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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. 

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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.

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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.

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. 

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

  1. 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)))

  2. 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.

  3. 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!!

    1. 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.

  4. 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.

    1. 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.

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

    1. 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”.

    2. 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.

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

    1. 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

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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 🙏

  9. 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.

  10. 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)

  11. 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.
    Ty
    Michael

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