Short Last Names Beginning With U

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

We look at the most common four-letter, three-letter, and two-letter U surnames in America in recent years.

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

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 20%. The first listed ethnicity has the higher percentage.

By the way, the initials PI stand for “Pacific Islander”.

Most Common Four Letter Last Names Starting With U

Urso is the most common four-letter surname starting with U in America.

There were over 2,619 people named Urso in the USA in 2010.

Last NameNumberMostly
Ueda835Asian & PI

95% of people named Urso reported as white in the 2010 census. The name is of Sicilian origin.

The meaning comes from the Latin word for a bear.

The name Usry can be a spelling variant of Urso.

Uber is a name that has become a brand for a world-wide cab service.

The origins of the surname are German. The meaning comes from the word for a busy or active person.

You can see from the table that bearers of most of these names reported as white. However, two names had a significant black percentage. It just wasn’t above the 20% threshold.

Twelve percent of people named Urey reported as black, while eleven percent of people named Usry did so.

Most Common Three Letter Last Names Starting With U

I’m working through a series of articles on three-letter last names and I’m getting near the end with U.

This is the only letter so far where the three-letter surnames are more numerous than the four-letter ones. Take a look at the table below:

Last NameNumberMostly
Ude550White, Black
Ung4,519Asian & PI

Uhl is the most common three-letter surname starting with U in the United States. It had over 5,200 bearers in 2010.

A majority of 95% of holders reported as white in the census. The name has Germanic origins. The early meaning can come from the old German word for an owl (ule).

Ung is the next most common name in this section with over 4,500 names. About 92% of people named Ung ticked the census box for “Asian or Pacific Islander”.

The name is usually of Chinese or Vietnamese origins.

Ude is the only name in this section that has a relatively even spread across two heritages:

  • White: 49%
  • Black: 47%
  • Hispanic: 2%

Two Letter Last Names Starting With U

I can’t give you the top ten two-letter names starting with U.

That’s because there are only nine examples in the 2010 U.S. census.

That doesn’t mean that there aren’t a few more two-letter U family names in America. 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 nine names from the census:

Last NameNumberMostly
Uh153Asian & PI
Uk503Asian & PI
Um1,607Asian & PI
Un724Asian & PI
Us257Hispanic, White
Uy3,633Asian & PI
Uz133Hispanic, White

Uy is the most common two-letter name starting with T in the United States. The name has Chinese origins.

Um is the only other name with over one thousand bearers. The name is largely of Korean or Cambodian origins.

The name with the widest spread of heritages was Uk:

  • Asian & PI: 72%
  • White: 16%
  • Hispanic: 7%
  • Black: 4%

U As A One-Letter Last Name

Statistics for the name “U” 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 “U” 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.

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

For example, an entry for “Smith B” was a typo for “B Smith”.

However, Eckler was positive that the letter U had genuine entries. This was because he had found someone with the name in a 1976 book about American scientists.

He found Raymond U, who lived in North Carolina. Raymond was born in Korea and emigrated to the United States.

Here are some of the eleven entries that Eckler found in the telephone directories:

  • Hoi Sang UYong Do U
  • Sung Man U
  • Bill U

Could these be typographic errors for someone with an initial U?

For example, could “Bill U” really be “U Bill”?

It’s possible. However, some of the names that are likely of Asian origins are probably genuine.

Here is the full list of the eleven entries:

  • Bill
  • Hoi Sang
  • Hoisang
  • Hung Yong
  • Jick C
  • Ka-Kui
  • Kwi Sui
  • Peter
  • Sung Man
  • Sung Nan
  • Yong Do

Other Surnames That Start With U

If you want to look at 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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