Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Lists Of Most Common Bajan (Barbados) Last Names

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post is part of a continuing pancocojams series on names and naming practices in the Caribbean.

This post provides extensive excerpts from one online articles about common Black Bajan* surnames (last names) and from one online article about common Black Caribbean last names.

*"Bajan" is a referent for people from Barbados, West Indies.

The content of this post is presented for folkloric and cultural purposes.

I'm quoting this article to help preserve and disseminate this information.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to all those who are quoted in this post.

This post is dedicated with love to my maternal grandparents Samuel Nathaniel Banfield and Daisy (Nurse) Banfield who immigrated to Atlantic City, New Jersey from Barbados in 1905 or 1906.

Article Quote
From "The 25 most common surnames in Barbados" November 20, 2015

Pancocojams Editor's Note: This article was also published at (Post by bimjim Nov 21, 2015) where I read it.

"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 rom 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."

Forum Discussion
[Pancocojams Editor's Note: I've assigned numbers to these comments.

Additional comments from this discussion that refer to other Caribbean nations will be quoted in a subsequent pancocojams post whose link will be included in this post.]

From "Thread: What are the most popular last names on your island?"

1. 09-14-2005, elq
"popular Barbados surnames:

2. 09-14-2005, Sugar Apple
Quote Originally Posted by elq
popular Barbados surnames:

"TrueTrue but you forget Franklyn....almost everybody from ST. Philip is a Franklyn"

3. 09-14-2005, sabriya
Quote Originally Posted by elq
popular Barbados surnames:

"You are def. right..but in addition to yours is Holder"

4. 09-14-2005,
"Ley me HELP out the BAJANS about WEEKES????"

5. 09-14-2005, Licorishbajan
"Well yes WEEKES is real popular. My family is made up of a lot of WEEKES's but also LASHLEY."

6. 09-14-2005, elq
"look in de phone book

Ah fuhget Callender and Greenidge"

7. 09-14-2005, Bake n Shark
"I noticed a trend with the bajan names...kinda confirmed something I observed from way back and always pegged as being bajan....adding an 'e' to the end of the name.

For instance:
Hoyt= Hoyte

Weeks= Weekes

Brown= Browne

Alleyn= Alleyne for TnT, I dunno...never really study it like dat, but it sure have nuff iterations of Singh, Maharaj/Maraj, John, Joseph, Lee...
"TnT" = Trinidad & Tobago

Note that some commenters had previously written that they weren't including the Indian or Chinese names from Trinidad & Tobago in this particular discussion thread.

8. 09-14-2005, malikceeph
"Lawddd EVERY bajan I know has Holder as the last name, and they don't know each other at all......."

9. 09-14-2005, elq
[Quoted comment # 7]
"let me explain this a bit more

Allen/Allan is americanised form of Alleyn/Alleyne which was derived from spelling of the Old English ALLYN.

the Old English use of the vowels were not as common as you see in modern english."

10. 09-15-2005, GWADA-BAJE
"Common Surnames in Barbados
Don't know how wunna could fuhget CLARKE but anyway...

The surnames of most Barbadians are either of British or Irish origin. However, many ethnic groups such as the Syrians, Indians and the Chinese also tend to keep their own surnames.

Adams, Alexander, Applewaite, Applewhite, Allamby, Alleyne, Allman, Als,Archer,Armstrong, Arthur, Atherley, Atherton, Altkins, Atkins, Atkinson,Altman, Austin


Babb, Bailey, Baird, Baker, Banfield, Bannister, Barker, Barnes, Barnett, Barrow, Bartlett, Bascombe, Bayne, Beckles, Belgrave, Bellamy, Belle, Benn, Benjamin, Bennett, Benskin, Bentham, Best, Bishop, Blackett, Blackman, Blades, Blenman, Bourne, Bovell, Bowen, Boyce, Bradshaw, Branch, Brancker, Brathwaite, Brewster, Broome, Broomes, Browne, Bryan, Bullen, Burgess, Burke, Burnett, Burrowes, Burton, Butcher, Bynoe


Cadogan, Callender, Campbell, Carmichael, Carrington, Carter, Chandler, Chapman, Chase, Clark, Clarke, Cobham, Codrington, Collymore, Connell, Coombs, Coombes, Coppin, Corbin, Cox, Cozier, Crawford, Crichlow, Cumberbatch, Cummins


Dalrymple, Dash, Daniel, DaSilva, Davis, Dawson, Dear, Defreitas, Degia, Denny, Depeiza, DeSilva, Devonish, Dottin, Douglin, Dowell, Downes, Drakes, Durant


Eastmond, Edey, Edghill, Edwards, Elcock, Ellis, Estwick, Eversley


Farley, Farmer, Farnum, Farrell, Fenty, Ferguson, Fields, Ford, Forde, Foster, Forte, Francis, Franklin, Franklyn


Gaskin, Gay, Gibbons, Gibbs, Gibson, Gilkes, Gill, Gittens, Glasgow, Goddard, Gooding, Goodridge, Graham, Grannum, Grant, Greaves, Green, Greene, Greenidge, Griffith


Hackett, Hall, Harding, Harewood, Harper, Harris, Harvey, Haynes, Headley, Herbert, Hinds, Hinkson, Holder, Hollingsworth, Hope, Howell, Hoyte, Hoyos, Humphrey, Hunte, Husbands, Hutchinson.


Ifill, Innis


Jackman, Jackson, James, Jarvis, Jemmott, Johnson, Jones, Jordan, Joseph


Kellman, Kinch, King, Kirton, King, Knight

Lashley, Lavine, Lawrence, Layne, Leacock, Leslie, Lewis, Lorde, Lovell, Lowe, Lucas, Lynch


Maloney, Mapp, Marshall, Martindale, Mascoll, Mason, Massiah, Mason, Massiah, Matthews, Maughn, Maycocks, Mayers, Manard, McCarthy, McClean, McDonald, McIntosh, Medford, Miller, Mitchell, Moore, Morris, Moseley, Murray


Neblett, Nelson, Newton, Nicholls, Nichols, Niles, Norville, Nurse, Nowell


Odle, Olivierre, O'Neale, Osbourne, Oxley


Padmore, Parris, Payne, Perkins, Persaud, Pilgrim, Pinder, Pollard, Powell, Prescod, Prescott, Proverbsm


Ramsay, Redman, Reid, Richards, Riley, Roach, Robinson, Rock, Rollins, Rouse, Rowe, Rudder, Russell


Sandiford, Sargeant, Scantlebury, Seale, Sealy, Shepherd, Shorey, Simmons, Simpson, Sinckler, Skeete, Skinner, Small, Smith, Sobers, Spooner, Springer, Squires, St.Hill Straker, Straughn, Stuart, Stanford


Taitt, Taylor, Thomas, Thomspon, Thorne, Thornhill, Thorpe, Toppin, Trotman, Tudor, Tull, Turton


Vanderpool, Vaughan, Vaughn,


Wade, Waithe, Walcott, Waldron, Walkes, Walker, Walton, Ward, Warner, Warren, Waterman, Watson, Watts, Webster, Weekes, Welch, Went, Wharton, White, Whittaker, Wickham, Wiggins, Wilkinson, Williams, Willoughby, Wilson, Wood, Worrell


Yarde, Yearwood, Young

11. 09-15-2005, brotha bel
[Quoted comment #10]

"I think you got them all exept for my maternal grandfather's name: Garner"

12. 09-15-2005, The Captain
"In Barbados my last name, Stoute is in high numbers."

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  1. Here's an excerpt of a obituary for Cecil Brathwaite, Jr whose name was changed to Elombe Brath
    ..."This tribute honors Elombe Brath for his half a century of relentless dedication fighting for justice and humanity on behalf of the Global African Communities….
    Elombe Brath fought for decades in supporting SWAPO’s [the South West Africa People’s Organization] armed struggle to win Namibia’s freedom from apartheid slavery. Elombe did everything he could to support SWAPO leader Sam Nujomo. Like Amilcar Cabral — the leader of the liberation struggle in Guinea-Bissau...

    Like Malcolm X, Elombe Brath was a truth teller. His weekly radio show on WBAI — Afrikaleidoscope — was an educational weapon that reached thousands weekly with the latest news of struggles in Africa and the Diaspora. Afrikaleidoscope was also filled with beautiful music by African and African-American artists. Elombe Brath was a lover and collector of music, particularly of jazz. Led the Patrice Lumumba Coalition...

    But how come the name Elombe Brath? It was the result of a suggestion of Thomas Kanza, the top diplomat of the Congo, appointed by Patrice Lumumba, head of the government of the former Belgian Congo around 1960s.

    Kanza had exchanged ideas with Cecil Brathwaite Jr and found him an articulate pan-African advocate, jazz enthusiast, radio producer and historian of African culture and politics and suggested the Bajan change his Christian name to Elombe which he said meant “all knowing.”. The rest is history. Most people whose surname is Brathwaite are routinely called “Brath” as a term of endearment. Hence, the new name Elombe Brath.”

    Another source tht was cited in this article is
    I added the italics to highlight that sentence.

  2. There were three Black women teachers in my junior high school whose last name was "Pilgrim". [This was in the late 1950s in Atlantic City, New Jersey.] I remember my mother telling me that although we weren't blood relatives of the Pilgrim family, we were connected to them because they came from Barbados just like our family.

    I also recall several (Black) girls and boys named "Braithwaite" who attended school with me and also a family of Weeks. Although my family wasn't close with any of these families, I recall being told that we were also connected to them because their relatives came from the same island as my (maternal) grandparents.

    As an adult I conversed with a Black woman in Pittsburgh whose last name is "Springer". Somehow we got to talking about where our relatives are from. When I told her that my grandfather and grandmother were from Barbados, she asked me what their last names were. When I told her "Banfield" and "Nurse", she confirmed that those were common [typical] Bajan names.

  3. I live near the village of Comberbach! And most locals now say the first syllable as if it rhymed with 'tom', not 'tum': the spelling used in Barbados actually preserves the older pronunciation.

    The 'bach' part comes from an Old English word for 'stream', and the first part either from a man's name, 'Cumbra', or more likely from a word for 'Welshmen' - Comberbach is not far from the border with Wales, so a small settlement of Welsh-speakers living there a thousand years ago would be no surprise.

    The Romantic poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge used 'Comberbache' as his alias when he ran away and joined the army under a false name in 1793. I've always wondered why - it's a fairly rare name in England and he lived at the other end of the country from here.

    1. Hello, slam2011.

      Thanks for that information!

  4. Anyone with Bajan Cumberbatch connections - a London genealogist called Bob Cumberbatch, whose dad was born in Greenwich Village, St James, Barbados, has done a great family history site tracing different branches of this family:

    Sorry, still can't make my links work ;)

    1. Here's a hyperlink that shows how to make a hyperlink with html code

      Here's how to do it (putting what that page shows in words)
      1. start by typing the "less than" symbol
      2. right next to that symbol, type a href=
      3. type a quotation mark after the equal symbol
      4. copy the internet address that you want to make into a hyperlink and paste it right after the quotation mark
      5. type a quotation mark
      6. follow that by typing a "greater than" symbol
      7. then copy and paste the internet address again
      8. follow that by a "less than" symbol, then a forward slash / symbol, then the letter a and close it with the less than symbol



      We'll see...When I press 'Publish' the link should work, right? Here goes...

  5. Here's a link to a Wikipedia article about [Edward] Kamau Brathwaite who was born 11 May 1930, Bridgetown, Barbados):

    Here's a brief excerpt of that page:
    "Kamau Brathwaite is widely considered one of the major voices in the Caribbean literary canon. A professor of Comparative Literature at New York University, Brathwaite is the 2006 International Winner of the Griffin Poetry Prize, for his volume of poetry Born to Slow Horses.

    Brathwaite holds a Ph.D. from the University of Sussex (1968) and was the co-founder of the Caribbean Artists Movement (CAM). He received both the Guggenheim and Fulbright Fellowships in 1983, and is a winner of the 1994 Neustadt International Prize for Literature,...

    Brathwaite is noted for his studies of Black cultural life both in Africa and throughout the African diasporas of the world..."

  6. I would like to share a nice list of unique barbados baby names with meaning and numerology. Collection is really appreciable.

    1. Thanks, Linda for sharing that link to a Baby Names Cube website about Bajan personal names.

      I'm curious how these names were compiled.

      The links for the Barbadian girl names and Barbadian boy names work, but the links for the top 100 Barbadian female names and the top 100 Barbadian male names don't work.

  7. King Charles I granted a huge parcel of land to the scions of his Master of the Royal Bedchamber,Richard Harding,causing that surname to become one of the more popular(if not infamous) names,(Burning Mr.Harding)

    1. Thanks for that information, rick smiff.