PETERSON Last Name Meaning and Origin

Getty / Alex Iskanderian / EyeEm

Peterson is a patronymic surname meaning "son of Peter." The given name Peter is derived from the Greek πέτρος (petros), meaning "rock" or "stone," and has been a popular name choice throughout history for the Christian apostle Peter, chosen by Christ to be 'the rock" on which the church was to be founded.

The Peterson spelling may also be an Americanized form of similar non-English surnames such as Petersen or Pettersson.

Peterson is the 63rd most popular surname in the United States.

Surname Origin: English, ScottishGerman

Alternate Surname Spellings: PETERS, PETERSEN, PETERSSON, PETERSSEN, PETERZEN. See also the similar surname PEDERSEN.

Famous People with the PETERSON Surname:

  • Oscar Peterson - Canadian jazz pianist
  • Drew Peterson - former policeman convicted for murdering his wife
  • Adrian Peterson - NFL running back for the Minnesota Vikings

Genealogy Resources for the Surname PETERSON:

100 Most Common U.S. Surnames & Their Meanings
Smith, Johnson, Williams, Jones, Brown... Are you one of the millions of Americans sporting one of these top 100 common last names from the 2000 census?

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

FamilySearch - PETERSON Genealogy
Search and browse historical records and family trees for the Peterson surname and its variations on the free FamilySearch website.

PETERSON Surname & Family Mailing Lists
RootsWeb hosts several free mailing lists for researchers of the Peterson surname.

DistantCousin.com - PETERSON Genealogy & Family History
Free databases and genealogy links for the last name Peterson.

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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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