The Meaning and Origin Behind the Surname "Roberts"

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A patronymic surname translating to "son of Robert," from the Welsh given name Robert, meaning "bright fame." The surname is derived from the Germanic elements "hrod" meaning fame and "beraht" meaning bright. The origin of the name Roberts is Welsh and German and is the 45th most popular surname in the United States as well as the sixth most common surname in Wales.

Quick Facts

  • The nickname for Robert is typically "Bob" or "Bobby" while the feminine form is often "Roberta" or "Bobbi."
  • The Normans historically introduced the surname Roberts to Britain allowing it to be popular in places like England, Wales and Ireland.
  • Roberts can also be attributed to the Italian root connected to "Rupert" and is connected to Flanders by the names "Rops" and "Rubbens."
  • The popular fictional character and children's toy doll, "Barbie", is also known by her full name as Barbara Millicent Roberts.

Alternate Surname Spellings

  • Robert
  • Robarts
  • Robins
  • Robart
  • Ropartz
  • Robberts
  • Ropert
  • Ruppert

Famous People

  • Julia Roberts: American actress popular for films Pretty Woman, Steel Magnolias, and Erin Brockovich. She is one of the highest-paid actors in Hollywood.
  • Rick Ross: His real name is William Leonard Roberts II. Rick Ross is a rapper and label boss who was first signed to P. Diddy's Ciroc Entertainment.
  • Doris Roberts: Famous television actress known for her role in the popular series Everbody Loves Raymond. She had also been on Desperate Housewives, Grey's Anatomy and other TV shows.

    Genealogy Resources

    Check out the resource First Name Meanings to discover the meaning of a given name. Suggest a surname be added to the Glossary of Surname Meanings and Origins if you are unable to find your last name listed.

    References: Surname Meanings and 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.