What is the origin of the last name Gentry?

The last name Gentry has its origins in medieval England and is derived from the Middle English word "genterie," which means nobility or gentility. It was used as a surname to denote individuals belonging to the upper classes or landed gentry. The term "gentry" itself can be traced back to the Old French word "genterise," which carries a similar meaning. Over time, the surname Gentry spread across different parts of the English-speaking world, retaining its association with social status and often being adopted by families of noble or higher social standing.

Countries of origin for the last name Gentry

Gentry is a last name that originates from England. It is classified as an occupational surname, indicating that it was derived from a person’s profession or socio-economic status. In particular, Gentry signifies a person of a noble or gentle birth, someone who belongs to the upper class of society.

The surname Gentry is derived from the Middle English word “gentrie,” which came from the Old French term “gentil,” meaning noble or high-born. The usage of Gentry as a surname became prevalent in England during the Middle Ages and was typically associated with families who held a position of importance or owned extensive land.

Historically, the Gentry were often referred to as the minor nobility or the landed gentry. They were individuals who were not part of the peerage but still held a significant social standing. The Gentry class played a crucial role in English society, as they formed the backbone of the local administration and were responsible for maintaining law and order in their respective areas.

As an occupational surname, Gentry indicates that individuals bearing this name were likely involved in activities befitting their high social status. They might have held influential positions in local governance or occupied roles within the legal system. Alternatively, some Gentry individuals may have been associated with landowning and agriculture, having inherited substantial estates and properties.

Over time, the Gentry name spread beyond England, particularly with the migration of individuals to other English-speaking countries. In the United States, the surname Gentry became established during the period of British colonization. It is found across various states, with notable concentrations in southern states such as Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee.

Today, individuals with the surname Gentry can be found in diverse professions and fields of endeavor. As with many surnames, the original meaning and association might have evolved for some Gentry descendants, as individuals have pursued careers in different areas and have integrated into various communities. Nevertheless, the surname Gentry still carries with it a sense of heritage and ancestry, representing a connection to the noble and influential individuals of the past.

The meaning of the last name Gentry lies rooted in the history of England and its social structure. It symbolizes the status and prestige associated with belonging to the upper class. While its origins can be traced back to the Middle Ages, Gentry continues to be passed down through generations, reminding individuals of their ancestral lineage. The surname Gentry evokes an image of refinement, influence, and a connection to a time when social standing held significant importance.

Interesting facts about the last name Gentry

  • The surname Gentry is of English origin.
  • It is derived from the Old French word “genterie,” which means “noble birth” or “nobility.”
  • The Gentry surname is primarily found in the southern and southeastern regions of the United States.
  • It is considered a patronymic surname, meaning it was originally derived from the first name of an ancestor.
  • The Gentry surname has variations such as Gentle, Gentrie, and Gentrey.
  • Many individuals with the surname Gentry can trace their ancestry back to the early American colonies, particularly Virginia and Maryland.
  • The Gentry name was frequently associated with landed gentry, a term used to describe the rural upper class in England.
  • Notable individuals with the surname Gentry include Bobbie Gentry, a famous American singer-songwriter, and Todd Gentry, an American football player.
  • The Gentry surname may have also originated as a nickname for someone who behaved in a noble or refined manner.
  • As a surname, Gentry is relatively rare, ranking around 6,000th in terms of popularity in the United States.

Name Rank


There are around 43027 people with the last name Gentry in the US

Related Names

Related Regions