What is the nationality of the name?

Last name - the name of the family, which a person receives by inheritance. Many people live for a long time and do not even think about what their last name means. Thanks to the surname, it is possible not only to determine who the great-grandfathers were, but also to determine the nationality of its owner. In the article we will try to figure out which nationality this or that surname belongs to.

One can find out the origin of one's last name in several ways, which are described in the article How to find out about one’s last name, among which one can single out the definition of origin by the end of last names.

End surnames

With the help of certain endings, you can find out what nationality the last name belongs to:

  • The British. It is very difficult to single out certain endings pointing to the English. Mostly surnames are derived from English words indicating the place of residence: Wales, Scott, or the person’s profession: Smith is a blacksmith, Cook is a cook.
  • Armenians. Most of the Armenian surnames end in - Yang: Aleksanyan, Burinyan, Galustyan.
  • Belarusians.Belarusian surnames end in –ich, - chik, -ka, - ko: Tyshkevich, Fedorovich, Glushko, Vasilka, Gornachak.
  • Georgians. It is very easy to identify a person of Georgian nationality, their surnames end in n - shvili, - jo, - a, - ya, - no, - whether, si: Gergedava, Giteli, Dzhugashvili.
  • The Jews. If the name has Levy or Cohen root, then its owner belongs to Jewish nationality: Levitan, Koganovich. But you can also find names with endings - ich, - man, -er: Kogenman, Kaganer.
  • Spaniards and Portuguese have surnames with the endings - Ez, - of, - AZ, - of, oz: Gonzalez, Gomez, Torres. There are also names indicating a person’s character: Alegre is joyful, Few is bad.
  • Italians. If we talk about the Italians, their surnames end in - ini, - ino, - illo, - etti, - etto, - ito: Pucinni, Brocchi, Marchetti. The prefix di and yes may indicate that the genus belongs to a specific territory: da Vinci.
  • Germans. German surnames mainly end in na - man, - ep and they indicate the type of human activity (Becker - baker, Lehmann - landowner, Koch - cook) or contain some characteristic (Klein - small).
  • Poles.Surnames with endings on - ck; - Central Committee; - indicate that a person (or his ancestors) belong to Polish nationality: Godlevsky, Kseshinsky, Kalnitsky, and their roots go back to the time of the creation of the Polish nobility (gentry).
  • Russians. Surnames ending in –ov, ––, ––, ––, ––, ––, ––, –––– In terms of structure, Russian surnames are patronyms, which are derived from the names: Ivan-Ivanov, Grigory-Grigoryev; but among the examples one can find surnames derived from the name of the family’s locality: White Lake - Belozersky.
  • Ukrainians. The endings that indicate that a person belongs to Ukrainian nationality include: - ko, - yk / wk, - un, -niy / ny, - tea, - ar, - a: Tereshchenko, Karpyuk, Tokar, Gonchar, Peaceful. Surnames mainly show that the genus belongs to any craft.


It is worth noting that the science that studies proper names and their origin is called onomastic. Its section - anthroponymics - studies the origin of human names and their forms, one of which is the surname. It affects the history of their occurrence and transformation as a result of prolonged use in the original language.