Baby Names

Unexpected Inspiration: 60+ Last Names That Make Great First Names

Source: @claudia.redel
Source: @claudia.redel

Seeing baby name trends evolve over the decades is an interesting part of our culture. While there are some names that have always held a place on the charts for their timeless qualities, many come in waves of popularity. We’ve come a long way—and gotten a lot more creative—from the days of Henry the 2nd, 3rd, 8th…you get the idea.

There is beauty in every way people find their baby name inspiration—like taking names traditionally seen as surnames and using them as first names. Personally, I’ve considered going this route. This is because, while I am happy to follow the tradition of taking on a husband’s last name, I wouldn’t mind seeing my own last name—Hayden—live on, especially since there are no boys in my family.

Even those of us who don’t have this desire, or a surname that fits quite right as a first name, can consider surname baby names when it comes to finding the perfect titles for our little ones. Read on for 60+ of our favorite surname baby names for inspiration. 

Our Favorite Surname Baby Names


We may quickly associate this as a first name for a little girl, but it was originally seen as a surname of British origin and means ‘son of Adam.’ We also love the pet name Addie that is often used with the title.


Suitable for either a boy or a girl is this snappy, but strong, name of Arabic origin means ‘elevated’ and ‘champion.’ We love that this name can also pay homage to American professional boxer and activist Muhammad Ali, who was certainly a celebrated champion.


This title has become a more and more popular choice as a given name in recent years and we can see why—it’s pretty adorable for both boys and girls! With Greek and Scandinavian roots, the name unsurprisingly means ‘son of Andrew,’ and is one of the most popular surnames according to U.S. census data.


If your first thought upon hearing this name is the celebrated actress Jennifer Anniston, you’re not alone. Not only do we love her, but we love this name that means ‘Ann’s town.’


Raise your hand if you’re a literary fan! This gender neutral moniker meaning ‘great’ or ‘magnificent’ brings to mind the Pride and Prejudice author, Jane Austen.


The reason for including this name is threefold. First, it’s a strong surname we simply love. Second, it’s nature-inspired with the meaning of ‘brook’ or ‘stream.’ And lastly, it’s music-inspired, reminding us of the American singer of the popular song “Loser.”


Speaking of music-inspired names, we love this name meaning ‘blonde’ that reminds us of English singer-songwriter, David Bowie.


Raise a little rhinestone cowboy with this name that brings to mind American country music singer Glen Campbell. The Scottish name means ‘crooked mouth.’


This title made its way into our society as a given name awhile back, but was originally seen as a surname with Irish, English, and Scottish roots. We’re reminded of the 39th American president, Jimmy Carter.


Any fans of the famous YouTube star will recognize this name as the surname of Emma Chamberlain. We can also appreciate its Middle English roots and strong meaning of ‘chief officer of the household’—perfect for a little one who will be calling all the shots from now on!


An English surname reminiscent of charcoal is this snappy moniker that has made its way to becoming an admired chosen name.


We’ve seen the surname in the media from American broadcaster Anderson Cooper of CNN’s 60 Minutes. The English name refers to a ‘barrel maker.’


Inspired by none other than beloved actor Patrick Dempsey is this Irish title meaning ‘proud.’


Bob Dylan fans, unite! This one’s for you. We love this gender neutral option meaning ‘born from the ocean.’


Raise a little warrior with this German name meaning ‘brave’ and ‘powerful.’


While we’re on the topic, consider this Old English name meaning ‘brave.’ We know a little one with this name will grow up ready to conquer their dreams.


Whether you feel more inspired by the American vehicle manufacturer or the celebrated actor, Harrison Ford, be sure to consider this title meaning ‘river crossing.’


Perfect for a little one coming from a family with some height in their genes, Grant means ‘tall’ and ‘big.’ It also has old Hollywood ties to actor Cary Grant.


A noble surname to be sure, it has English roots and means ‘gravelly homestead.’


A name that exudes as much strength as Harlow is one we can get on board with. Meaning ‘army hill,’ a little one of this title is sure to have a confidence to be reckoned with. It also has ties to the distinguished American actress Jean Harlow and popular singer/rapper Jack Harlow.


Within the top 20 most popular baby girl names in the last decade, this British name meaning ‘harpist’ has certainly made a name for itself.


For a little one following in the footsteps of a Harry, this title meaning ‘son of Harry’ may be the perfect choice.


Not to show any favoritism, but I happen to think my own last name is a great option for either a boy or a girl. With ties to nature, the English name means ‘hay field.’


This moniker has English and German roots and refers to ‘son of Hudd.’


Raise a little one who will never be afraid to pursue their dreams with this British name meaning ‘one who hunts’ or ‘pursuer.’


With strong ties to music, this title meaning ‘son of Jack’ brings to mind Motown’s Jackson 5, singer-songwriter Janet Jackson, and country music star Alan Jackson.


A biblical name meaning ‘supplanter’ or ‘replacer,’ the title was traditionally seen as a masculine option but has since gained popularity for little girls as well.


This edgy baby name choice can be inspired by the Irish whiskey brand and used for either a boy or a girl. As far as surname baby names go, this is one with a more literal connotation meaning ‘son of James.’


As one of the most distinguished titles on our list, we love this masculine option meaning ‘son of Jeffery.’


As you likely guessed, this adorable gender-neutral Anglo-Norman title means ‘son of John.’


Also meaning ‘son of John’ and ‘God is gracious,’ Jones made a return to the top 1000 baby boy names in 2020. The last time Jones was on the list was in 1931, making it a first name choice that’s both unique and adorable.


As Naomi and Wynonna Judd would say, love can build a bridge—hopefully leading to the perfect baby name. This derivative of Jordan with Hebrew origins means ‘to flow down.’


Kai has roots throughout the world, one of our favorites is the Hawaiian meaning of ‘sea.’


While music fans may quickly think of the American hip hop artist of the same title, we also happen to love that this Arabic name means ‘immortal’ and ‘everlasting,’ just like a parent’s love.


Perfect for the new king (or queen!) of the household is this English name meaning ‘king’s meadow.’


Trust us, this name doesn’t have to be paired with Abraham to raise a courageous and noble individual. Adorable for either a boy or a girl, the name holds the meaning of ‘pool/lake colony.’


We’ve likely seen this name used for little girls frequently enough that we forget it began as a surname meaning ‘son of Matthew.’


Whether you’re a fan of musician John Mayer, or not, we must admit this is a great name. With a German origin, it means ‘farmer.’


A great gender-neutral baby name that is slowly rising up the popular baby name charts. Meaning ‘one who grinds grain,’ Miller is also one of the most popular last names in the United States.


Millennials are uniquely familiar with this title as it was a fairly popular choice in the late 1980s and early ’90s. A variation of Michael, the English name means ‘who is like God.’


Make Marylin proud by using her surname for your little icon. Though traditionally masculine, the Scottish and Irish Gaelic name meaning ‘mouth of the River Roe’ has become steadily more popular for little girls as well.


Meaning ‘olive grove,’ this lovely surname is brought to us by Portuguese and Galician roots.


This sweet title has historically been chosen for both boys and girls and has the Scottish meaning of ‘church’ and ‘cemetery.’


Raise an outdoor enthusiast with this charming English title meaning ‘park keeper.’


If you gave This Is Us a rewatch this year, you are likely familiar with the complicated but lovable Pearson family. Coming from the Greek name Piers, it holds the meaning of ‘rock.’  


We couldn’t ‘gatekeep’ this adorable name any longer—holding this meaning, the title has French and English roots.


You ain’t nothin’ but a great surname baby name choice, that’s for sure! Bringing forth reminders of the King, Elvis Presley, the gender-neutral name means ‘from the priest’s meadow.’


Because a newborn will rule your world, consider giving them this title defined as ‘little ruler.’


Fans of films like John Wick or Matrix Resurrection will enjoy this name inspired by leading actor Keanu Reeves. The title of British origin means ‘steward.’


If you plan to welcome a little ‘redhead’ (or not!), consider this sharp English moniker.


Because bringing home a newborn is like welcoming royalty into your home, consider this Spanish name meaning ‘kings’ or ‘royalty’ for the new ruler of the house.


Country music fans will quickly equate this to the lovable “Die a Happy Man” singer Thomas Rhett. The Latin name means ‘to speak,’ and is a perfect option to foster a little one not afraid to speak their mind.


Raise a little one who is both courageous and determined with this Gaelic name meaning ‘valiant.’


Commemorate the determined women who stepped up to the plate to go to work during World War II by using this name associated with the artist behind the famous 1943 ‘Rosie the Riveter’ illustration, Norman Rockwell. The English name means ‘rock spring.’


Most names with occupational ties have had a long history and often began as a surname. This one is especially adorable for a little boy or girl and refers to ‘woodcutters.’


If we learned anything from the Sex and the City series, it’s that Smith makes a very cool name. As a mainstay most popular surname in the U.S., it refers to a ‘metalworker.’


With ties to English and Aramaic roots, this sophisticated name means ‘son of Tom.’


Many of us are familiar with (or have one of our own!) Dutch surnames that begin with Van. Commemorate the heritage with this title meaning ‘marshland.’


Whether they’ll grow up to become a Texas Ranger or not, this strong British title is a noble option meaning ‘to walk’ or ‘tread.’


Raise a little craftsman or craftswoman with this unique German moniker meaning ‘wagon maker.’


Meaning ‘from the well,’ Wells as a first name cracked the list of the top 1000 most popular boy names in 2017—perhaps after viewers were introduced to loveable reality show contestant Wells Adams on Season 12 of The Bachelorette?


We’re all familiar with the classic name of William, but we also happen to love this unique French title meaning ‘son of William.’


Kate Winslet-approved: this English name is sure to spark ‘joy’ when attached to an adorable newborn baby.

Thinking Outside the Box: 60+ Unique Baby Names We Love