Q: How do I find out the origin of my last name, surname, or family name? How do I find the etymology of my name?


For information on your first or last name, there are a couple of good sites you can visit.

The genealogy site offers a basic surname history search.  The information from this site is from the Dictionary of American Family Names (Oxford University Press).  (This resource is only available on-campus, though.)

Other online sites that may have some information for you is “Behind the Name: The Etymology and History of Surnames"  or "Forbears"

The Oxford Reference Collection Online has a number of e-reference books that will have this type of information including: Dictionary of American Family Names and A Dictionary of First Names.  Find the entire collection under the Os in the Find a Database list on the library homepage.

We also have some books at the Library that may help you:

If your name is pretty common and you want to go deeper into the etymology, try the Oxford English Dictionary (at Oxford University Press). From our homepage use the Find a Database under the SuperSearch box. You will find it in alphabetical order under the Os.

We also have a Research Guide that gives more books and help with searching ethnicity, nationality and culture.

Also, don't hesitate to contact a librarian for help!

For more information

For more help, email the Research and Instructional Services department, or call or visit one of our Research Help Desks:

Sturgis Library at Kennesaw: Ground Floor, Room G-16, 470-578-6325
Johnson Library at Marietta: First Floor, Room C-125, 470-578-7471


Last updated

Last Updated

Jul 19, 2017


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