What is the origin of the last name Monroe?

The last name Monroe, derived from the Gaelic surname Munro, has its origins in Scotland. The name is believed to have originated from the region of the northern Highlands, near the Cromarty Firth, where the Munro clan was established. The name itself is derived from the Scottish Gaelic word "monadh," meaning "hill" or "mountain." Over time, branches of the Munro clan migrated to other parts of Scotland and subsequently to other countries, leading to variations in spelling and pronunciation, including the anglicized version "Monroe." The name's rich Scottish heritage and long history make it an intriguing subject for genealogical and historical research.

Countries of origin for the last name Monroe

The surname Monroe has its roots in Scotland and Ireland. It is derived from the Gaelic name “O Mhaonaigh,” meaning “descendant of a wealthy man” or “man of prosperity”.

Monroe is a patronymic surname, meaning it is based on the name of an ancestor. In this case, the name originated from the Irish and Scottish given name “Munro,” which itself is an anglicized form of the Gaelic name “Maoanruadh” or “Maoanruadhan.” The “Maoan” component refers to a man of importance or great significance, while “ruadh” means “red-haired.” Together, the name carries the connotation of a distinguished individual with red hair.

The surname Monroe, as a variation of “Munro,” has a notable historical connection to the ancient Scottish clan Munro. The clan originated in the northern Highlands of Scotland and played a prominent role in the region’s history. The Munro clan was known for its fierce warriors and loyalty to the Scottish crown. They were active during various conflicts, including the Jacobite Rising of 1715 and the Jacobite Rising of 1745.

Throughout history, many individuals bearing the surname Monroe have achieved fame and recognition in different fields. One notable figure is James Monroe, the fifth president of the United States, who served two terms from 1817 to 1825. Born into a Virginia planters’ family, Monroe played an instrumental role in shaping early American foreign policy, including the Monroe Doctrine.

The surname Monroe has also had an influence on popular culture. It has been adopted as a given name for both males and females, with notable examples including the iconic actress Marilyn Monroe and the American musician and activist Esperanza Spalding, born Esperanza Emily Spalding Monroe.

Today, individuals with the surname Monroe can be found in various parts of the world, particularly in English-speaking countries. It has become a relatively common surname in the United States, with notable concentrations in states such as Texas, California, and Florida.

Despite its rich history and widespread usage, the exact origins and meaning of the surname Monroe may still hold undiscovered depths. The complexities of genealogy and etymology leave room for further exploration and potential revelations about this captivating surname.

Interesting facts about the last name Monroe

  • The surname Monroe is of Scottish origin.
  • The name Monroe is derived from the Gaelic “munerach,” which means “from the mouth of the Roe River.”
  • The Monroe family name can be traced back to Clan Munro, a Highland Scottish clan.
  • Historically, the Monroe clan was located in the northern part of Scotland, in what is now known as Ross and Cromarty.
  • One famous bearer of the surname Monroe was James Monroe, the fifth President of the United States, serving from 1817 to 1825.
  • Another notable figure with the surname Monroe is Marilyn Monroe, the iconic American actress of the mid-20th century.
  • The surname Monroe has variations including Munroe, Monro, and Munro.
  • In the United States, the state of West Virginia has the highest frequency of the surname Monroe.
  • The meaning behind the surname Monroe can symbolize a connection to a specific geographic location, highlighting the significance of land and water in ancestral origins.
  • The surname Monroe is relatively uncommon, with fewer than 100,000 people worldwide carrying this surname.

Name Rank


There are around 55136 people with the last name Monroe in the US

Related Names

Related Regions