Rarest Last Names in US - Old Man Living Alone in 1937

These Are Some of the Rarest Last Names in the US: Do You Have One in Your Tree?

By Patricia Hartley

One of the first things most people do when starting a family history project is research their own surname. And, even though we can only learn a small part of our family’s past from doing so, it is always a fascinating undertaking. Our surname ties us to the generations who came before and it can be great fun to know where that name originated. 

Make Instant Discoveries in Your Family Tree Now
Imagine adding your family tree to a simple website and getting hundreds of new family history discoveries instantly.

MyHeritage is offering 2 free weeks of access to their extensive collection of 12 billion historical records, as well as their matching technology that instantly connects you with new information about your ancestors. Sign up using the link below to find out what you can uncover about your family.

If you are lucky enough to have an unusual surname, it can also make your search of the past a little easier (or harder, depending on who you ask). After all, there were certainly more women named “Mary Brown” than “Mary Niedergeses” in old records. But even if your last name is common you are likely lucky enough to have a few rare gems in your family tree as a whole. If you have been doing research for a while, you know which ones they are.

Curious as to how rare these surnames really are? If so, many of you have probably used Ancestry’s fun tool to see how the distribution of various surnames has changed throughout American history (with data available between 1840 and 1920), but did you know that the U.S. Census Bureau provides more recent information on surname usage?

The Bureau has been keeping track of the frequency of surnames reported by Americans every ten years, and has compiled Census Surname Tables for the 1990, 2000, and 2010 census returns. You can download the latest data, a spreadsheet of surnames and the exact number of those claiming them, right here.


Interestingly, the five most common American surnames as of 2010 haven’t changed that much over time and are Smith, Johnson, Williams, Brown, and Jones. But the bureau also compiled lists of the fastest-growing surnames in the United States and these include Zhang, Li, Ali, Liu, and Khan – a testament to the wonderful diversity of our nation.

According to the bureau’s data, there were nearly 6.3 million distinct surnames in the United States in 2010 and while they don’t, unfortunately, share the rarest of these names (those that belong to less than 100 people), they do share those last names with only 100 entries each.

The list below is a selection of these rare names, of which there are just over 1200. To see them all you will need to download the complete list here and scroll to the bottom to locate surnames held by the least amount of people.

Get the Free Genealogy Newsletter

We'll email you our newest family history articles, tips and tricks each week. It's always free and you can unsubscribe at any time.

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

Here are 100 of the Rarest Last Names in the U.S. as of the 2010 Census

  • Afify
  • Allaband
  • Amspoker
  • Ardolf
  • Atonal
  • Banasiewicz
  • Beischel
  • Bidelspach
  • Bombardo
  • Bressett
  • Bullara
  • Calascione
  • Carpiniello
  • Chaparala
  • Chorro
  • Clyborne
  • Concord
  • Cripple
  • Dallarosa
  • Delatejera
  • Denetsosie
  • Dierksheide
  • Dolivo
  • Doxon
  • Duckstein
  • Ekundayo
  • Eswaran
  • Featheringham
  • Feyrer
  • Floding
  • Freling
  • Gancayco
  • Gayhardt
  • Gessele
  • Ginart
  • Goscicki
  • Grigoras
  • Guillebeaux
  • Hanschu
  • Hayda
  • Henris
  • Hinsen
  • Hoig
  • Hulls
  • Ionadi
  • Javernick
  • Jonguitud
  • Kasprak
  • Kentala
  • Kleinhaus
  • Konietzko
  • Kronbach
  • Kustka
  • Lahde
  • Latcha
  • Leneghan
  • Llama
  • Luettgen
  • Madris
  • Maloles
  • Marudas
  • Mccallops
  • Melgren
  • Mickelberg
  • Mishchuk
  • Mosheyev
  • Naese
  • Nierling
  • Occhialini
  • Ollenburger
  • Owsinski
  • Panchak
  • Pegany
  • Petrunich
  • Ploense
  • Protich
  • Ragsdill
  • Reat
  • Riggie
  • Rugger
  • Salotto
  • Scheben
  • Schoellman
  • Serranogarcia
  • Shuldberg
  • Skalbeck
  • Snearl
  • Spedoske
  • Stawarski
  • Stolly
  • Suco
  • Tahhan
  • Tartal
  • Throndsen
  • Torsney
  • Tuffin
  • Usoro
  • Vanidestine
  • Viglianco
  • Vozenilek

Interested in Researching Your Surname or Those in Your Family Tree?

Researching the origins of last names in your family tree can be a fascinating journey and well worth the effort. We suggest reading What a Surname Can REALLY Tell You About Your Family’s Past first to help you clear up confusions and get you started. Then, consider checking out some of the helpful resources below for more guidance. 

If you’d like to find more people with your particular surname, you might also consider joining a surname study or one-name study

Image: “John Nygren who lives alone in a shack near Iron River, Michigan.” 1937. Library of Congress

For nearly 30 years Patricia Hartley has researched and written about the ancestry and/or descendancy of her personal family lines, those of her extended family and friends, and of historical figures in her community. After earning a B.S. in Professional Writing and English and an M.A. in English from the University of North Alabama in Florence, Alabama, she completed an M.A. in Public Relations/Mass Communications from Kent State University. 

12 Billion Genealogy Records Are Free for 2 Weeks
Get two full weeks of free access to more than 12 billion genealogy records right now. You’ll also gain access to the MyHeritage discoveries tool that locates information about your ancestors automatically when you upload or create a tree. What will you discover about your family’s past?

Get Our Articles By Email Each Week

Stay up-to-date with Family History Daily's newest genealogy articles by subscribing to our free weekly newsletter.

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

3 thoughts on “These Are Some of the Rarest Last Names in the US: Do You Have One in Your Tree?”

  1. according to records Cariaso belongs to the old blood in the Philippines. Why does there be no info? Could the records building Manila in early 1900’s have anything to do with it? Cariaso is a given name and my grandfather carried two last names Nera Cariaso differentiating us from the others.
    I think my family’s plantations were stolen. I am also tossing around the idea we because of our military background (royal guard) we owned a great deal of land. We are not spanish either , witch says tribal chief to me.
    Any response is a good response. I seek truth not for land or wealth rather as a tool to show reason.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Beginners' Guides

Whether you’re brand new to family history research or just want some help with the basics, our beginners’ guides - including our Family Tree Starter Guide - have the expert information you need.

Online Courses

Discover how to build your best family tree with our online courses. Learn with detailed tutorials, expert guides, hands-on lessons, quizzes and much more. Your registration never expires.

Free Genealogy

Billions of free genealogy records are available online, you just need to know how to find them. We’ve made the job easy with lists and guides to help you discover the records you need.

Send this to a friend