Monroe Surname Meaning and Family History

The Monroe surname derives from a word meaning "mouth of a river."
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Monroe is a Scots Gaelic surname meaning "from the mouth of the river." From bun, meaning "mouth of" and roe, meaning "a river." In Gaelic the 'b' often becomes an 'm' - hence the surname MONROE.

Surname Origin: Scottish, Irish

Alternate Surname Spellings: MUNROE, MUNROSE, MONRO, MUNRO, MUNREE

Famous People

  • James Monroe: 5th president of the United States
  • Marilyn Monroe: American actress (born Norma Jeane Mortenson)
  • Vaughn Monroe: American singer, trumpeter and big band leader
  • Bill Monroe: American musician
  • Alan H. Monroe: professor; creator of Monroe's motivated sequence

Where the Monroe Surname is Most Common

According to surname distribution from Forebears, the Monroe surname is most common in the United States, where it is popular throughout the nation. It is found in greatest numbers in some of the largest states by population, including Texas, California and New York, as well as North Carolina and Florida.

WorldNames PublicProfiler also identifies Monroe as most common in the United States, including the District of Columbia, North Carolina, Indiana, Alaska, Louisiana, Virginia, Kentucky, Idaho, Michigan, and Mississippi.

Genealogy Resources

  • Meanings of Common Scottish Surnames: Uncover the meaning of your Scottish last name with this free guide to the meanings and origins of common surnames from Scotland.
  • Monroe Family Crest: Contrary to what you may hear, there is no such thing as a Monroe family crest or coat of arms for the Monroe 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.
  • Munro DNA Surname Project: Individuals with the Munro surname and variations such as Monroe are invited to participate in this group DNA project in an attempt to learn more about Monroe family origins. The website includes information on the project, the research is done to date, and instructions on how to participate.
  • Family Genealogy Forum: This free message board is focused on descendants of Monroe ancestors around the world.
  • FamilySearch: Explore over 1.3 million results from digitized historical records and lineage-linked family trees related to the Monroe surname on this free website hosted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
  • Surname Mailing List: Free mailing list for researchers of the Monroe surname and its variations includes subscription details and searchable archives of past messages.
  • DistantCousin.com: Explore free databases and genealogy links for the last name Monroe.
  • GeneaNet: GeneaNet includes archival records, family trees, and other resources for individuals with the Monroe surname, with a concentration on records and families from France and other European countries.
  • The Monroe Genealogy and Family Tree Page: Browse genealogy records and links to genealogical and historical records for individuals with the Monroe surname 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.