WARD Name Meaning and Origin

One of the most common meanings of the Ward surname is guard or watchman.
Royal guardsman outside the Tower of London. Getty / Arthur Tilley

Ward is a popular last name of Old English and Old Gaelic origins dating back prior to the Norman Conquest of 1066

The Old English surname Ward has several possible meanings:

  1. An occupational surname for a guard or keeper of the watch, from the Old English weard, meaning "guard."
  2. A geographical or topographical surname for a person who lived near a guardhouse or fortress.
  3. Also possibly as a topographical surname from the word werd, meaning "marsh."

The Ward surname may also be of Irish origin from the Irish last name McWard and variations such as MacAward, MacEvard, MacEward, and Macanward. It derives from the old Gaelic name Mac an Bhaird, from the prefix Mac, meaning "son of" and bhaird, a Gaelic word meaning "bard" or "poet."

Ward may also possibly be an Americanized form of the French surname Guerin, which means "guard."

Ward is the 71st most popular surname in the United States. Ward is also popular in England, coming in as the 31st most common surname. Statistics collected in Ireland from the 1891 census peg Ward as the 78th most common Irish surname.

Surname Origin: English, Irish


Famous People With the Last Name WARD

  • Julia Ward Howe - best known as writer of Battle Hymn of the Republic
  • Billy Ward and his Dominoes - successful African-American R&B vocal group
  • Aaron Montgomery Ward - founder of the Montgomery Ward catalog and retail store
  • Hines Ward - former NFL wide receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers
  • M. Ward - American singer, songwriter

Genealogy Resources for the WARD Surname

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?

Ward, Wardle, Warden DNA Project
The goal of this Y-DNA surname project is to "identify WARD family relationships by placing them each within their own unique y-DNA groups," allowing researchers within those groups to work toward discovery of their common ancestor.

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

FamilySearch - WARD Family History
Access free vital, census, military, and other records, plus lineage-linked family trees posted for the Ward surname and its variations.

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

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

-- Looking for the meaning of a given name? Check out "First Name Meanings"

-- Can't find your last name listed? Suggest a surname to be added to the Glossary of Surname Meanings & Origins.


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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Your Citation
Powell, Kimberly. "WARD Name Meaning and Origin." ThoughtCo, Jul. 30, 2021, thoughtco.com/ward-name-meaning-and-origin-1422640. Powell, Kimberly. (2021, July 30). WARD Name Meaning and Origin. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/ward-name-meaning-and-origin-1422640 Powell, Kimberly. "WARD Name Meaning and Origin." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/ward-name-meaning-and-origin-1422640 (accessed May 31, 2023).