"Peters" Surname Meaning and Origin

The last name Peters is a patronymic surname meaning "son of Peter," derived from the Greek πέτρος (petros), meaning "rock" or "stone." As an Irish surname, Peters may be an Anglicized form of the Gaelic name Mac Pheadair, meaning "son of Peter."

Peters may also be an Americanized form of cognate (like-sounding) surnames from other languages, such as the Dutch and German surname Pieters.

Peter has been a popular name choice throughout history for the Christian apostle Peter, "the rock" on which Jesus founded his church. Thus, the surname Peters is fairly common in several different countries. See also the Spanish surname "Perez."

Where in the World is the "Peters" Surname Found?

According to World Names PublicProfiler, the Peters surname is most commonly found today in the Netherlands, where it is the 16th most common Dutch surname. It is also a fairly common surname in Germany, as well as on Prince Edward Island, Canada. According to surname distribution data at Forebears, the Peters last name is most prevalent in the United States, with the highest density of the surname found in Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha, where 1 in 22 people have the Peters surname. It is also a common surname in the Netherlands, the British Virgin Islands, and various other British and former British territories.

Famous People With the "Peters" Surname

  • Bernadette Peters - American actress, singer and children's book author
  • George Henry Peters - US astronomer
  • Richard Peters - American railroad man and a founder of Atlanta, Georgia
  • Christian August Friedrich Peters - German astronomer
  • Hugh Peter - English preacher
  • John Samuel Peters - American politician and past governor of Connecticut

Genealogy Resources for the Surname "Peters"

  • Peters DNA Surname Project: Males with the Peters surname and variants such as Peaters, Peeters, Peter, Pieter, and Pieters are encouraged to participate in this DNA study, incorporating Y-DNA testing with traditional genealogy research to sort out Peters ancestral lines.
  • Peters Family Genealogy Forum: Search this popular genealogy forum for the Peters surname to find others who might be researching your ancestors, or post your own Peters surname query.
  • FamilySearch - PETERS Genealogy: Explore over 3.2 million results, including digitized records, database entries, and online family trees for the Peters surname and its variations on the FREE FamilySearch website, courtesy of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
  • RootsWeb - PETERS Genealogy Mailing List: Join this free genealogy mailing list for discussion and sharing of information regarding the Peters surname, or search/browse the mailing list archives.
  • DistantCousin.com - PETERS Genealogy & Family History: Explore free databases and genealogy links for the last name Peters.
  • The Peters Genealogy and Family Tree Page: Browse genealogy records and links to genealogical and historical records for individuals with the Peters surname from the website of Genealogy Today.

Sources 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.