Could You Have Royalty Hiding in Your Family Tree? Check This List of Surnames

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Could You Have Royalty Hiding in Your Family Tree? Check This List of Surnames


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Do you have royal last names hiding in your family tree? Do you suspect that some of your ancestors may have royal roots? If you can find one of the surnames from your family tree on the list below, you just might be right!

Many families have stories of royalty in the family tree — and while many of these turn out to be just that, stories — it sure can be fun to investigate. Even if you don’t have tales of Kings and Queens in your past, you might be surprised to discover that having noble connections is actually somewhat common.

One of the most obvious places to begin looking is at your early American ancestors (if you have them). A good deal of these families had aristocratic connections and there are a plethora of books that document these lineages.

Americans of Royal Descent by Charles H. Browning, published in 1891, was one of the first. It includes hundreds of surnames and documents the royal family trees of these individuals in detail. We’ve taken the time to list some of the last names from his below. If you don’t see a surname from your tree on this list you can access this book for free online via Hathitrust, where you will find thousands other family names with documented royal ancestries. Look at the index in the back of the book for the full list of names.

A rather interesting article on Browning, his book and related texts can be found here.

This book is certainly not the only (or most updated) source of information on the aristocratic lineages of early Americans. If your surnames are not mentioned in our list or in the book, don’t fear. There are many other books and resources to explore. (we’ve included a list below).

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While it is fun to read through the following surnames, a good deal of additional research will be needed on your part if you do find a matching name. As with any aspect of your family history research, all information should be verified and properly sourced before it can be considered a correct addition to your family tree.

Don’t rely on the family trees you find published online, or a single book or resource, when researching royal connections. Many books and resources were published for vanity purposes only and contain very questionable information. Other books contain inaccuracies or are outdated. If you think you have found a solid connection to royalty you will likely be able to discover well-established and documented trees online. Connect with those who manage these trees and their related societies for the most accurate information available.

Here are 100 Royal Last Names

  1. Abel
  2. Alden
  3. Appleton
  4. Ayer
  5. Barber
  6. Barclay
  7. Beverly
  8. Binney
  9. Brooke
  10. Brown
  11. Campbell
  12. Carroll
  13. Chauncey
  14. Coleman
  15. Cooper
  16. Davis
  17. Dickinson
  18. Darling
  19. Douglas
  20. Dunbar
  21. Edwards
  22. Ellery
  23. Ellis
  24. Emmett
  25. Evans
  26. Farley
  27. Fleming
  28. Forest
  29. French
  30. Gardiner
  31. George
  32. Gerard
  33. Gerry
  34. Gibson
  35. Graham
  36. Hamilton
  37. Haynes
  38. Herbert
  39. Hill
  40. Howard
  41. Hume
  42. Irving
  43. Jackson
  44. James
  45. Jenkins
  46. Johnson
  47. Kane
  48. Kennedy
  49. Ker
  50. Key
  51. King
  52. Langdon
  53. Lawrence
  54. Lee
  55. Leonard
  56. Livingston
  57. Lloyd
  58. McCall
  59. McDonald
  60. Malcalester
  61. Montgomery
  62. Morris
  63. Morton
  64. Nelson
  65. Nicholson
  66. Nixon
  67. Norris
  68. O’Carroll
  69. Ogle
  70. Opie
  71. Parsons
  72. Patterson
  73. Peabody
  74. Pomeroy
  75. Porter
  76. Pratt
  77. Preston
  78. Quay
  79. Randolph
  80. Read
  81. Reeve
  82. Robinson
  83. Rogers
  84. Sanford
  85. Shaw
  86. Smith
  87. Sowden
  88. Stanley
  89. Taylor
  90. Townsend
  91. Turner
  92. Tyler
  93. Valentine
  94. Varson
  95. Walker
  96. Watts
  97. White
  98. Whiting
  99. Williams
  100. Young

Of course, having one of these royal last names in your tree does not necessarily mean you have royal ancestry – these names relate to specific individuals and not to the surname in general. Look these surnames up in the index of Browning’s book for more information on the person or persons who match these entries.

On the flip side, NOT finding your ancestors’ surnames doesn’t mean that you don’t have royal ancestry. The truth is, many, many people do. This list is just a fun sample of royal last names, and tha’s all. Check out Americans of Royal Descent by Charles H. Browning for his full list of early American names and explore the resources mentioned below for more information on searching for royal roots in general.

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Here are some places to start when researching royal connections:

We’d love to hear about your royal roots in the comments!

Image: Don Phillipe V. par la Gracia de Dinos Rey de las Espanas. c1703. Library of Congress

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8 Comments
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  • Malu Darienzo
    October 17, 2016 at 9:27 am

    Decendo de D1ARIENZO E DURSO, CASERTA MONDRAGONE ITALIA.
    e OS ESPANHOIS RUIS SANCHES GALIAN

  • Anita Wray
    October 8, 2016 at 6:36 am

    I have a relative Jane Hamilton married to Capt Robert Cooper. Doing my 10 generation genealogy I found her father was William Hamilton and his father Lord Alexander Hamilton married to Lady Elizabeth Pollock. Both have pedigrees back to William Wallace and many kings and queens. It was an easy find on Ancestry.

  • September 5, 2016 at 1:06 am

    You’ve illustrated the article with a photo of a manic-depressive King.

  • Janice
    September 4, 2016 at 4:43 pm

    I have been told my 3rd ggf Richard Harwood, born England 1795 was related to a member of Parliament. I have done limited research on this but no positive info. My great Aunt and a Bedford Co,Pa Genealogist told me this. Richard came to America about 1828 and was a school teacher inBedford Co., Pa.

  • Ashley
    September 3, 2016 at 2:18 am

    If you’re non-Ashkenazi European, you have royalty in your heritage. The only questions are when, where, and how to prove it. It’s a foundational principle of both the pyramid and diamond theories of genealogy. I’m surprised that you didn’t discuss that.

    The simplest way to find royal ancestry is to add your tree to a collaborative, “big tree” site like Geni and follow the paths, then confirm the evidence trail. No need anymore for people to keep reinventing the research wheel. I don’t particularly care about royals, but it’s neat to be able to click on any royal’s profile and see the path. All I have to do then it follow the documentation.

  • John
    September 2, 2016 at 6:19 pm

    Funny thing about this: I was just researching one of my lines from Colonial America (my 11th great gf George Morton and then I see this article. Not positive but I think his line goes back to the Markhams of 14th and 15th century England and a royal line of mine eninating from Queen Anne ….more research to do!!

    • Anne Harris
      September 6, 2016 at 7:50 pm

      What was George Morton’s surname? I have a gr gf George Morton Moore. He’s suppose to come from a line that had a lord in it. I haven’t been able to prove it yet.

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