What is the origin of the last name Avery?

The last name Avery has Anglo-Saxon origins, being derived from the Old English personal name "Aelfric", meaning "elf-ruler", combined with the suffix "-ary" indicating the occupation or association with something. Over time, "Aelfric" evolved into "Avery", and the name gradually became a hereditary surname passed down through generations. The name Avery is found primarily in England, but it has also gained popularity in other English-speaking countries due to migration and is associated with individuals who were connected to an elven ruler or held a similar position of authority.

Countries of origin for the last name Avery

The last name Avery has a long history that can be traced back to medieval England. The name is of Anglo-Saxon origin and is derived from the Old English personal name “Aelfric” or “Alfric,” which means “elf-ruler” or “elf-power.” The surname Avery is a patronymic, meaning it is derived from the first name of an ancestor, in this case, a male ancestor named Aelfric or Alfric.

Avery is a relatively common surname, especially in English-speaking countries like the United States. It is ranked as the 228th most common surname in America. The popularity of the name may be attributed to the fact that it is easy to spell and pronounce, which contributes to its widespread use.

The name Avery has also been associated with occupational roles and locations throughout history. In some cases, Avery could have referred to someone who lived near or worked as an “aviary keeper,” someone who cared for birds, particularly birds of prey. This occupational connection may have given rise to the surname, especially in areas where the occupation was prominent.

Additionally, Avery could also be a locational surname, indicating that the bearer of the name originated from a place called Avery. However, the prevalence of this specific connection is unclear in historical records, and the occupational association seems to have a more prominent influence on the origins of the surname.

Over time, the surname Avery has spread beyond its origins in England and can now be found in various countries worldwide. Some individuals with the surname Avery have a Jewish background, possibly indicating migration patterns or conversions to Judaism in certain populations.

In conclusion, the last name Avery has its roots in medieval England and is derived from the Old English personal name Aelfric or Alfric. It is a patronymic surname, meaning it originates from the first name of a male ancestor. Avery is a relatively common surname, ranking 228th in America, and has historically been associated with occupations related to bird-keeping. The locational connection to a place called Avery is less prevalent in historical records. The surname has spread beyond England and can be found in various countries around the world, including among individuals with Jewish backgrounds. The diversity of these associations and the widespread use of the name provide a fascinating glimpse into the complexities of genealogy and the ever-evolving nature of surnames.

Interesting facts about the last name Avery

  • The surname Avery is of English origin.
  • It is derived from the Old French name Alvere, which means “elf ruler” or “ruler of the elves”.
  • Avery is a relatively common surname in English-speaking countries.
  • The popularity of the surname peaked in the late 19th century in the United States.
  • The Avery family played a significant role in the early settlement and development of the American colonies.
  • Famous individuals with the surname Avery include Christopher Avery, one of the first settlers of Groton, Massachusetts, and Benjamin Avery, who was a soldier and politician during the American Revolutionary War.
  • The surname Avery has been used as a given name in recent years, giving rise to the popularity of names like Avery Johnson, Avery Brooks, and Avery Bradley.
  • Avery is also a popular name for fictional characters in literature and film, such as Avery Bishop in Truman Capote’s “In Cold Blood” and Avery Brown in the television series “Murphy Brown”.
  • The spelling of the surname Avery can vary, with alternative spellings including Averie, Averey, and Averie.
  • The meaning of the surname Avery reflects qualities associated with elves, such as intelligence, cunning, and magical abilities.

Name Rank


There are around 39564 people with the last name Avery in the US

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