509,283 Carter members around the world
Family spelling variants includes Carters
Stay informed about Carter Family online & offline events!
See our recent family gatherings
Carter Family History
This is an old ancient name, thought to be originally derived from the Celtic word "cairt" meaning "cart". It is an occupational surname for a transporter of goods, with an elaborate history and derivation. There are four sources for the word, from the Latin "carettarius", from "carrum"; from the Old Norman French "caretier", surviving in modern French surnames such as "cartier", from the Middle English (cart(e)", derived from the Old Norse "kartr" or the Olde English "craet" and finally from the Olde French "charetier", charioteer. All four of these sources have been merged to form the modern English surnames Carter and Charter...
Carter (Variants: Carters) Another alternative origins of this surname are ‘guard’ which is derived from the Old English word Caretarius or Carda. In Gaelic, although Carter relative to ‘cairt’, it also relates to Cairtear, a tourist, a sojourner. A Irish reduced form of McCarter.
The earliest reference recorded in relation to Carter appears in the Latinised form, as Fulco Carettarius in the 1177 Pipe Rolls for Cambridgeshire.
Perhaps the world’s most sublime archaeological find was exposed by Howard Carter (1873 – 1939), a British archaeologist who was originally hired as an artist in Egypt and later went to discover King Tutankhamen’s tomb on 26 November 1922.
Howard Carter had connections with British politician Sir Philip Sassoon, who commissioned Port Lympne - an Edwardian house that overlooks the English Channel in Hythe, Kent. After Sassoon’s death, the mansion was rarely occupied until the late John Aspinall bought the grounds in 1973 to house rare and endangered species of animals and still remains open to the public.
In 1881 Census, there were a popular 2,086 bearers of the surname in Kent. Agricultural Labourer was the most common occupation in the UK, followed by Labourer and Farmer with a less common appearance as Coal Miner. In 1891, the frequency in the England and Wales was 50,594 with fewer residing in Scotland, particularly the Lanarkshire County.
1881, 1891 Census
1881 Census in Kent
Dictionary of American Family Homes, P Hanks OUP 2003 Homes of Family Names in Great Britain, H.B. Guppy, London
1890 The Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain and Ireland, P.Hanks, Coats, McClure OUP 2016
1860 Lower, Mark A Patronymica Britannica: a dictionary of the family names of the United Kingdom, London: J.R Smith. Public Domain
1857 Arthur, William An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names. New York: Sheldon, Blakeman. Public Domain
Who have we missed?
Tell us about any famous Carter (or surname variant) you think we should add here. We will get our genealogists to check them out and add them to the list. Thanks!
Join the conversation with the Carter tribe
- Find your Carter ancestor
- Tell us about your Carter Family
- Tell us about your Carter ancestors
- Ask a question about the Carter history
- Leave a message for Carter family members
Invite more Carter family members!
Write an email address and click 'Invite' to share this page with more members of the Carter tribe.
Family Coat of Arms Generator
Why not see what your family crest could look like based on your own family characteristics?Create Crest