The 25 most common surnames in Barbados

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The 25 most common surnames in Barbados

Postby bimjim » Sat Nov 21, 2015 12:27 pm ... s-barbados

The 25 most common surnames in Barbados
November 20, 2015

What's in a name?

Did you know that some people do not have a surname/last name?

In fact, in some parts of the world it is common for people to have a mononym or only one name. The concept of having a surname is a Western concept and a relatively recent historical development that originated during the Middle Ages, or what some call ‘the dark ages”.

Surnames/last names are usually given based on a person’s geographic location or occupation. Surnames usually establish family connections or other relations; hence it is sometimes referred to as a “family name.” Persons interested in conducting genealogical and historical record research usually use their surname as a starting point.

Today, Loop is sharing with you the 25 most common surnames in Barbados, according to information from Forebears, a reference website that specialises in genealogical records.

​1. ALLEYNE – There are an estimated 3,893 people in Barbados with this surname. Are you one of them? The name comes from the name of an ancestor – ‘the son of Alan or Allen’.

2. CLARKE – The name comes from ‘clerk, a clergyman, a scholar, one who can read and write’ and is most prevalent in England, where some 89,337 people are recorded with this surname.

3. BRATHWAITE - This name was derived from a geographic location in the north of England. It is most prevalent in the US (4,046), Barbados (2,985) and Trinidad & Tobago (1,402).

4. GRIFFITH – There are approximately 124,993 people in the world with this surname, which originates from Wales. The vast majority of them is in the US (90,891), followed by England (7,184), Canada (4,192), Australia (3,136), Barbados (2,675), Guyana (2,281) and Wales itself (1,761), among other locations.

5. FORDE– This Anglo-Saxon name is believed to be topographical in origin, referring to a ford – a shallow place in a river where crossing was possible. It is most commonly found in the US, Ireland, England and Barbados.

6. HOLDER – There are an estimated 2,435 people in Barbados with this surname, which is derived from an occupation. According to, this could refer to an “occupational name for a tender of animals, from an agent derivative of Middle English hold(en) ‘to guard or keep’… It is possible that this word was also used in the wider sense of a holder of land within the feudal system.”

7. BOYCE – The name comes from ‘del Bois’ living by or in a wood and there are an estimated 1,977 people in Barbados with this last name.

8. JONES – There are over 1 million Jones in the United States and it's the 207th most common surname in the world. With 1,962 in Barbados, we are far from keeping up with the Joneses; yet, it’s the eighth most common surname on the island. It means the son of John.

9. KING – Meaning head or leader, there are an estimated 1,907 Barbadians with this surname.

10. SEALY – After the United States (4,553), you’ll find the most Sealys in Barbados – some 1,869 of them. The name means simple or innocent.

11. HINDS – This is also a common surname in the US, England, Jamaica, Australia and Canada and is a name derived from the name of an ancestor.

12. MARSHALL – The literal meaning of the name is ‘horse-servant’ and some 1,776 people in Barbados are part of this group. The United States has the most Marshalls.

13. WILLIAMS – A derivative of William, this name is the third most common surname in England and Wales. There are over 54,000 Williams in Jamaica, some 14,000 in Trinidad & Tobago and just 1, 745 in Barbados.

14. GITTENS – A variant of the Welsh name Gittings, 1,737 people in Barbados bear the name; topped only by the United States, where 3,207 have this surname.

15. MAYERS – Derived from the name Mayer, which is found in English/German/Dutch culture. There are approximately 18,268 people with this name in the world – 1,698 of them are in Barbados.

16. CUMBERBATCH – Meaning from the town of Comberbach in England, the number of people with this surname in the United States (1,937); Barbados (1,683) and England (1,027) is very similar.

17. BROWNE – A name derived from a person’s complexion, hair colour or clothing. There are 1,613 people with the name in Barbados.

18. HAYNES – A name of English origin, there are 1,582 people with this surname in Barbados.

19. BLACKMAN - A baptismal name originally derived from the personal quality of a dark complexion.

20. BEST – There 1,481 people with the surname Best in Barbados, while they exist in the tens of thousands in Ethiopia, England, Nigeria and the United States.

21. SMALL – A descriptive name for a person of slender build or diminutive stature, there are 1,466 people in Barbados with this last name. Around the world, the majority of them reside in countries of the Commonwealth.

22. SMITH – The name is derived from an occupation – in this case, someone who works with metal. It is the 117th most common surname in the world, borne by over 4 million people. In Barbados, there are 1,442.

23. SPRINGER – According to, the name is of English, German, Dutch, and Jewish (Ashkenazic) origin and refers to a lively person or for a traveling entertainer. One in every 200 people in Barbados is a Springer.

24. HUNTE – Derived from the occupation of huntsman, only about 7,350 bears this name in the world and 1,419 of them are associated with Barbados.

25. JORDAN – According to, “At the time of the Crusades it was common practice for crusaders and pilgrims to bring back flasks of water from the river in which John the Baptist had baptized people, including Christ himself, and to use it in the christening of their own children. As a result Jordan became quite a common personal name.” There are 1,403 Jordans in Barbados.

Was your name in the top 25?
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