Geneanet > Resources > Family Names > PETER

Origin and popularity of the name PETER


Peter : English Scottish German Dutch French (Alsace and Lorraine) Czech (Moravian) Slovak Croatian and Slovenian; Hungarian (Péter): from the personal name Peter (Greek Petros from petra ‘rock’). The personal name was popular throughout Christian Europe in the Middle Ages having been bestowed by Christ as a byname on the apostle Simon bar Jonah the brother of Andrew. The name was chosen by Christ for its symbolic significance (John 1:42 Matt. 16:18); Saint Peter is regarded as the founding head of the Christian Church in view of Christ's saying ‘Thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church’. In Christian Germany in the early Middle Ages this was the most frequent personal name of non-ancient Germanic origin until the 14th century. In North America this surname has also absorbed cognates from other languages for example Czech Petr Polish Piotr and Pietr Albanian Pjetri (from the personal name Pjetër definite form Pjetri) and also their derivatives (see examples at Peterson). It has also been adopted as a surname by Ashkenazic Jews.


Source : DAFN2 : Dictionary of American Family Names 2nd edition, ©2022 by Patrick Hanks and Oxford University Press
FANBI : The Oxford Dictionary if Family Names in Britain and Ireland, ©2016, University of the West of England
FANBI : The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain, ©2021, University of the West of England

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Last name frequency

Geographic distribution of the 125,485 individuals with the name PETER on Geneanet.


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