23    Aug 20100 comments

Top Ten Australian Surnames

Whilst Australia awaits the outcome of the national election, Welsh-born Julia Gillard’s surname may give a little insight into her character.  Gillard is an ancient name of Norman 11th century origins.  According to some sources, it came from the Norman name Willard.  This name is derived from the Germanic roots “will” meaning desire, and “heard” meaning strong or hard. 

Tony Abbot’s ancient surname is generally of early English origins, predating the Anglo-Saxons and Normans.  It was usually an occupational name for a person employed by an abbot, or perhaps a nickname for one who was thought to conduct himself like an abbot. 

Could you be related to the next Prime Minister of Australia?  How common is the name Gillard or Abbot in Australia?  You might be surprised!  Find out below, along with the 10 most common surnames in Australia.

FPM = Frequency Per Million

Gillard – FPM:  136.04
Abbot – FPM:  16.70

 1.    SMITH
FPM:  12,254.2  (New Zealand – 9,009.07)
Derived from the Anglo-Saxon word "smitan," to smite or strike, Smith is an occupational name for a man who works with metal (smith or blacksmith). This is a craft that was practiced in all countries, making the surname and its derivations the most common of all surnames.

2.    JONES
FPM:  6,132.79  (NZ – 4,002.11)
This famous surname, is of English medieval origins. It derives either from the male given name John, or its female equivalent Joan, both Norman French introductions after the 1066 Invasion.  It is widespread throughout the British Isles, and the most popular surname in Wales, where "son of" is denoted by the "s" ending

3.    WILLIAMS
FPM:  5,904.07  (NZ – 4,767.47)
The meaning is derived from son or descendant of Guillemin, the French form of William.  As mentioned above, adding an "s" to the end of a surname in Wales denotes "son of," pointing to Wales as the origin of many people with the Williams surname.

4.    BROWN 
FPM:  5,880.77  (NZ – 4,809.8)
When the surname is of English or Scottish origins it is derived from a nickname concerning the complexion of an individual, or the colour of their hair. This nickname is derived from the Old English brun, brūn;  Middle English brun, broun; or Old French brun.

5.    WILSON
FPM: 5,037.98  (NZ – 5,141.69)
Details for Wilson are short and sweet.  It is of English or Scottish origin and literally means "son of Wil". 

6.    TAYLOR
FPM: 4,867.51  (NZ – 4,481.43)
Taylor is among the most commonly found surnames, due to its popularity as a medieval occupation.  The English occupational name for a tailor, came from Old French "tailleur" for "tailor" which comes from the Latin "taliare," meaning "to cut."  The first historical evidence of the surname dates to South West England in 1182.

7.    NGUYEN
FPM: 3,798.06  (NZ – n/a)
By some estimates, approximately 40 percent Vietnamese have this surname.  Nguyen is of Chinese origin, from the Chinese ruan, a plucked string instrument.  In Vietnamese history, many events contributed to the name's prominence. In 1232, descendants of the Ly were forced to change their surname to Nguyen.  Others later changed their name to Nguyen to avoid persecution. 

8.    JOHNSON
FPM:  3,571.02  (NZ – 2,375.1)
Johnson is an English patronymic name meaning "son of John (gift of God)”.  The name John derives from the Latin Johannes, which is derived from the Hebrew Yohanan meaning "Jehovah has favoured."  The suffix meaning "son," creates several different variations of the JOHNSON surname.  This includes: English son, Norwegian sen, German sohn, and Swedish sson.  JONES is the common Welsh version of this surname.  The JOHNSON surname may also be an Anglicisation of the Gaelic surname MacSeain or MacShane.

9.    MARTIN
FPM: 3,314.21  (NZ – n/a)
This interesting surname is of Roman origin and is recorded in around two hundred forms from Martin and Martini, to Marti and Martinovich.  It derives from "Mars", the god of fertility and war, although it is claimed that "Mars" itself may derive ultimately from the word "mar", meaning "to gleam".  The original given name has been used in every state in Europe since the 12th century crusades.

10.  WHITE
FPM:  3,304.37  (NZ – 2,305.61)
From the Middle English "whit",  meaning "white", this is a descriptive name or nickname given to a person with very light hair or complexion.  The early name referred either to a baby, one who was "unblemished", or for some it may have been an ethnic term given to a Viking or Anglo-Saxon, who were pale in hair and complexion compared with the original native Celts, who were dark.  It has a number of possible origins. In the single spellings of White or Wita, it appears in the very earliest surviving registers such as the famous Anglo-Saxon Chronicles of the pre 9th century a.d.

How unique is your name?

img src = The Daily Telegraph

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