What is the origin of the last name Wade?

The last name Wade, of English origin, is derived from the Middle English word "wade," meaning "to go" or "to wade." It originated as an occupational name for someone who crossed shallow water on foot or helped others do so. The name can also be traced back to the Old English word "wadan," with similar meanings. Over time, the surname Wade has gained variants such as Wadd, Wadeson, and Wadden, serving as a testament to its historical presence and varied spellings.

Countries of origin for the last name Wade

Wade is a last name that holds historical significance. It is primarily found in English-speaking countries, particularly the United States. The name can be traced back to its Old English origins, where it was derived from the word “wadan,” meaning “to go” or “to wade.” The name is associated with individuals who lived near or had a connection to bodies of water, such as rivers or streams.

The surname has been documented as far back as the 11th century, appearing in the Domesday Book of 1086. This book was a survey of land ownership in England commissioned by William the Conqueror. From this period onward, the name has continued to be prevalent in England and eventually spread to other parts of the world through migration and colonization.

As with many surnames, variations of the name have emerged over time. Examples include Waid, Waide, and Wath. These variations reflect different regional pronunciations and spelling conventions. Despite these variations, the core meaning and origin of the name remain consistent.

While the name Wade has English roots, it has also become a relatively common surname among African Americans. The surname was likely adopted during the era of slavery when enslaved individuals were often given the last names of their owners. As a result, the surname Wade can be found in African American communities across the United States today.

The prevalence of the surname Wade in the United States can also be attributed to immigration patterns. Many individuals with the surname Wade migrated to the United States from England, Ireland, and Scotland during the 18th and 19th centuries. These immigrants sought new opportunities and a fresh start in the growing nation.

Today, the surname Wade remains relatively common in the United States. It can be found throughout the country, but is particularly concentrated in states such as Texas, North Carolina, and California. The name has also gained recognition through notable individuals who bear the surname, including athletes, politicians, and entertainers.

In conclusion, the last name Wade has deep historical roots and is linked to the Old English word “wadan” meaning “to go” or “to wade.” It is associated with individuals who lived near bodies of water and has been in use since at least the 11th century. The name has both English and African American origins and has spread to various parts of the world due to migration. Despite variations in spelling and pronunciation, the core meaning of the name has remained consistent. The surname Wade continues to be prevalent in the United States today, particularly in states with significant historical and migratory connections.

Interesting facts about the last name Wade

  • The surname Wade is of English origin, deriving from the Old English word “wadan” meaning “to go” or “to proceed.”
  • One of the earliest recorded instances of the surname Wade is in the Domesday Book of 1086, where a William Wade is mentioned as holding lands in Suffolk, England.
  • The name Wade was commonly used as a first name before becoming a surname. It was popularized by the legendary figure of Wade, a giant and warrior in English folklore.
  • The Wade family held significance in the history of the American frontier. Benjamin Wade, a descendant of the family, was a much-revered politician and abolitionist during the American Civil War era.
  • In Scotland, the MacWade clan is associated with the surname. The clan’s history can be traced back to the 12th century.
  • The name Wade has multiple variations across different cultures, such as Wad and Waddell.
  • Famous individuals with the surname Wade include Dwyane Wade, the former professional basketball player, and James Wade, an English professional darts player.
  • According to census data, the surname Wade ranks among the top 500 surnames in the United States.
  • The Wade surname has spread globally, with notable populations in countries such as Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.
  • Etymologists believe that the surname Wade may have connections with similar surnames like Wadeley, Wadlow, and Ways.

Name Rank


There are around 97040 people with the last name Wade in the US

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