Begum Surname Meaning and Family History

What Does the Begum Last Name Mean?

The last name Begum did not originally develop as a surname, but as a Muslim honorific title for a respectable lady.
The last name Begum did not originally develop as a surname, but as a Muslim honorific title for a respectable lady. Getty / Christian Kober

Begum is a Muslim honorific title for, or means of addressing, a respectable lady. It did not originally develop as a surname, but over time has been adopted as a last name by many unmarried women, especially in Bangladesh and Pakistan.

Begum is quickly becoming a fairly common surname in America and England. A frequency map created by James Cheshire in 2012 puts Begum as the most popular surname in London's Tower Hamlets and south Camden neighborhoods.

Surname Origin: Muslim

Alternate Surname Spellings: BAIGUM, BEGAM

Famous People With the Begum Last Name

  • Hamida Banu Begum - Wife of the second Mughal Emperor, Humayun, and mother of Mughal Emperor, Akbar.
  • Mehnaz Begum - Pakistani singer
  • Fatma Begum - India's first female film director
  • Ameena Begum - Wife of Sufi master, Inayat Khan

Where Is the Begum Surname Most Common?

The last name Begum is the 191st most common surname in the world, according to surname distribution information from Forebears. It is most prevalent in India, where it ranks as the 37th most common last name, followed by Bangladesh (50th) and Fiji (92nd). Within India, the name is most prevalent in Telangana, where it is the most common surname, followed by Jammu and Kashmir, Pondicherry, Assam, and Delhi.

WorldNames PublicProfiler does not include surname data from India, but within Europe Begum is found most frequently in West Midlands, Yorkshire and Humberside, South East, North East and East Midlands, England. The name is also fairly common in Oslo, Norway.

Genealogy Resources for the Surname BEGUM

Begum Family Crest — It's Not What You Think
Contrary to what you may hear, there is no such thing as a Begum family crest or coat of arms for the Begum surname. Coats of arms are granted to individuals, not families, and may rightfully be used only by the uninterrupted male-line descendants of the person to whom the coat of arms was originally granted.

FamilySearch — BEGUM Genealogy
Explore over 340,000 results from digitized historical records and lineage-linked family trees related to the Begum surname on this free website hosted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

GeneaNet — Begum Records
GeneaNet includes archival records, family trees, and other resources for individuals with the Begum surname, with a concentration on records and families from France and other European countries.

The Begum Genealogy and Family Tree Page
Browse genealogy records and links to genealogical and historical records for individuals with the Begum surname from the website of Genealogy Today. Begum Surname
Explore over 260,000 digitized records and database entries, including census records, passenger lists, military records, land deeds, probates, wills and other records for the Begum surname on the subscription-based website,


Cottle, Basil. Penguin Dictionary of Surnames. Baltimore, MD: Penguin Books, 1967.

Dorward, David. Scottish Surnames. Collins Celtic (Pocket edition), 1998.

Fucilla, Joseph. Our Italian Surnames. Genealogical Publishing Company, 2003.

Hanks, Patrick and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford University Press, 1989.

Hanks, Patrick. Dictionary of American Family Names. Oxford University Press, 2003.

Reaney, P.H. A Dictionary of English Surnames. Oxford University Press, 1997.

Smith, Elsdon C. American Surnames. Genealogical Publishing Company, 1997

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Your Citation
Powell, Kimberly. "Begum Surname Meaning and Family History." ThoughtCo, Aug. 27, 2020, Powell, Kimberly. (2020, August 27). Begum Surname Meaning and Family History. Retrieved from Powell, Kimberly. "Begum Surname Meaning and Family History." ThoughtCo. (accessed May 29, 2023).