GRAHAM - Surname Meaning and Origin

What Does the Last Name Graham Mean?

The first bearers of the Graham surname are believed to have originated in the town of Grantham in Lincolnshire, England.
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The Graham surname is believed to be derived from an English place name which meant either "gravelly homestead" from the Old English grand, meaning "gravel," or "grey home" from the Old English grasgham. Most of the original bearers of this surname came from Grantham in Lincolnshire, England.

Graham is the 20th most common Scottish surname, and first came into use in Scotland in the 12th century.

Surname Origin: English, Scottish

Alternate Surname Spellings: GRAEME, GRAHAME, GRAYHAM

Where in the World is the GRAHAM Surname Found?

According to WorldNames PublicProfiler, the Graham surname is most common in Northern Ireland and Scotland. There are also many individuals named Graham living in Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. Forebears puts the Graham surname as the 12th most popular surname on Norfolk Island. Other countries with high density of individuals named Graham include Northern Ireland, Scotland, Jamaica, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Within Scotland, Graham is most common in Dumfriesshire, followed by Peebleshire and Kinross-shire. Most of the Irish with the Graham surname live in Antrim, Northern Ireland.

Famous People with the Last Name GRAHAM

  • Alexander Graham Bell - inventor of the telephone
  • Elizabeth Jennings Graham - challenged segregation on public transportation in 1854, 100 years before Rosa Parks
  • Bill Graham - legendary rock concert promoter 
  • Billy Graham - television and radio evangelist
  • Sylvester Graham - 19th-century Presbyterian minister and inventor of the graham cracker
  • Martha Graham - mother of modern dance
  • Katherine Graham - America’s first female Fortune 500 CEO
  • Bette Nesmith Graham - inventor of liquid paper/white out

Genealogy Resources for the Surname GRAHAM

Clan Graham Society: Theories on the Origins of the Grahams
Nellie Graham Lowry, society genealogist for Club Graham Society, examines a variety of theories on the origins of the Graham surname.

Graham Family DNA Project
Join over 370 researchers with the Graham surname or its variants interested in working together to combine Y-DNA testing with traditional genealogy research to sort out Graham ancestors around the world.

Graham Family Genealogy Forum
Search this popular genealogy forum for the Graham surname to find others who might be researching your ancestors, or post your own Graham query.

FamilySearch - GRAHAM Genealogy
Explore over 4 million historical records and lineage-linked family trees posted for the Graham surname and its variations on the free FamilySearch website, hosted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

GRAHAM Surname & Family Mailing Lists
RootsWeb hosts a free mailing list for researchers of the Graham surname around the world. - GRAHAM Genealogy & Family History
Explore free databases and genealogy links for the last name Graham.

The Graham Genealogy and Family Tree Page
Browse genealogy records and links to genealogical and historical records for individuals with the Graham last name from the website of Genealogy Today.

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References: Surname Meanings & Origins

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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Powell, Kimberly. "GRAHAM - Surname Meaning and Origin." ThoughtCo, Aug. 27, 2020, Powell, Kimberly. (2020, August 27). GRAHAM - Surname Meaning and Origin. Retrieved from Powell, Kimberly. "GRAHAM - Surname Meaning and Origin." ThoughtCo. (accessed May 30, 2023).