What is the origin of the last name Meade?

The last name Meade has its origins in Ireland. It is derived from the Gaelic surname "Ó Mheadhra" or "Mac Medra," meaning "son of Meadhair" or "honorable." The Meades were a prominent clan in County Galway and County Cork, with historical connections to the O'Connors and O'Maddens. Over time, the name spread to England and other parts of the world through Irish migration, particularly during the 19th century.

Countries of origin for the last name Meade

The last name Meade is of English origin. It is a habitational name for individuals who lived near a meadow or mead, which refers to a piece of grassland or pasture. The word “mead” comes from the Old English word “mead,” meaning meadow. Therefore, the last name Meade indicates someone who resided in or was associated with a meadow.

Variant spellings of the surname include Meads, Meede, and Meeds. These variations could have resulted from differences in regional accents, illiteracy, or slight changes over time. However, the core meaning remains the same regardless of spelling.

The surname Meade is relatively common throughout England and Ireland. It is more prevalent in the English counties of Kent, Berkshire, and London. In Ireland, it can be found primarily in County Cork. The dispersion of the surname suggests that families with the name Meade migrated and settled in various regions over the centuries. Additionally, it indicates that individuals bearing this surname may not be closely related despite sharing the same last name.

The Meade family has a notable presence in history. In England, the Meades held positions of authority and were associated with the aristocracy. Sir Richard Meade, 3rd Baronet of Ballintubber, served as Lord Chancellor of Ireland in the early 18th century. The Meades were also involved in the military, with several members achieving high ranks in the British Army.

The Meade surname made its way to the United States through immigration. It is found among both early settlers and more recent arrivals. As with many surnames, individuals with the last name Meade have made significant contributions in various fields, including politics, business, arts, and sciences.

While the meaning and distribution of the last name Meade are well-documented, its specific origins remain uncertain. It can be challenging to trace the lineage of a family name back to its earliest roots due to factors such as limited records and variations in spelling. There is still much to discover and explore regarding the history of the Meade surname, providing a sense of intrigue and further possibilities for research.

Interesting facts about the last name Meade

  • The surname Meade originated in England and has Irish, Scottish, and Welsh variations.
  • It is an anglicized form of the Gaelic name “Mac Giolla Mhéadha,” meaning “son of the servant of St. Méadha,” with St. Méadha referring to Saint Meadha, an ancient Irish saint.
  • Meade can also be a variant of the Scottish surname “Mac Mheadha,” meaning “son of Mhéadha.”
  • The surname Meade dates back to at least the 14th century in Ireland.
  • The Meade family seat is located in Ballintubber, County Mayo, Ireland.
  • Notable individuals with the surname Meade include Richard Worsam Meade, a Union Army officer during the American Civil War, and George Gordon Meade, a Union general best known for his victory at the Battle of Gettysburg.
  • The name has spread throughout the English-speaking world, particularly in the United States and Canada, due to immigration from Ireland and Scotland.
  • Meade is a fairly uncommon surname, ranking around 6,000th in terms of popularity in the United States.
  • Variant spellings of the name include Mead, Meede, and Mede.
  • Famous fictional characters with the surname Meade include Daniel Meade, a character in the TV series “Ugly Betty,” and Addianna Meade, a character in the book series “The Secret Circle.”

Name Rank


There are around 22091 people with the last name Meade in the US

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