Short Last Names Beginning With E

This article is about short last names beginning with E that are under five letters.

We look at the most common four-letter, three-letter, and two-letter E family names in the United States in recent years.

We also investigate whether anybody in the United States is named simply “E”.

Using The 2010 U.S. Census

We used the 2010 U.S. Census to look at the numbers for these names.

That allowed us to grab the top ten in each category of four, three, and two-letter names.

The 2010 census also gives a breakdown of how people reported their ethnicity. Some of these names have at least tiny percentages of all the possible ethnic categories.

We’ve included the top two ethnicities in the tables below when they are above 25%. The first listed ethnicity has the higher percentage.

Four Letter Last Names Starting With E

Last NameNumberMostly
Elam14,138White, Black
Epps20,112Black, White

Egan is the most common four-letter name starting with E in America. About 94% of respondents with the name declared that they were white.

In contrast, nearly 62% of people named Epps declared themselves as being black. About 31% declared as white.

Elam was also spread across people of different backgrounds. The respondents broke down as:

  • White: 68%
  • Black: 27%

Origins and meanings

Egan is a name of Irish origin. We cover the meaning and origins in more detail in our article on Irish last names beginning with E.

The name of Eddy has different origins depending on the region. It can be of Cornish or English origins.

Some Americans named Eddy may also be of Norwegian origins from the old Norse word for an isthmus.

Three Letter Last Names Starting With E

You can see by the numbers in the table below that three-letter last names are a little less common than those with four letters.

Last NameNumberMostly
Eli1,688White, Black
Eng10,682Asian & PI

Ely is the most common name in this section. 88 percent of respondents ticked the white category for ethnicity.

The name Eli can be a variant of Ely, but it can also be a variant of the Jewish name Elias. There was a spread of ethnicities that broke down like this:

  • White: 58%
  • Black: 21%
  • Asian & Pacific Islander: 8%
  • Hispanic: 6%

The name of Eng was the other name besides Ely with more than ten thousand bearers in 2010. It was predominantly Asian or Pacific Islander at 77%.


The English origins of Ely come from a town of that name near Cambridge. Because Ely has a cathedral, it is a city. Really, it’s quite a small town now.

Eng has different origins depending on the region. As most people in the U.S. of that name declared as Asian, their origins were likely Chinese.

But the name can also be of Norwegian origin with the meaning from the Norse word for a meadow.

Two Letter Last Names Starting With E

I often can’t give the top ten two-letter names for other letters because there aren’t enough examples. However, there are at least ten starting with E in the 2010 U.S. census.

Last NameNumberMostly
Ea496Asian & PI
Ee190Asian & PI
Eh362Asian & PI
Em885Asian & PI
En270Asian & PI

Only two of the names have over one thousand bearers: Ek and El.

The origins of Ek are often Scandinavian, coming from the word for an oak tree. This is the breakdown for Ek:

  • White: 65%
  • Asian & PI: 16%
  • Hispanic: 17%

This is the breakdown for El:

  • Black: 61%
  • Asian & PI: 16%
  • White: 13%

E As A One-Letter Last Name?

Statistics for the name “E” aren’t in the published U.S. census of 2010. That means that even if it exists in the country, there weren’t one hundred people with the name.

Could there be a few families with E as their name somewhere in America?

The late mathematician A. Ross Eckler conducted a study of one-letter names in the 1970s using telephone directories.

Eckler pointed out that many examples in the books were errors that came from reversing initials and last names.

One confirmed name

However, he was confident there was at least one person named E in the country at the time.

He mentions that a woman from Burma was confirmed by another researcher (Elsdon Smith) of being named “E”.

The Burmese meaning of the name is “calm”. The name is pronounced “aye”, not “ee”.

From the telephone books

If you’re too young to remember telephone directories stacked on the hall table, then I’ll tell you that they were formatted as lists under the name.

These were the names listed under the last name of “E”:

  • Coure John
  • R Kendrick

Other Surnames That Start With E

If you want to check out more names, check out these articles:

Index Of Other Short Last Names


Margaret created a family tree on a genealogy website in 2012. She purchased her first DNA kit in 2017. She created this website to share insights and how-to guides on DNA, genealogy, and family research.

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