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?

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, whether it’s a rare one or a name you share with thousands of others, ties us to the generations who came before and it can be great fun to know where it originated. 

If you are lucky enough to have an unusual last name, 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 your surname is? If so, many of you have probably used Ancestry’s fun tool to see how the distribution of various last names 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?

Please note that we may earn a commission to support our site if you use Ancestry’s site.

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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 last names as of 2010 (data from the 2020 census is not yet available) 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. So we can’t know what the rarest last name is, but we can get close.

The list below is a selection of these uncommon last 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 in the US.

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

Don’t see your surname on this list? Get statistics about it here.

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.

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It’s easy to make assumptions about what your family name can tell you about your ancestry if you’re not cautious. Know that a name, no matter how rare, can have many origins. Make sure you take the time to research the line (often paternal in the US, but not always) that provided you with your surname. See where this family line takes you before making determinations about what it may mean. 

How can I research a family tree with rare last names?

Researching a family tree that includes rare last names should be done in the same manner as any other tree. You’ll want to start by interviewing family members for details about recent individuals (parents, grandparents etc) and then enter this information into a solid family tree program. Carefully research each person, adding as much factual data as you can prove (and always record your sources).

As you work backwards in your tree more and more information will become available via your own research and the presentation of record suggestions (if using trees that provide them, see the above linked article about family tree programs for help with this). Sometimes it only takes a few generations before you’ll begin to see where a surname originated – other times you may have to research further back, especially if you have early US colonial ancestors.

Once you can discover an origin for your uncommon last name, you’ll be able to better research the people who carried it and perhaps even locate exactly why it was created (many surnames have fairly recent origins).

Knowing that you only share your surname with a small group of people can be exciting and may help you reveal forgotten stories about your family. For more help building a family tree so that you can get started with your research read our quick guide to building a family tree or consider taking an online course.

You may also like to 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

By By Patricia Hartley. For nearly 30 years Patricia 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. 

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


    A long time ago, I read in a magazine, that this individual’s last name was Name. Every government document he filled out, some one would cross-off Name and use his middle name.

  2. My maiden name is Plaschka not very common as far as I can tell. Have not met anyone with that last name besides my immediate family.

  3. My maiden name, Usita. As far as I know, only people related to me (and a few distant relatives far removed in the Philippines) carry my name.

  4. I don’t see the name Jumche on this list. It was my grandmother’s maiden surname. Today, I am aware of 3 of them (all in my family) in the US who acquired the name at birth. I have not found it anywhere else in the world.

  5. I married a Dyda his father was from Poland and even there the name is rare and I’ve never heard anyone else other than the family with it yet.

  6. Catharine C. Carpenter

    I was surprised when I saw the name Carpiniello on the list. There was a Carpiniello family living on the block next to my street when I was a kid. 😀

  7. My maiden name was Bitzel
    My married name was Hinga
    These names are not common names

  8. I knew a lady named Mrs. Rape
    I know of a Pastor God – his wife married a God – his church has a God for pastor
    I have a FB friend, Mrs. Priest
    I heard of a Pastor whose last name is Pastor, so he is Pastor Pastor
    I think maybe this is a last name: Haydere (HAY-there)

  9. I see that the name Minkwitz is missing from your list of 100 rare names in the US. I understand that there is only one Minkwitz family, which suggests that it is rare.

  10. My last name is Gluz… There are approximately 60 in the US. Most of the names on your list that I checked have significantly more… Usoro 84, Ardolf 241, Tartal 111… If you are going to make declarative statements, please do your research first!!!

  11. William Tipkemper

    My surname is Tipkemper. I have distant cousins in Germany. However, except for my immediate family, I have never found anyone else with that name anywhere in the United States.

  12. what about my LNAB: Dreppenstedt I dont believe I can be the only one in the U.S.A with this name at birth. There is a small number with same last name of Dreppenstedt in Nienburg,Nedersachsen,Germany who are distant cousins to me. Thank You,

  13. Charlotte Lynn Ridgely

    My last name is Ridgely. Is this rare? What’s it mean and where is it from?

  14. Well, all language is made up so yes, but more relevantly, the idea of having family names isn’t actually very old. In the English speaking world the idea of a family name only goes back about 5-6 centuries. In much of the rest of the world the concept is even newer, often only going back until colonialism, or isn’t even the same as the English speaking world with people having names that denote their relationship to one or both parents instead of solely patrilineal descent. For example, the Arabic word ibn and the Hebrew word ben both denote that someone is the son of someone. So for example you can have David ben Jesse or Uthman ibn Affan. What looks at first glance like a family name is only the first name of the father. Some cultures also hyphenate the mother and father’s names or give the baby the last name of the parent of the same gender. Some cultures put the family name first, for example Kim Jong-Un and Kim il-Sung.

  15. Not so. The names Ellis Island used were the ones from the ship manifest BEFORE they left shore. Plenty of people changed their names, but not at Ellis Island by wim of the in processors.

  16. I once worked for a guy named Jim Freitag at GM. Would you, by any chance, be related to him?

  17. I have a grandmother whose maiden birth name (surname) was Jumche. In all the many years of my research and travels, the onlypeople I have found with this surname are my family. I know of 1 family which now, with the addition of some grand children, has about 6 in it. Not sure why this name is not on this list.

  18. Looking for any information about my maternal grandfather. He died i n the 1900’s at BelleVue Hospital. His name was William Loehning

  19. Terri DeArman Tapia

    Hello, Mr. Heck,
    I always thought of the name “Heck” as unusual, rare even. I grew up with a friend and her brother by that surname. I was always curious about it. Thx!

  20. Esmeralda Delatejera

    Whoa, I googled my name and surname and found out my name is really rare and my surname is one of the rarest in U.S. It’s cool I think)))

  21. Lol, might have been a made-up surname. It’s rare, but legal. Some couples do that for their own, personal reasons.

  22. How a bout PUPPYBREATH?
    So help me, I once knew someone with that name, but recent online searches have yielded nothing, leaving me to assume she and her husband passed on as the last of the Puppybreath lineage.

  23. Was told a book was written about my last name of O’Hail , being the least used last name in the United States

  24. My last name is Hatok. My family are the only ones in the United States with this last name. According to forbears it is the 1,955,159th most common name with a mere 91 people in the world!!

  25. Reinking is 24314 on the U.S. Census List. Drehsen doesn’t appear on the list, so probably occurs less than 100 times in the U.S. Might appear more often in German speaking countries.

  26. C. K. Drehsen,M.D., Facep

    My name is Dr. Charles Drehsen. I attended a German Lutheran high school in Inglewood California in 1958. The dean was Walter F. Freitag. How are you related to Dean Freitag? My last name is also unusual. It is the 569,000th most common name.

  27. People should download the full list and check it. Gaa is 66130 on the list. The list above is just a partial/example list.

  28. It may be kind of rare in the US, but not so much in the Philippines, and parts of Germany.

  29. Freitag is a very common surname in Germany, and in the Jewish Community. So, you have a very large family…lol. It does indeed mean “Friday”.

  30. Blassingame is a pretty common surname in the Black American community. It’s origin is English. There was also a Major League infielder by the name of Don Blasingame (caucasion), who played in the 50’s and 60s.

  31. No i don’t think it’s as rare as u think my whole Mom’s Family has that name maybe rare in certain areas tho

  32. Elijah Blassingame

    My last name is Blassingame (pronounced exactly how its spelt). I dont know anyone with that name i feel it should be on the list.

  33. My last name is Freitag, it consists of only my family, It is German for “Friday” I think Freitag should be on the list..

  34. Heck? Wasn’t that the last name of the guy in the movie, The Punisher? The guitar player. From the Marvel comics? 😁

  35. Many last names were changed for many reasons. Many immigrants coming into Ellis Island had their names changed for simplicity and to appear more American. I just found out that my married last name was completely different.

  36. my last name, heck, should be on this because i only know of two families in the us and only the us that have this last name, so possibly between 10-25 people have this last name

  37. I agree with you that my last name should also be on this list … There are less than 15, Toughlian’s in the world

  38. My last name is fethon I cannot find any info on any ancestors at all iam worried also I feel a bit of a outcast I will find it hard to explain where my family name and things came from to my four wonderfully beautiful children. I’ve wondered where my last name come from and how we got it? It’s hard to pronounce as people say sometimes fiefon and it’s spelled fethon.. was maybe this a land title as a fief is a land given for services it’s partly upsetting as I’ve no idea where my name or my late relatives came from Thera a place in turkey called fethiya but that’s it and I can’t afford any deep index searches I would appreciate any help anyone has regarding my last name please the email I’ve used is my partners can anyone point me in any direction to look even if we were manure shovelers at least it’s a story for my little ones thanks 🙏

  39. My last name is Bachanov and to be honest should have probably made this list. There are maybe 15 of us in the United States and at the time of this posting in 2010 there were maybe 8 and less than 25 in the world.

  40. My Danish surname of RANDRUP is quite rare. There are less than 500 Randrup’s in Denmark – it is a “protected name” so it cannot be used unless it is already your surname or you apply for permission to use it. There are a few hundred in the USA and a small amount in Hawaii, New Zealand, Argentina and the Phillipines. All from Danish immigrants. We are all related in some manner. In Canada our extended family is the ONLY family with this surname! My Mom and Dad and eldest brother immigrated to Canada in 1956 – it went from 3 Randrup’s in Canada to 20 or so – all our family. I have never met a Randrup I wasn’t related to. I haven’t counted how many – and since the female family members generally lose their Randrup surname and their children don’t get the Randrup surname they cannot be counted. My two sisters hyphenated their surnames to Randrup-Wheatley and Randrup-Bundock so I can count them. Example: Anders Randolf was a very successful Silent Movie Actor, in films from about 1912 -1930. (death) His real name is Anders Christian Randrup and he is either my Great Great Grandfather’s nephew….or my Great Grandfather’s 1/2 brother. (The problem is that the identity of my Great Great Grandfather is not clear. The family folklore says in 1864 my GG Grandmother became pregnant by one of 4 sons (Christian, Mathias, Poul, and Niels) who lived at Rybjerggaard (Rybjerg Farm) in Rybjerg Parish where she was a servant. But the birth record does’t show which one was the father. 🙂 Sounds like a bad movie plot, right? In 1864 when my G Grandfather was born the 4 sons were 16, 18, 20, and 22 years old and my G Grandmother, Inger Kirstine Pedersen, was 24 years old. My G Grandfather changed the entire family’s surname from Pedersen to his birth father’s surname of Randrup on Dec 13, 1905. The 1860 Census Record shows that my G G Grandmother was indeed a servant at Rybjerg Farm which was managed by the Anders Christiansen Randrup [b. 1794] family)

  41. 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.

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