EDWARDS Surname Meaning and Family History

A British guard standing watch
The Edwards surname means son of Edward, a given name meaning "prosperous guard". Ridleywright / Getty Images

Edwards is a patronymic surname meaning "son of Edward." It derives from the early medieval English given name, Edward, meaning "prosperous guardian," from the Old English "Eadward," composed of the elements ead, meaning "prosperity or fortune," and w(e)ard, meaning "guard."

Edwards is the 53rd most popular surname in the United States and the 17th most common surname in England.

  • Surname Origin: English
  • Alternate Surname Spellings: EDWARDES, EDWARDSON, EDWARD, EDWART

Famous People With the EDWARDS Surname

  • Jonathan Edwards: Protestant Theologian, Philosopher, Journalist, Educator, Scholar
  • Gareth Edwards: Welsh rugby player
  • Blake Edwards: American film director, producer and screenwriter
  • Teresa Edwards: American basketball player; Olympic medalist
  • Robert Alan "Bob" Edwards: American author, radio journalist and host 
  • Clement Edwards: Welsh lawyer, journalist, trade union activist and Liberal politician
  • Pierpont Edwards: American lawyer, judge and delegate to the American Continental Congress

Where Is the EDWARDS Surname Most Commonly Found?

According to surname distribution data from Forebears, Edwards is the 800th most common surname in the world. It is especially prevalent in the United States, where it ranks 51st, as well as England (21st), Australia (26th), Wales (14th), Trinidad and Tobago (18th), Jamaica (14th) and New Zealand (23rd). Within England it is most common in Shropshire, where it is the 5th most frequent surname. It is also the 7th most common surname in both Flintshire and Denbighshire, Wales.

Ellis is found most frequently in Wales, according to WorldNames PublicProfiler, followed by Australia, New Zealand and the United States.

Genealogy Resources for the Surname EDWARDS

  • Edwards Family Genealogy Forum: Search this popular genealogy forum for the Edwards surname to find others who might be researching your ancestors, or post your own Edwards query.
  • FamilySearch - EDWARDS Genealogy: Explore over 7.6 million historical records which mention individuals with the Edwards surname, as well as online Edwards family trees on this free website hosted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
  • GeneaNet - Edwards Records: GeneaNet includes archival records, family trees, and other resources for individuals with the Edwards surname, with a concentration on records and families from France and other European countries.

Resources and Further Reading

  • 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.