Old money last names are associated with wealth and influence. Old money last names frequently have fascinating histories going back generations. We’ve gathered the best of these names for your review.
What are Old Money Last Names?
Old money last names are often tied to post-Industrial Age entrepreneurs, politicians, and socialites. These are families who rose to power without ties to historic aristocratic or noble families. Yet, through grit and ambition, they became contenders for some of the most prestigious leadership positions in the political and business worlds. America is seen as the land of opportunity for immigrants, and many of these old money last names came from the old world with their ambitious holders.
Old money last names give an immediate impression: many of the families with these names have had major impacts on American history, and, in many cases, are still active in finance, charity work, and politics. They are unique because of the legacies they carry and the associations that survive long after the people who turned these surnames into names associated with wealth. On this page, we’ve gathered some of the most prominent, unique, and monied of these names.
Top 100 Old Money Last Names
Here you will find a list of the most recognizable last names associated with old money. These last names have the greatest impressions and represent the most influential families.
- Du Pont
- de Trafford
Unique Old Money Last Names
The old money surnames on this list are unique because of their rarity, history, or origin. They are perfect for characters who have come from old money.
Rich Last Names
Not every rich person was handed down money. Many of the rich last names we hear today are a product of their own, self-generated wealth. These rich last names are associated with money, ambition, and luxury brands.
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Famous People with Old Money Last Names
John D. Rockefeller, born in New York in 1839, worked his way up to establish his oil production and refining company in 1870. He is considered to have been the wealthiest American in history. The last name Rockefeller was originally from the German, ‘Rockenfeller’, which meant that a person was from Rockenfeld.
Cornelius Vanderbilt was born in New York in 1790. He built trade routes over sea via steamboats, and over land via railroads. He becomes one of America’s most influential people and the founder of Vanderbilt University. Vanderbilt is a Dutch geographical name for those who live on a low hill.
Mayer Amschel Rothschild was born in Frankfurt in 1744. He got his start in banking working as an apprentice. His fame as a banker grew as he began working with royalty. The surname Rothschild means ‘red coat’ in Yiddish, a language spoken largely by Ashkenazi Jews.
Jean Paul Getty was born in Minnesota in 1892. His family moved to Oklahoma and purchased the land where his parents could set up oil wells. They became millionaires from this investment. Getty used this start to establish the Getty Oil Company. There is some mystery around the meaning of the Scottish surname, Getty, but it could mean ‘pike’.
Andrew Mellon was born in Pennsylvania in 1855. He started working at the family bank in his youth and made several wise investments that added to his family’s wealth before he shifted his ambitions to politics, serving as the US Secretary of the Treasury. This family name Mellon comes from Ireland and means ‘small pleasant one’.