LAW Surname Meaning and Origin

Law Surname Meaning and Origin

The Law surname often derived from an old word for "burial mound," such as this barrow cemetery in Wilsford, England.
Homer Sykes / Getty Images

The Law surname has several possible meanings:

  1. A diminutive of the given name Laurence, from the Roman cognomen Laurentius, meaning "of Laurentum," a city in ancient Italy.
  2. A surname for someone who lived near a hill, derived from the Old English hlaw or hyll, meaning "small hill" or "burial mound;" which became "low" in the south, but "law" in the north.

Alternate Surname Spellings: LAWE, LAWS, LAWES

Surname Origin: English

Where in the World Do People With the LAW Surname Live?

According to surname distribution data from Forebears, the Law surname is most prevalent in China and most dense in Hong Kong, likely a derivation of the common surname Lu, Loh, or Luo. Within England, the Low last name is most common in Northamptonshire, where it ranks as the 72nd most common last name. It is also fairly prevalent in Essex (196th), Cambridgeshire (231st), Yorkshire (243rd) and Lancashire (249th).

WorldNames PublicProfiler indicates that within the United Kingdom, Law is most commonly found in Scotland, especially the Scottish Borders, Midlothian, South Lanarkshire, Fife and Angus. It is also fairly common throughout eastern England.

Famous People

  • Bonar Law - Prime Minister of Great Britain, 1922–23
  • Jude Law - British actor
  • Evander M. Law - Confederate general in the American Civil War
  • William Law - important figure in the early history Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Genealogy Resources

Law DNA Project
This DNA project is open to all individuals with the Law surname and variations (including Carlaw, Castellaw, Crinklaw, De Lauriston, Drentlaw, Emlaw, Fallaw, Lauriston, Lawand, Laware, Lawes. Lawhorne, Lawhead, Lawhon, Lawill, Lawin, Lawing, Lawley, Lawlis, Lawman, Lawnicki, Lawshe, Lawter, Lawver, MacLaw, MacLaws, McLaw, McLaws, Nicklaw, Saslaw, Shullaw, Whitelaw, Wordlaw) interested in working collaboratively to combine genealogy research with DNA testing to sort out Law family lines.

How to Research English Ancestry
Learn how to research your English family tree with this guide to genealogical records in England and Wales. Includes information on both online and offline records including birth, marriage, death, census, military and estate records.

Law Family Crest - It's Not What You Think
Contrary to what you may hear, there is no such thing as a Law family crest or coat of arms for the Law 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. 

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

FamilySearch - LAW Genealogy
Explore over 1.4 million historical records which mention individuals with the Law surname, as well as online Law family trees on this free website hosted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

GeneaNet - Law Records
GeneaNet includes archival records, family trees, and other resources for individuals with the Law surname, with a concentration on records and families from France and other European countries. - LAW Genealogy & Family History
Explore free databases and genealogy links for the last name Law.

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

References: Surname Meanings & Origins

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. "LAW Surname Meaning and Origin." ThoughtCo, Aug. 27, 2020, Powell, Kimberly. (2020, August 27). LAW Surname Meaning and Origin. Retrieved from Powell, Kimberly. "LAW Surname Meaning and Origin." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 21, 2023).