Watt Surname Meaning and Origin

The Watt surname derives from a personal name meaning "ruler of the army."
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The Watt surname derives from early forms of the personal name Walter. The popular Middle English given names Wat and Watt were pet forms of the name Walter, meaning "powerful ruler" or "ruler of the army," from the elements wald, meaning rule, and heri, meaning army.

Watt is the 80th most common surname in Scotland.

Surname Origin: ScottishEnglish

Alternate Surname Spellings: WATTS, WATTE, WATTIS, WATS See also WATSON.

Where Do People with the Watt Surname Live

According to WorldNames PublicProfiler, the last name Watts is most common in Wales, especially Pembrokeshire, as well as Somerset, Gloucester, and Northampton counties in England. The Watt spelling (without the "s") is much more common in Scotland, as well as County Tyrone in Northern Ireland. Both names are also popular in Australia and New Zealand. Interestingly, the Watt spelling is more common in the Canada, while Watts is found more frequently in the United States. Surname distribution data from Forebears also puts Watt as most frequently found in Scotland. In 1881 the name was most commonly found in Banffshire where it ranked 5th, as well as East Lothian (#11), Aberdeenshire (#20) and Kincardineshire (#21). In contrast, the Watts surname is more common in Wales (#128), England (#139), Australia (#151), New Zealand (#252) and the United States (#323) than it is in Scotland, where it ranks 692nd most common.

Famous People with the Watt Surname

  • James Watt - Inventor of the modern steam engine
  • - NFL football player
  • André Watts - German pianist
  • Charlie Watts - English drummer, best known for being part of the famed rock 'n' roll group The Rolling Stones
  • Reggie Watts - German-born musical comedian
  • Isaac Watts - English Christian minister, hymn writer and theologian; author of the Christmas hymn Joy to the World

Genealogy Resources for the Surname Watt

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?

Watt/Watts/Watson Family Reconstruction Project
Over 150 group members belong to this Y-DNA surname project, working together to combine DNA testing with traditional genealogy research to sort out Watt, Watts and Watson ancestral lines.

Watt Family Crest - It's Not What You Think
Contrary to what you may hear, there is no such thing as a Watt family crest or coat of arms for the Watson 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. 

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

FamilySearch - WATT Genealogy
Access over 8 million free historical records and lineage-linked family trees posted for the Watt surname and its variations on this free genealogy website hosted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

WATT Surname & Family Mailing Lists
RootsWeb hosts several free mailing lists for researchers of the Watt surname. You can also browse or search the list archives to explore previous postings for the Watt surname.

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

The Watt Genealogy and Family Tree Page
Browse family trees and links to genealogical and historical records for individuals with the last name Watt from the website of Genealogy Today.

References: Surname Meanings & Origins

Cottle, Basil. "Penguin Dictionary of Surnames." Baltimore: Penguin Books, 1967.

Menk, Lars. "A Dictionary of German Jewish Surnames." Bergenfield, NJ: Avotaynu, 2005.

Beider, Alexander. "A Dictionary of Jewish Surnames from Galicia." Bergenfield, NJ: Avotaynu, 2004.

Hanks, Patrick and Flavia Hodges. "A Dictionary of Surnames." New York: Oxford University Press, 1989.

Hanks, Patrick. "Dictionary of American Family Names." New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.

Hoffman, William F. "Polish Surnames: Origins and Meanings." Chicago: Polish Genealogical Society, 1993.

Rymut, Kazimierz. "Nazwiska Polakow." Wroclaw: Zaklad Narodowy im. Ossolinskich - Wydawnictwo, 1991.

Smith, Elsdon C. "American Surnames." Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1997.

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Your Citation
Powell, Kimberly. "Watt Surname Meaning and Origin." ThoughtCo, Sep. 2, 2021, thoughtco.com/watt-surname-meaning-and-origin-4030631. Powell, Kimberly. (2021, September 2). Watt Surname Meaning and Origin. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/watt-surname-meaning-and-origin-4030631 Powell, Kimberly. "Watt Surname Meaning and Origin." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/watt-surname-meaning-and-origin-4030631 (accessed June 7, 2023).