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).
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 Other books contain inaccuracies or are outdated.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
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.
Here are some places to start when researching royal connections:
- Documenting Royal Ancestry on FamilySearch
- Noble and Royal Lineages from the Newberry Research Library
- Books on Royal Ancestry via The Digital Public Library of America
- The Directory of Royal Genealogical Data from Brian Tomsett and the University of Hull
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