharp weapon for thrusting or throwing

Origin: Gaelic

78. Underwood

Meaning: Below the trees in a forest

Origin: Old English

79. Villarreal

Meaning: A royal settlement

Origin: Spanish

80. Ward

Meaning: Marsh

Origin: Old English

81. Waring

Meaning: Guard

Origin: English

82. Williams

Meaning: Protection

Origin: English

83. Yeller

Meaning: Farmer

Origin: German

More Southern Last Names

84. Abbot

Meaning: Priest

Origin: English

85. Ballard

Meaning: Ball or white spot

Origin: English

86. Atkinson

Meaning: The son of Adam

Origin: English

87. Barker

Meaning: A tanner of leather

Origin: French

88. Bailey

Meaning: Berry clearing, bailiff, or city fortification

Origin: English

89. Baldwin

Meaning: Bold or brave

Origin: German

90. Beale

Meaning: Handsome man

Origin: English

91. Bean

Meaning: Fair-skinned

Origin: English

92. Black

Meaning: One who was black-haired or has a dark complexion

Origin: Scottish

93. Bowman

Meaning: An archer

Origin: Scottish

94. Bush

Meaning: Dweller near a bush or a thicket of bushes

Origin: English

95. Caldwell

Meaning: Spring to stream

Origin: English

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