While there are many surnames which are considered to be very common or popular, most of these are derived from one point. The etymology of the surname Green however, comes from many different sources which have led to its popularity.
In the first case of origins, the surname comes from Old English grēn. This comes about from a number of possible sources as one who had a habit of wearing green coloured clothing on a regular basis would have picked this up as a nick name until it would later be converted into a surname. Likewise, participants of the May Day’s Green Man were also commonly referred to as green. There is also the occasion in which a person who had dwelled in or around the village’s green would also become known as Green.
The next derivative of this surname comes from Jewish ancestry. In emigrating from Germany to America, persons who carried the surname of Grün changed it to Green upon filing their immigration into the U.S. Once again though, it was the translation of the word to English which means Green that led to the decision of adopting it as a new surname after emigrating.
This is also a translation of the Irish surname of Glas. In this case, the similarities with the Jewish immigrations stand firm. During the immigration into the United States, persons originating from Ireland and those who had surname that were originated from Glas choose to change their name to Green upon entry and receiving their immigrant status.
In the case of German immigrants, the choice of changing their surname to green comes about Gren. This use of German surnames actually refers to their place of origin in which one from Greubole or even Greune would assume the name Green upon entry into the U.S.
Finally, the surname can also originate from Sweden where it has been found to be an extremely common surname. In this final instance, the term refers to the Swedish word that means the branch of a tree. Swedish immigrants would most likely have held the name Gren until reaching the shores of the United States and applying for their immigration status.
Due to the high complexity of the roots of the surname, this has led to it also being a very common surname for those living in the U.S. today. With it being so popular as well as for the fact that it was not the original name for the ancestor, makes tracing the ancestry back a more difficult task. In the vast majority of cases where someone searching for the name Green, it has been found that the ancestor did in fact change their surname upon immigrating.
Likewise, the large numbers of persons who are famous or have played important roles in our histories have also been named Green. This can include people from all walks of life including singers like Al Green, actors like Tom Green and many, many more. There have been sports figures and politicians, artists and regular Joes that have used this very common surname. The chances that you may find someone in your lineage that may have played a vital role in shaping our culture today might be a lot easier then many other names. This is assuming that you can find them amongst the millions of Greens who have lived over the centuries. Original Authors: Nick
Edit Update Authors: M.A.Harris
Updated On: 05/06/2009