Popular Jamaican Surnames!
...with a little history too!

Custom Search

Do we really have Jamaican surnames though? The truth is, it is probably not possible to identify a truly "Jamaican" name.

The surnames here are a reflection of the diversity of our people, testified in our island's Motto, "Out of Many One People".

Having said that, it is worth noting that although over 90% of our fore-parents were African descendants, most of us acquired European or Asian surnames!

So how was that? How did that happen?

Well, according to JFS, the slaves in Jamaica who were brought over from Africa each used only one name, they did not have surnames. So the development of surnames followed one of two paths:

  1. Many of the bookkeepers or overseers who had been brought over from Great Britain to work on the sugar estates were single men.

    Some of them developed a long-term relationship with one of the female slaves, while others were more promiscuous. The result was the birth of mulatto, quadroon, or mustee (mestee) children.

    All children of a female slave were automatically slaves, considered as belonging to the owner of the mother. If the white man was the slave owner, the child was sometimes declared to be free at the time of infant baptism.

    If the father was not the owner of the slave, he could buy the child's freedom, or at other times, money was left in the Will of the white parent to pay for the manumission of the child.

    These children were given the surname of the white parent.

  2. Other slaves, who were of full Negro blood, when baptized were sometimes given surnames.

    It was not the custom in Jamaica to automatically give the slave the surname of the owner, and certainly not to give the slave the name of the estate. Slaves chose, adopted, or were given at baptism, various surnames.

    Some chose the name of the property owner, or perhaps of a bookkeeper, or some merely chose the name of someone who they liked, or who had been good to them, or who was famous.

    It is said that some old baptismal records contains both the old slave name and the new name.

Now here is a list of what I consider to be the top 30 most popular surnames in Jamaica! Alphabetized.

  1. Allen
  2. Anderson
  3. Bailey
  4. Brown
  5. Campbell
  6. Clarke
  7. Davis
  8. Dixon
  9. Francis
  10. Gordon
  11. Graham
  12. Grant
  13. Gray
  14. Green
  15. Grey
  16. Henry
  17. Higgins
  18. Jones
  19. Lawrence
  20. Lewis
  21. Malcolm
  22. Miller
  23. Morgan
  24. Palmer
  25. Powell
  26. Robinson
  27. Smith
  28. Thompson
  29. Williams
  30. Wright

Notice the ones in bold [Smith,Williams & Clarke], they have to stand out.

I have no reference but from my own estimation, those three probably account for over 20% of the entire island- seriously, no kidding :-)

Of course my own name, Gayle, is quite popular too, but certainly not popular enough to make the top 30. :-)

Still, lots to share with you from Jamaica, don't miss these informative pages:

Back to Top

Return to Telephone Directory for Jamaica from Jamaican Surnames Return to My Island Jamaica Homepage from Jamaican Surnames

New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.

Recommended For You ...

P.S. Didn't find exactly what you were looking for? Still need help?

Click Here to try our dependable and effective Site Search tool, It works!

Or, simply click here to ask me the questionI'll do my best to get back to you within 24 hours!

And, Before You Go!

Here (below) are some sweet deals on great Jamaican products at Amazon that you might have otherwise missed.

Amazon.com, by the way, is the internet's most reputable retailer and usually showcases only the best products from their inventory.

As an ardent customer and affiliate I earn a small commission from your purchase, at no extra cost to you. So thanks in advance.

Note: If link does not show, please click here to be redirected to our page at Amazon.com.

Great Articles You Might Have Missed

data-matched-content-rows-num="2" data-matched-content-columns-num="3"

Please help me get the message out by sharing this article with your friends on social media (links below). Thnx ;-)

Ready To Vacation?
Please Book With Us...

wellesley gayle - booking link

Was the information helpful to you?
Here is a great way to support our effort.

All you need to do is book your vacation via the reputable HotelsCombined.com search box below.

It can be for travel to Jamaica or anywhere else on earth.

They combine the best deals from across all major booking sites and shows you only the very best!

Not quite ready to book?  Start by searching (below) to get some amazing ideas now.

You are also welcome to join my special friends list and receive exclusive updates (like this), tips, trivia and stories from lovers of Jamaica! Just enter...

Also connect with My-Island-Jamaica.com on Social Media: 
Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube

Thank You!

Top Of Page
Wellesley Gayle

What's New? Click Here And See


Trending Now

My Gift To You!


Site Sponsors


Our Preferred Sponsors  & Friends (below)

(Our Sponsorship Policy)

Photographers in Jamaica
Wedding Photographers
Jamaican Souvenirs
Best Jamaican Souvenirs Cars For Sale In Jamaica
Cars For Sale

JamaicaSunshine Tours.com

Click Here to Visit Our Sponsors' Page

Top Articles

What's New?

Below is a list of the very latest articles I posted on the site.

Recent Articles

  1. Where is Jamaica? Glad You Asked

    Mar 19, 18 11:16 PM

    Exactly where is Jamaica? Let me help to navigate you.

    Read More

  2. Best Montego Bay Airport Transfers? Here Is My Recommendation

    Mar 19, 18 03:43 PM

    Top Montego Bay airport transfers operators - Here are the top ones, with prices and contact information.

    Read More

  3. Memba When (Remember When) - Jamaican Joke

    Mar 19, 18 02:24 PM

    I got this one from Bro T via WhatsApp yesterday and I couldn't wait to share it with you. Love it! It is especially true to those who were born before

    Read More

  4. What Is Jamaica Famous For?

    Mar 19, 18 01:05 PM

    Answered by Devin Saunds-Dunkley, Associate Writer Jamaica, although often times branded in the news for its crime and violence, is a beautiful island

    Read More

New!  I've created a Welcome Audio. Just click the Play button below to listen.

Please subscribe here to get my latest updates.