Alexander Surname

Alexander is a common surname meaning "defender of men."
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The Alexander surname means "repulser of the enemy" or "defender of men." It derives from the personal name Alexander, derived from the Greek Aλεξαvδpoς (Alexandros), made up of alexin, meaning "to defend" and andros, meaning "man." Although derived from a personal name of Greek origin, the Alexander surname is most commonly found in Scotland as an Anglicized form of the Gaelic name MacAlasdair. MACALLISTER is a common derivation.

Alexander is the 104th most popular surname in Scotland, just dropping out of the top 100 during the past decade. 

  • Surname Origin: Scottish, English, Dutch, German

Where the Alexander Surname is Found

Perhaps surprising, but the Alexander surname is found in the greatest frequency in the Caribbean island nation of Grenada, where one in 52 people bears the surname. According to Forebears, it also ranks among the top 20 surnames in several other Caribbean countries, including St. Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago, Dominica, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Alexander is also popular in Scotland and the United States; it ranks just out of the top 100 surnames in both countries. WorldNames PublicProfiler highlights Alexander as an especially popular surname in Australia and New Zealand, followed by the United States and Great Britain. Within Scotland, Alexander is found most frequently in South Ayrshire. 

Famous People

  • Harold Alexander: British commander who fought in both World Wars
  • Nathaniel Alexander: inventor of the folding chair
  • Jason Alexander: American film, theater, and television actor, most well known for his role as George in Seinfeld.
  • Archibald Alexander: Protestant clergyman and educator

Genealogy Resources

  • Alexander Surname Y-DNA Project: Over 340 members belong to this Y-DNA surname project at FamilyTreeDNA, organized to connect individuals with the Alexander surname interested in DNA testing.
  • Alexander Family Genealogy Forum: Search this popular genealogy forum for the Alexander surname to find others who might be researching your ancestors, or post your own Alexander query.
  • FamilySearch: Explore over 3.5 million historical records and lineage-linked family trees posted for the Alexander surname and its variations on the free FamilySearch website.
  • Alexander Surname & Family Mailing Lists: RootsWeb hosts several free mailing lists for researchers of the Alexander surname.
  • Free databases and genealogy links for the last name Alexander.
  • The Alexander Genealogy and Family Tree Page: Browse genealogy records and links to genealogical and historical records for individuals with the popular last name Alexander from the website of Genealogy Today.


  • Cottle, Basil. Penguin Dictionary of Surnames. Baltimore, MD: Penguin Books, 1967.
  • Menk, Lars. A Dictionary of German Jewish Surnames. Avotaynu, 2005.
  • Beider, Alexander. A Dictionary of Jewish Surnames from Galicia. Avotaynu, 2004.
  • Hanks, Patrick and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford University Press, 1989.
  • Hanks, Patrick. Dictionary of American Family Names. Oxford University Press, 2003.
  • Smith, Elsdon C. American Surnames. Genealogical Publishing Company, 1997.
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Your Citation
Powell, Kimberly. "Alexander Surname." ThoughtCo, Aug. 27, 2020, Powell, Kimberly. (2020, August 27). Alexander Surname. Retrieved from Powell, Kimberly. "Alexander Surname." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 26, 2023).