LITTLE Surname Meaning and Origin

Little Surname Meaning and Origin

The Little surname derived from an Old English term meaning "little" or "small."
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Little is a common descriptive surname often bestowed on someone who was of short or petite stature, from the Middle English littel and Old English lytel, meaning "little." In some cases the surname may have been used to denote the younger of two men of the same name. KLEIN is the German variant and PETIT the French variant.


Surname Origin: English

Where in the World Do People with the LITTLE Surname Live?

According to surname distribution data from Forebears, Little is a fairly common surname in most English-speaking countries, including the United States (where it ranks 276th), New Zealand (243rd), Australia (262nd), Scotland (256th), England (331st) and Canada (357th). Within England, Little is most common in the northern counties, especially Cumberland where it is the 11th most common last name.

WorldNames PublicProfiler indicates that in the United Kingdom, Little is most common in Cumbria County, England; Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland; and Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. Within North America, Little is especially common in Nova Scotia, as well as the U.S. states of North Carolina and Mississippi.

Famous People with the LITTLE Last Name

  • Lewis Henry Little - American Civil War Confederate brigadier general
  • Malcolm Little - birth name of Malcolm X, African-American human rights activist 
  • Arthur Dehon Little - American chemical engineer
  • Jean Little - Canadian writer

Genealogy Resources for the Surname LITTLE

Little Surname DNA Project
This DNA project was started in 2001 and has grown to include over 300 members with the surnames Little, Klein, Kline, or Cline interested in working collaboratively to combine genealogy research with DNA testing to sort out Little family lines.

English Surname Meanings and Origins
Uncover the meaning of your English last name with this guide to English surname meanings and origins.

How to Research English Ancestry
Learn how to research your English family tree with this guide to genealogical records in England and Wales, including birth, marriage, death, census, military and church records.

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

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

FamilySearch - LITTLE Genealogy
Explore over 2.7 million historical records which mention individuals with the Little surname, as well as online Little family trees on this free website hosted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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

The Little Genealogy and Family Tree Page
Browse family trees and links to genealogical and historical records for individuals with the last name Little 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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