Jamaica is a beautiful place with a rich and diverse culture. You may have heard some Jamaican last names and wondered how they came about.
The area is made up of people from different parts of the world mostly due to the slave trade that took place over the centuries of colonization. There was a lot of cultural diffusion and this is seen in the naming system of most of its people.
Most Jamaicans initially did not have last names, just first names. Those who were later baptized were allowed to choose their own names. Some chose random names, some were forced to use the name of the estate they worked on, while some chose names of people they just liked.
Hence, it has given rise to some names appearing more than others such as Johnson which is the most popular last name. Some other Jamaican names include Brown, Williams, and Jones. These English surnames coupled with the law that allows individuals to change their names makes it hard for some people to trace their genealogical roots.
Popular Jamaican Last Names
As mentioned earlier, some last names are very common amongst Jamaican people. These common Jamaican last names are all English last names that now serve as family names. These surnames are also common among Americans and other English people by default and are sometimes used as first names as well. Now is the time to find out the actual meaning of some common last names and also where they originated. Here is a list with some of the most popular Jamaican last names.
1. Allen (English origin) means “little rock”.
2. Anderson (English origin) meaning “son of Andrew”.
3. Armstrong (Scottish origin) means “son of a strong man”.
4. Bailey (French origin) means “bailiff”.
5. Baxter (English origin) means “baker”.
6. Brown (English origin) used to describe a person with brown hair.
7. Campbell (Scottish origin) means “crooked mouth”.
8. Clarke (English origin) meaning “clerk”.
9. Davis (English origin) meaning “son of David”.
10. Dixon (English origin) the son of Richard Keith.
11. Francis (Latin origin) meaning "Frenchman" or "free man".
12. Gayle (English origin) means "fathers joy" derived from the name Abigail.
13. Gordon (English origin) a habitual name for a place in Scotland.
14. Graham (English origin) means "gravel homestead" or "grey home".
15. Grant (English origin) meaning "tall" or "great".
16. Gray (English origin) means "grey".
17. Green (English origin) means "green".
18. Grey (English origin) "grey-haired".
19. Henry (English origin) meaning "home-ruler".
20. Higgins (Irish origin) meaning "descendant of Higgin".
21. Johnson (English origin) means "son of John".
22. Jonas (Hebrew origin) means “dove”.
23. Lawrence (Latin origin) meaning "bright".
24. Lewis (English origin) meaning "famed warrior".
25. Malcolm (Gaelic origin) meaning "devotee of Saint Columba".
26. Marshall (French origin) means “lover of horses”.
27. Morgan (Welsh origin) meaning "sea chief".
28. Palmer (English origin) means "Holy land pilgrim".
29. Phillips (Greek origin) means “friend of horses”.
30. Reid (Scottish origin) means "red".
31. Robinson (English origin) meaning "son of Robin".
32. Smith (English origin) meaning "to smite".
33. Thompson (English origin) means "son of Thomas".
34. Wilson (English origin) means “desired protection”.
35. Wright (English origin) means "carpenter".
Jamaican Last Names From Famous People
Famous people who have left a mark in the world have come from the Jamaican island. They have made great contributions in different areas such as sports, poetry, social laws and reforms, and most especially music. Jamaicans are often known for their artistic nature and freedom fighting spirit. They have also produced a lot of great athletes that have broken world records, you will find their names on this list.
These names are forever engraved in history and they will always be remembered. These are the names of notable Jamaicans who have made history in one way or another. Continue to the list below to find out the last names of these notable individuals produced by the Jamaican island.
36. Belafonte (French origin) means “fountain”.
37. Bennette-Coverley (English origin) means “blessed,” an activist and a poet, and remains a beloved household name.
38. Bolt (English origin) means “to run away” or “arrow,” the fastest man in the world.
39. Burrell (English origin) means “reddish-brown” and was used as a nickname.
40. Cliff (English origin) this surname derived from the name Clifford, singer and actor, and the only musician to be awarded the Order of Merit by the Jamaican government.
41. Cross (English origin) a topographical surname for someone who lived on a road near a stone cross.
42. Fraser-Pryce (Welsh origin) surname meaning “enthusiasm,” a female track athlete, one of the most famous Jamaican girls, and one of the fastest women in the world.
43. Garvey (Irish origin) surname meaning “descendant of Gairbheith”.
44. Hyatt (English origin) this surname means “high gate,” a playwright, talented actor, author, director, and broadcaster.
45. Jones (Welsh origin) this surname means "son of loan".
46. Manley (English origin) a surname from places in Devon and Cheshire.
47. Marley (English origin) surname meaning “marten wood” or “pleasant wood,” hailed as one of the most charismatic musicians ever, he was one of the greatest music legends to ever live.
48. McKenley (Gaelic origin) this surname means “son of Finlay,” left a sporting legacy and a long list of accomplishments through the Olympic games.
49. Miller (English origin) this surname an occupational name for a miller.
50. Nettleford (English origin) surname first found in Surrey as a family name.
51. Ottey (Anglo-Saxon origin) surname meaning “a clearing”.
52. Pasley (English origin) a variant of Parsley.
53. Patterson (Scottish origin) means “descendant of the curly-headed one”.
54. Powell (Welsh origin) surname meaning "son of Howell," also an athlete who represented his country in the Olympic games.
55. Williams (English origin) surname meaning "son of William".
Rare Jamaican Last Names
Due to the uniqueness of the language, there are some names that are less common. Native Jamaicans have surnames that are very different from the rest. Although most of these names are English names, Jamaican surnames are distinctive whenever you come across them. If you are from Jamaica or know anyone who is and you would like to trace your roots, then finding out the meaning and origin of your last name is a good place to start.
The list has rare surnames that are not so common and might never have been heard of until now. If you have any of these names or know anyone who does, this is a great opportunity to find out a little Jamaican surnames history.
56. Adamson (English origin) this last name means “son of Adam”.
57. Ambersley (English origin) the meaning of this last name is not quite clear.
58. Azan (Arabic origin) this last name means “call for the prayer”.
59. Bandoo (Hindi origin) the meaning of this last name is not quite clear.
60. Banks (English origin) topographical last name for someone that lived on the slope of a hillside.
61. Bradshaw (English origin) this is a habitual last name for a place in Bradshaw.
62. Buddan (French origin) this last name means “button”.
63. Calder (Scottish origin) means “from the wild water”. Perfect for people from an island.
64. Cato (Latin origin) meaning “all-knowing”.
65. Clare (Celtic origin) meaning “warm,” “bright,” or “gentle”.
66. Deleon (Spanish origin) means “kingdom of Leon”.
67. Demetrius (Greek origin) meaning “devoted to Demeter”.
68. Douse (Anglo-Saxon origin) a name given to a good-tempered person.
69. Edmondson (English origin) means “son of Edmond”.
70. Esson (Celtic origin) means “fire son”.
71. Ewers (German origin) means “a brave wild boar”.
72. Ford (English origin) given to someone who lived near a ford.
73. Fullwood (English origin) meaning “muddy wood”.
74. Gilpin (English origin) meaning “son of the Gilbert”.
75. Glenn (Scottish origin) meaning “from the wooded valley”.
76. Hogg (Scottish origin) meaning “son of Rodger”.
77. Hutton (Scottish origin) means “ridge settlement”.
78. Jeffrey (German origin) means "peaceful pledge” or “traveller”.
79. Kameka (Russian origin) used as occupational names or clan affiliation.
80. Kenton (English origin) means “the royal settlement”.
81. Leon (Greek origin) meaning “lion”.
82. Lyew (English origin) the meaning is not certain.
83. Maye (French origin) given to people who had a strong connection to May.
84. McKain (Scottish origin) used as a family name.
85. Neufville (English origin) an ancestral name.
86. O’Sullivan (Irish origin) a former Gaelic clan.
87. Owen (Welsh origin) meaning “noble”.
88. Perrin (Greek origin) meaning “the rock”.
89. Pessoa (Portuguese origin) meaning “person”.
90. Pratt (English origin) means “tricky”.
91. Radway (English origin) a habitual name.
92. Ramdeen (English origin) meaning “servant of God”.
93. Sherman (Anglo-Saxon origin) means “shearer of woollen garments”.
94. Sutton (Anglo-Saxon origin) means “southern farm”.
95. Tai (Chinese origin) means “great”.
96. Tyndale (English origin) refers to someone who lived near a valley or river named Tyne.
97. Vaughan (Welsh origin) means “younger” or “small”.
98. Weston (English origin) means “west settlement”.
99. Wheeler (English origin) an occupational name given to a maker of wheels.
100. Yee (Chinese origin) means “countryside”.
Kidadl has lots of great name articles to inspire you. If you liked our suggestions for Jamaican last names then why not take a look at Native American last names, or take a look at Arabic last names.
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