Short Last Names Beginning With G

This article is about short last names starting with G that are under five letters.

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

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

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 the second is above 25%. The first listed ethnicity has the higher percentage.

Most Common Four Letter Last Names Starting With G

Gray is the most common four-letter surname starting with G in America.

Last NameNumberMostly
Gary22,310White, Black

About 67% of respondents named Gray declared that they were white, while 25% declared as black.

“Gill” is spread across four ethnicities:

  • White: 65%
  • Black: 14%
  • Asian & PI: 13%
  • Hispanic: 5%

Gary is more evenly split with no ethnicity being over fifty percent:

  • White: 47%
  • Black: 46%


Gray has both English and Irish origins. Early bearers may have had grey hair.

Goff is an English name of Breton origin. The meaning comes from the word for a smith (worker with metals).

Gunn is an English name of Norse origin. The meaning comes from the Norse word for a battle.

Most Common Three Letter Last Names Starting With G

You can see in the table below that three-letter last names starting with G are more spread across different heritages.

Last NameNumberMostly
Gan2,891Asian & PI, White
Gao12,172Asian & PI
Gay32,025White, Black
Gee23,241White, Asian & PI
Guo12,048Asian & PI

Gay is the most common three-letter surname starting with G in the United States.

71% percent of respondents named Gay declared as white. 23 percent declared as black.

Gao and Guo were both over ninety-seven percent Asian or Pacific Islander.

Gee is spread across three ethnicities:

  • White: 54%
  • Asian & PI: 20%
  • Black: 20%


Gay has English origins with the meaning coming from the old French word for cheery or gaiety.  

Guy as English and French origins. The meaning may come from an old Germanic word for a forest.

Gow is of Scottish origins. The meaning comes from the Gaelic word for a smith (gobha).

Two Letter Last Names Starting With G

I can’t give you the top ten two-letter names starting with F because there are only five in the 2010 U.S. census.

That doesn’t mean that there aren’t more people with other two-letter names that I don’t include here. It’s just that other names didn’t have at least one hundred bearers in 2010.

The U.S. National Archives only publishes details of surnames with one hundred or more bearers. Here is a summary of the five names from the census:

Last NameNumberMostly
Ga369White, Asian & PI
Ge1,917Asian & PI
Gi282Asian & PI, White
Go4,370Asian & PI
Gu5,532Asian & PI

Gu is the most common two-letter name starting with G with over five thousand bearers. 95% of respondents ticked the category for “Asian and Pacific Islander”.

They are most likely of Chinese origin. The meaning may come from the Mandarin word for old or ancient.

Go is a name of Japanese origin. The census results were about 87% Asian or Pacific Islands. The meaning may come from the Japanese word for a village.

Ga is spread across four ethnicities. No single ethnicity is over fifty percent. This is the breakdown:

  • White: 39%
  • Asian & PI: 25%
  • Hispanic: 21%
  • Black: 11%

G As A One-Letter Last Name

Statistics for the name “G” 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 “G” as their name in the United States?

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

Are you too young to remember telephone directories stacked on the hall table? Here’s a picture:

The entries were formatted as lists under the name.

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

There was only one name (in Dallas) listed under the last name of “G”:

  • Kristine Bennet

Could this be a typographic error for someone with an initial G? Could the correct name be “G Kristine Bennet”? I think that’s likely.

Other Surnames That Start With G

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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