10 Oldest Known Names in the World - Oldest.org (2023)

The earliest legitimate writing systems did not emerge until around 3200 BCE, so most of human history before this time has been lost. There are thousands of ancient peoples whose names or stories we’ll never know, but this list contains some of the earliest recorded names in the world. While many of these people were kings (and one queen), the oldest known person was an accountant, who signed what were basically ancient receipts and inventory lists.

10. Yax Ehb Xook

Year Written: c.90 CE
Country of Origin: Tikal (modern day Flores, Guatemala)
[ Writing System: pre-Columbian Maya Script

10 Oldest Known Names in the World - Oldest.org (1)photo source: Wikimedia Commons

Outside of Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia/Sumeria, one of the earliest mentions of a ruler in the west comes from early period of Maya civilization. Yax Ehb Xook was the first ruler of the important and powerful city-state Tikal. He ruled much of the surrounding lowland region at the time and the city was called Yax Mutal in his honor.

Yax Ehb Xook’s rule set Tikal up to dominate much of the Maya region politically, economically, and militarily for the next several centuries.

Did You Know?

Yax Ehb Xook translates to “First Step Shark.”

9. Anitta

Year Written: c.17th century BCE
Country of Origin: Kussara, Anatolia (modern day Turkey)
[ Writing System: Hittite Cuneiform

10 Oldest Known Names in the World - Oldest.org (2)photo source: Wikimedia Commons

Anitta was the first Hittite ruler to write a text in the Hittite language. His name appears on a dagger as well as the Anitta text or Proclamations of Anittas, the earliest known Indo-European text. Anitta detailed the rise of the Hittite state, as well as his own exploits.

The Anitta text was so important to the Hittites that it was copied several times and well-preserved. The text is also a great example of archaic writing and grammar.

Did You Know?

The Anitta text is the only known Hittite text to make reference to the god Siu-summin (“our god” or “Our Sius”).

8. Hor-Aha

Year Written: c.3100 BCE
Country of Origin: Abydos, Egypt (modern day El-Bayana, Sohag Governate, Egypt)
[ Writing System: Egyptian Hieroglyphics

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10 Oldest Known Names in the World - Oldest.org (3)photo source: Wikimedia Commons

Hor-Aha is yet another early Egyptian pharaoh whose exact identity is unknown. Most scholars believe that Hor-Aha was the second ruler of Ancient Egypt’s First Dynasty and Narmer’s successor and possibly his son. Others think that Hor-Aha was actually Menes, which conflicts with the theory that Narmer could have also been Menes.

Regardless of his true identity, Hor-Aha was important and his name appears on many artifacts. Hor-Aha’s tomb has also been discovered, which provides additional evidence for his existence.

Did You Know?

Hor-Aha was the first Ancient Egyptian pharaoh to have members of the royal household buried in his tomb as the earliest known retainer sacrifices in Egypt.

7. Neithhotep

Year Written: c.3150 to 3125 BCE
Country of Origin: Abydos, Egypt (modern day El-Bayana, Sohag Governate, Egypt)
[ Writing System: Egyptian Hieroglyphics

10 Oldest Known Names in the World - Oldest.org (4)photo source: Wikimedia Commons

Neithhotep is the earliest named woman in history, who held a position of great importance in Ancient Egypt. She was the queen consort of either Narmer or his successor Hor-Aha. While scholars don’t know for sure who Neithhotep was married to, they do know that she was very important because of the massive size of her tomb and the fact that her name is written with royal serekh. In fact, initially researchers thought Neithhotep was an unknown king because of her huge tomb.

Did You Know?

Along with Queen Meritneith, Neithhotep is the only Ancient Egyptian woman whose name is written with a serekh and whose tomb has its own cultic enclosure.

6. Narmer

Year Written: c.3150 to 3100 BCE
Country of Origin: Nekhen, Egypt (modern day Aswan Governate, Egypt)
[ Writing System: Egyptian Hieroglyphics

10 Oldest Known Names in the World - Oldest.org (5)photo source: Wikimedia Commons

Narmer was the successor to either Ka or Scorpion II, the earliest predynastic kings of Egypt. Considered the founder of the First Dynasty, Narmer is widely credited with unifying Upper and Lower Egypt to become the first true pharaoh of Ancient Egypt.

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Narmer’s name has been found all over various artifacts, most notably the Narmer Palette. Not only does the palette contain some of the earliest Egyptian hieroglyphics, but it also clearly depicts Narmer as a king.

Did You Know?

Along with Queen Meritneith, Neithhotep is the only Ancient Egyptian woman whose name is written with a serekh and whose tomb has its own cultic enclosure.

5. Scorpion II

Year Written: c.3200 to 3000 BCE
Country of Origin: Nekhen, Egypt (modern day Aswan Governate, Egypt)
[ Writing System: Egyptian Hieroglyphics

10 Oldest Known Names in the World - Oldest.org (6)photo source: Wikimedia Commons

Like all of the earliest Egyptian pharaohs, the details and exact identity of Scopion II or King Scorpion’s life are hotly contested. There are many conflicting theories over Scorpion II’s identity. Some scholars believe Scorpion II was another name for Narmer, while others believe he is the ruler who came after Ka and before Narmer.

There is another theory that suggests Scorpion II was a rival ruler of Ka and Narmer. Regardless of who he actually was, Scorpion II’s name appears on several artifacts from Egypt’s predynastic period.

Did You Know?

While there are numerous artifacts supporting Scorpion II’s rule and existence, his tomb exact burial place is unknown, but there are two tombs – one in Umm el-Qa’ab (close to Abydos) and another in Hierakonpolis (Nekhen) – that are strong contenders.

4. Ka

Year Written: c.3200 BCE
Country of Origin: Abydos, Egypt (modern day El-Bayana, Sohag Governate, Egypt)
[ Writing System: Egyptian Hieroglyphics

10 Oldest Known Names in the World - Oldest.org (7)photo source: Wikimedia Commons

Ka or Sekhen is another predynastic Egyptian pharaoh, who may have been Iry-Hor’s successor. It is believed that Ka reigned sometime during the first half of the 32nd century BCE. Ka would have ruled from Thinis, the first capital of city of the earliest Egyptian kings, which has not yet been uncovered.

Ka’s tomb was first discovered in 1902 and several artifacts, including flint knife fragments and pottery, bearing Ka’s name have been found over the years.

Did You Know?

Ka was the first Egyptian ruler to use a serekh, a box-shaped symbol that goes around a name to indicated kingship.

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3. Iry-Hor

Year Written: c.3200 BCE
Country of Origin: Abydos, Egypt (modern day El-Bayana, Sohag Governate, Egypt)
[ Writing System: Egyptian Hieroglyphics

10 Oldest Known Names in the World - Oldest.org (8)photo source: Wikimedia Commons

Iry-Hor is the name of a mysterious predynatic pharaoh (he may have been the very first true king of the region) whose existence has been challenged despite the excavation of his tomb. The reason for the doubt over Iry-Hor’s significance is because his name is written in archaic hieroglyphics without a serekh. However, more excavations in Abydos and the discovery of another inscription of Iry-Hor’s name in 2012 confirms that he actually existed.

Did You Know?

Iry-Hor’s tomb has similar dimensions to Ka and Narmer, two of the earliest confirmed Egyptian pharaohs, which strongly supports the belief that Iry-Hor was also a pharaoh.

2. Gal-Sal and Slaves

Year Written: c.3200 to 3100 BCE
Country of Origin: Ancient Sumer (modern day southern Iraq)
[ Writing System: pre-Cuneiform archaic Sumerian

10 Oldest Known Names in the World - Oldest.org (9)photo source: cdli.ucla.edu

Not much is known publicly about the Sumerian clay tablet containing three names: Gal-Sal and two slaves Enpap-x and Sukkalgir. Gal-Sal is typically only mentioned as a contender to Kushim for oldest known name. The tablet with Gal-Sal and his slaves names does come from the same time period as Kushims’ and features the same pre-Cuneiform script.

Did You Know?

Researchers know that Gal-Sal was most likely the owner of Enpap-x and Sukkalgir because their names are next to the symbols for male slave and female slave.

1. Kushim

Year Written: c.3400 to 3000 BCE
Country of Origin: Ancient Sumer (modern day southern Iraq)
[ Writing System: pre-Cuneiform (Uruk III) archaic Sumerian

10 Oldest Known Names in the World - Oldest.org (10)photo source: cdli.ucla.edu

While there is some debate on who is the oldest named person on record, for the most part, many researchers agree that Kushim is the oldest known name in the world, dating back to around 3400 to 3000 BCE. Surprisingly, Kushim wasn’t a king or ruler, they were an accountant. All of the tablets baring Kushim’s name appear to be accounting reports for various goods like barley.

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Did You Know?

Kushim’s name is mentioned in 18 tablets, and some researchers initially believed “Kushim” was a job title. However, it’s now widely accepted that Kushim was an individual person.

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FAQs

What are the oldest known names? ›

Kushim is the earliest known example of a named person in writing. The name "Kushim" is found on several Uruk period (c. 3400–3000 BCE) clay tablets used to record transactions of barley. It is uncertain if the name refers to an individual, a generic title of an officeholder, or an institution.

What is the oldest last name in the world? ›

The oldest surname in the world is KATZ (the initials of the two words — Kohen Tsedek). Every Katz is a priest, descending in an unbroken line from Aaron the brother of Moses, 1300 B.C.

Who was the first known person on earth? ›

The First Humans

One of the earliest known humans is Homo habilis, or “handy man,” who lived about 2.4 million to 1.4 million years ago in Eastern and Southern Africa.

What are the oldest last names? ›

The oldest surname known to have been recorded anywhere in Europe, though, was in County Galway, Ireland, in the year 916. It was the name “O Cleirigh” (O'Clery). In England, the Normans introduced surnames after 1066.

How old is the name Adam? ›

by 1630s as "human being, descendant of Adam" the Biblical first man, from Adam + -ite (1). The term was used from 1620s in reference to Christian perfectionist sects or groups that practice nudism (or, as a 1657 poem has it, "Cast off their petticoats and breeches"), recalling the state of Adam before the Fall.

Did Jesus have a last name? ›

We often refer to Jesus as Jesus Christ, and some people assume that Christ is Jesus's last name. But Christ is actually a title, not a last name. So if Christ isn't a last name, what was Jesus's last name? The answer is Jesus didn't have a formal last name or surname like we do today.

What is the #1 last name? ›

The most common surname in the United States is Smith. Actually, the most common surname in just about every English-speaking country is Smith. As you may already suspect, the last name “Smith” refers to the blacksmith trade.

What is the oldest English name? ›

The oldest recorded English name

The oldest English surname on record was actually from East Anglia. Believe it or not, the oldest recorded English name is Hatt. An Anglo-Saxon family with the surname Hatt are mentioned in a Norman transcript, and is identified as a pretty regular name in the county.

Where was the first human on Earth? ›

Humans first evolved in Africa, and much of human evolution occurred on that continent. The fossils of early humans who lived between 6 and 2 million years ago come entirely from Africa. Most scientists currently recognize some 15 to 20 different species of early humans.

What was the first name ever? ›

What was the 1st name ever? While there is some debate on who is the oldest named person on record, for the most part, many researchers agree that Kushim is the oldest known name in the world, dating back to around 3400 to 3000 BCE.

How long have humans been on Earth? ›

The oldest hominins are thought to have appeared as early as 7 million B.C.E. The earliest species of the Homo genus appeared around 2 million to 1.5 million B.C.E. Current evidence supports modern Homo sapiens appearing around 190,000 B.C.E.

What is the oldest bloodline in the world? ›

Scientists have compiled the world's oldest family tree from human bones interred at a 5,700-year-old tomb in the Cotswolds, UK. Analysis of DNA from the tomb's occupants revealed the people buried there were from five continuous generations of one extended family.

What is the richest last name? ›

The top 10 richest families in 2022 by estimated wealth are:
  • The Walton family with $224.5 billion.
  • The Mars family with $160 billion.
  • The Koch family with $128.8 billion.
  • The Al Saud family with $105 billion.
  • The Hermès family with $94.6 billion.
  • The Ambani family with $84.6 billion.
  • The Wertheimer family with $79 billion.

What is the #1 name? ›

Top Names Over the Last 100 Years
MalesFemales
RankNameName
1JamesMary
2RobertPatricia
3JohnJennifer
86 more rows

What is the #1 female name? ›

Top 5 Names in Each of the Last 100 Years
Females
YearRank 1Rank 5
2020OliviaSophia
2019OliviaIsabella
2018EmmaSophia
38 more rows

What language did Adam speak? ›

Traditional Jewish exegesis such as Midrash says that Adam spoke the Hebrew language because the names he gives Eve – Isha and Chava – only make sense in Hebrew.

Is Adam a Mexican name? ›

Adán and Adão are the Spanish and Portuguese forms, respectively. Adam is also a surname in many countries, although it is not as common in English as its derivative Adams (sometimes spelled Addams).
...
Adam (given name)
GenderMale
Language(s)Hebrew, Aramaic, Akkadian, Arabic
Origin
Meaning"earth" or "soil"
Other names
3 more rows

Why is God called Adam? ›

than Genesis 1:1–2:4, God is pictured as shaping a man from the soil of the ground. Adam's name probably comes from the Hebrew word adamah, which means “earth.” God “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life” (Genesis 2:7), but God did not simply breathe air into the man; God shared divine life with him.

What does 777 mean in the Bible? ›

Christianity. According to the American publication, the Orthodox Study Bible, 777 represents the threefold perfection of the Trinity.

What is Jesus actual full name? ›

Jesus' name in Hebrew was “Yeshua” which translates to English as Joshua. So how did we get the name “Jesus”? And is “Christ” a last name? Watch the episode to find out!

How tall was Jesus? ›

He may have stood about 5-ft.-5-in. (166 cm) tall, the average man's height at the time.

What's Santa's last name? ›

Contents. Santa Claus—otherwise known as Saint Nicholas or Kris Kringle—has a long history steeped in Christmas traditions.

What is the most last name in USA? ›

A study published by ancestry.com found that Smith was by far the most common surname in the United States, followed by Johnson, Miller, Jones, Williams, and Anderson. However there is huge variation in the most frequent last names in different states.

What is the Old English word for name? ›

From Middle English namen, from Old English namian (“to name, mention”) and ġenamian (“to name, call, appoint”), from Proto-West Germanic *namōn (“to name”). Compare also Old English nemnan, nemnian (“to name, give a name to a person or thing”).

Who is the oldest English family? ›

List of British royal family members by lifespan
RankNameDuration
(years, days)
1Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester102 years, 309 days
2Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother101 years, 238 days
3Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh99 years, 303 days
25 more rows

What were old 1700 boy names? ›

Of course, the most common boy name during colonial times was John, closely followed by other very classic boy names such as William and Henry. Along with John and William, other 18th century names for boys in the US Top 200 today include Abraham, Alexander, Christopher, Elias, Isaac, Jacob, Levi, and Nathaniel.

What color was the first human? ›

From about 1.2 million years ago to less than 100,000 years ago, archaic humans, including archaic Homo sapiens, were dark-skinned.

Are Adam and Eve real? ›

Regarding the real existence of the progenitors – as of other narratives contained in Genesis – the Catholic Church teaches that Adam and Eve were historical humans, personally responsible for the original sin.

Was the first human black? ›

Answer and Explanation: Yes, the first humans were almost certainly black. The human species evolved in East Africa about 200,000 years ago. Black skin was necessary for survival in this hot and sunny climate.

Does God have a first name? ›

The Old Testament reveals YHWH (often vocalized with vowels as "Yahweh" or "Jehovah") as the personal name of God, along with certain titles including El Elyon and El Shaddai.

What was first human name? ›

Overview. Homo sapiens, the first modern humans, evolved from their early hominid predecessors between 200,000 and 300,000 years ago.

When did humans get last names? ›

Family names came into use in the later Middle Ages (beginning roughly in the 11th century); the process was completed by the end of the 16th century.

How long ago was Adam and Eve? ›

They used these variations to create a more reliable molecular clock and found that Adam lived between 120,000 and 156,000 years ago. A comparable analysis of the same men's mtDNA sequences suggested that Eve lived between 99,000 and 148,000 years ago1.

How long will humans last? ›

Table source: Future of Humanity Institute, 2008. There have been a number of other estimates of existential risk, extinction risk, or a global collapse of civilization: Humanity has a 95% probability of being extinct in 7,800,000 years, according to J.

Did dinosaurs exist at the same time as humans? ›

No! After the dinosaurs died out, nearly 65 million years passed before people appeared on Earth. However, small mammals (including shrew-sized primates) were alive at the time of the dinosaurs.

Who has the oldest royal bloodline? ›

The Danish monarchy has existed for more than 1000 years and is among the oldest royal houses in the world. Read more about the successive monarchs in Denmark all the way from Gorm the Old to the present sovereign, HM Queen Margrethe II.

Who has the oldest royal families in the world? ›

Japan, considered a constitutional monarchy under the Imperial House of Japan, is traditionally said to have originated with the mythical Emperor Jimmu. The first verifiable historiographical evidence begins with Emperor Kinmei in the 6th century. It is the oldest continuous hereditary monarchy in the world.

Which country has the oldest DNA? ›

Scientists discovered the oldest known DNA and used it to reveal what life was like 2 million years ago in the northern tip of Greenland. Today, it's a barren Arctic desert, but back then it was a lush landscape of trees and vegetation with an array of animals, even the now extinct mastodon.

Can last names go extinct? ›

When two people marry, one of them often takes on their partner's last name, which means their original last name disappears. This way, a surname may be wiped out completely once its last bearer dies without passing it on.

What city name is used the most? ›

Postal Service data
CitiesPost offices
1 Franklin (31)1 Clinton (26)
2 Clinton, Washington (29 each)2 Madison (25)
3 Arlington (28)3 Franklin, Washington (24 each)

What is the most common full name in America? ›

If you look up when someone says “James Smith,” you've got plenty of company. That's the most popular first and last name combination in the United States, according to a study conducted last year by a retired university professor.

Who is the richest family in US history? ›

Mars Inc. Cargill Inc. The richest family in the U.S. is the Waltons, founders of Walmart. Their net worth adds to an approximate $247 billion, making them also the richest family in the world.

Who is the richest family alive? ›

The 10 Richest Families in the World
  1. Walton Family. Company: Walmart. ...
  2. Mars Family. Company: Mars. ...
  3. Koch Family. Company: Koch Industries. ...
  4. Al Saud Family. Company: Saudi Royal Family. ...
  5. Hermes Family. Company: Hermes. ...
  6. Ambani Family. Company: Reliance Industries. ...
  7. Wertheimer Family. Company: Chanel. ...
  8. Cargill, MacMillan Family.
Jan 17, 2023

What is the 1st common name in the world? ›

Most Popular First Names In The World
RankForenameFrequency
1Maria1:119
2Nushi1:130
3Mohammed1:160
4Jose1:243
120 more rows

What is the most common first name of all time? ›

Top Names Over the Last 100 Years
MalesFemales
RankNameName
1JamesMary
2RobertPatricia
3JohnJennifer
86 more rows

What names were popular 100 years ago? ›

You'll love these popular names from 100 years ago
  • Elsie.
  • Gertrude.
  • Constance.
  • Doris.
  • Dorothy.
  • Florence.
  • Edith.
  • Winifred.

What are the oldest names in America? ›

100 oldest known Americans
RankNameAge
1Sarah Knauss119 years, 97 days
2Susannah Mushatt Jones116 years, 311 days
3Gertrude Weaver116 years, 276 days
4Elizabeth Bolden116 years, 118 days
55 more rows

What is the least popular name? ›

For girls' names, Angela, Kimberley Alexa and Nicole ranked as some of the least popular. Likewise, Ashley, Sophia, Lorraine, Kristen and Suzanne also made it onto the list as the least-desired names.
...
Most unpopular boys names for 2022:
  • Jeffrey.
  • Nigel.
  • Ashton.
  • Graham.
  • Stuart.
  • Chad.
  • Gary.
  • Bill.
Aug 15, 2022

What is a rare girl name? ›

Rare Girl Names That Are Simply Stunning
AnsleyHermitage fieldEnglish
AyitaDanceAfrican
AzariahHelped by GodHebrew
AzuraSky blueSpanish
BasmaSmileArabic
10 more rows

What is a very American last name? ›

Smith is the most common last name in the United States, followed by Johnson, Miller, Jones, Williams, and Anderson, according to genealogy company Ancestry.com.

What is a cool name for a boy? ›

200 Coolest Baby Boy Names
  • Aiden.
  • Ethan.
  • Jameson.
  • Wyatt.
  • Jake.
  • Grayson.
  • Thor.
  • Jackson.

What are 1000 year names? ›

A millennium (plural millennia or millenniums) is a period of one thousand years, sometimes called a kiloannum (ka), or kiloyear (ky).

What was the most popular name in 1800? ›

Top names of the 1880s
MalesFemales
RankNameName
1JohnMary
2WilliamAnna
3JamesEmma
87 more rows

What was the most popular name in the 1700s? ›

John and Mary were the Number 1 baby names in the 1700s....and in the 1800s and much of the 1900s too. Other top 1700s girl names include Sarah, Jane, Martha, Alice, and Susan. Top 1700s boy names include Thomas, James, Joseph, and Henry.

What was America's first name? ›

The newly formed union was first known as the "United Colonies", and the earliest known usage of the modern full name dates from a January 2, 1776 letter written between two military officers.

What old names are still used? ›

Along with Emma and Henry, other vintage baby names in the US Top 500 include Abraham, Arthur, Edith, Frederick, Josephine, Olive, Philip, Rosemary, and Walter. Other old-fashioned names that are up-and-coming include Amos, Ida, Lucinda, and Ralph.

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