What Are Some Common Slovakian Last Names?

According to the University of Pittsburgh’s Slovak Studies Program, the most popular Slovakian last names are Horvath, Kovac, Varga, Toth, Nagy, Balaz, Szabo, Molnar, Balog and Lukac.

According to the surname history provided by the department, it was common for people of slavic descent to adopt names that described what they did. Most Slovakian surnames, therefore, literally translate into some type of trade or profession. Kovac, for instance, means “blacksmith.” Varga translates to “leather worker.”

A few different periods in history also lead to mass migrations of Hungarians, Slovakians and Croatians into each others’ kingdoms. The rise of the Ottoman Empire in the 16th century, which caused a diaspora of Hungarians to Slovakian territory, was one such period. Because of this, the languages and spellings of Hungarian, Slovakian, and Croatian last names have become heavily entwined and borrow frequently from each other.

It is also not uncommon for a last name to indicate a family’s origin. Horvath, the most popular Slovakian surname, means “Croat” as in Croatian. Toth, the fourth most popular Slovakian surname, quite literally means “Slovak.” Not represented in the list of most popular Slovakian surnames, however, are those of the ethnic Romani, which represent about 7.5 percent of the population. The Romani are best known in the United States as “gypsies.” The three most popular Romani last names are Bandi, Berky and Bihari.