15 Rarest Last Names on Earth

What’s in a name? Everything from personality to potential. Some last names like Jones, Smith, and Williams have persevered over time and are still holding the frontline. Meanwhile, others have gradually begun to lose their vitality. These names are now threatening to fade into the background.

Some names are so common that if you walked into a crowded theater anywhere in the world and yell, “John!” A few heads are bound to turn towards you. Yet there are some last names that you may fail to find more than 5 people bearing it in a city of over 500,000 people.

List of Rare Last Names and Their Meaning

But there is a big difference between a less common name and a truly rare one. Check out this list of the 15 rarest last names in the world.

1. Fernsby

This is an English name that originated in the earliest century but seemed to have lost most of its vitality over the years. The name means a house or location near a fern. A fern is a plant that has no flowers and is currently very popular in West Africa.

2. Villin or Villan

As you may have already guessed, this name is the old English word for what we have as a villain today. People used to refer to aggressive untrustworthy people this way, and the name stuck.

3. MacQuoid

Most names that start with Mac are of Scottish origin, and so it is assumed that MacQuoid must be from Scotland as well. There are just two recorded people living in England with this last name. The name means obscure. Unlike names like MacDonald, MacPherson, this particular last name is very difficult to come by.

4. Culpepper

Around the time people started referring to William, who was a blacksmith, as William Smith was the same time people started calling Sabrina, who was a herbalist, Sabrina Culpeper. Although the name means someone who plucks herbs, it also could mean a false prophet. This is understandable as people used to worship some of the herbalists back then.

5. Tumbler

You may have seen and heard of glass tumblers, those tall glass cups, but this word was used to describe acrobats whose main stunt involved tumbling. The word was derived from the English term, tombere, which means a dancer. Now, most people that bear that surname are in Scotland.

6. Birdwhistle

Birdwhistle is a name so rare that, currently, less than 10 people in the world have it as a surname. Do you know any Birdwhistles? The name is made up of two distinct English words bird and whistle. It is related to some lost medieval villages like Birtwisle and others.

7. Bread

Believe it or not, people had surnames like Bread. Yes, the famous breakfast food, bread. Since most early English people were proud bakers, bakers were cherished for their amazing bread. Names like these have slowly died out, and old very few people still answer those surnames. Besides, the teasing now would be relentless.

8. Ajax

If you are familiar with programing language, then you must have heard of Ajax. It is of Welsh origin and started in the 17th century. It’s believed that the name migrated from France to the United States during the religious persecution.

9. Edevane

This name is of Welsh origin and had two words, Ed from Old English, meaning prosperity and happiness, and Evane, which means little. It means a little happy one.

10. Shor

This means the bull, and it originated from the Hebrew and Turkic languages. But that is not all, in southern Siberia, there is a tribe called the Shor people.

11. Seaberg

This is a half translation of the name Sjoberg. Sjo is the Swedish name for the sea, hence Seaberg. Berg also means mountain.

12. Salem

The series Salem may have made the name very popular, but the same thing cannot be said about people bearing the last name Salem. It is Arabic for Peace, and also refers to a medieval village in England.

13. Regner

In Germany, Regner used to refer to someone from the village Regen. It is also a name that originated from the old Norse tribe. The name means warrior judgment. It is derived from old Norse name Ragnar. If you are a Vikings fan, then you know it

14. Pickrell 

This was originally the name of a fish. Whatever the characteristics of this fish made people start referring to very hot-tempered people as Pickrell.

15. Nakashima

Nakashima can also be called Nakajima and is one of the Asian last names that are very difficult to come across except in movies. This word means isolated, or island.

Obviously, not every trend sticks. And the same can be said about last names. Some surnames are better left to history books. 

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