Last name origins & meanings:

  1. English: nickname for a person with red hair or a ruddy complexion, from Middle English re(a)d ‘red’.
  2. English: topographic name for someone who lived in a clearing, from an unattested Old English rīed, r̄d ‘woodland clearing’.
  3. English: Read in Lancashire, the name of which is a contracted form of Old English rǣghēafod, from rǣge ‘female roe deer’, ‘she-goat’ + hēafod ‘head(land)’; Rede in Suffolk, so called from Old English hrēod ‘reeds’; or Reed in Hertfordshire, so called from an Old English ryhð ‘brushwood’.
  4. English: A family called Read were established in America in the early 18th century by John Read, who was born in Dublin, sixth in descent from Sir Thomas Read of Berkshire, England. His son, George Read (1733–98), was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, and as a lawyer helped frame the Constitution.
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