1. Introduction
  2. Some rambling thoughts
  3. A stratigraphy of Maltese surnames
  4. Hull’s theory of a Girgenti colony
  5. Early census taking and surname rankings
  6. Census 2005 and the commonest surnames in Malta
  7. The pantheon of Maltese surnames
  8. Surname frequencies by location
  9. A snapshot of Gozo
  10. The ‘Australian’ parallel sample
  11. Cognates and doublets
  12. Multiple surnames
  13. Extinct surnames

Surname frequencies by location

The Census of 2005 also supplied a very helpful account of the five commonest surnames in each Maltese locality.

Locality

1st

2nd

3rd

4th

5th

Attard

Borg

Camilleri

Farrugia

Vella

Micallef

Balzan

Borg

Camilleri

Vella

Micallef

Mifsud

Birgu

Farrugia

Grech

Mifsud

Attard

Galea

Birkirkara

Borg

Camilleri

Zammit

Micallef

Vella

Birżebbuġa

Farrugia

Camilleri

Schembri

Vella

Zammit

Bormla

Farrugia

Vella

Grech

Cassar

Borg

Dingli

Micallef

Farrugia

Galea

Abela

Azzopardi

Fgura

Farrugia

Camilleri

Borg

Cassar

Galea

Floriana

Micallef

Borg

Camilleri

Vella

Agius

Fontana

Attard

Borg

Grech

Galea

Mizzi

Gudja

Farrugia

Dalli

Zammit

Caruana

Spiteri

Gżira

Borg

Camilleri

Micallef

Zammit

Farrugia

Għajnsielem

Xuereb

Grech

Azzopardi

Buttigieg

Grima

Għarb

Cassar

Cauchi

Vella

Micallef

Portelli

Għargħur

Aquilina

Camilleri

Bezzina

Borg

Fenech

Għasri

Mintoff

Zammit

Saliba

Mizzi

Farrugia

Għaxaq

Abela

Caruana

Farrugia

Spiteri

Agius

Ħamrun

Borg

Camilleri

Zammit

Farrugia

Spiteri

Iklin

Borg

Micallef

Grech

Camilleri

Galea

Isla

Caruana

Vella

Cassar

Abela

Farrugia

Kalkara

Cassar

Grech

Farrugia

Vella

Camilleri

Kerċem

Grech

Vella

Spiteri

Mercieca

Formosa

Kirkop

Farrugia

Zammit

Cassar

Sacco

Grech

Lija

Borg

Zammit

Camilleri

Fenech

Sammut

Luqa

Camilleri

Spiteri

Farrugia

Zammit

Vella

Marsa

Camilleri

Zammit

Spiteri

Grech

Attard

Marsaskala

Cassar

Camilleri

Farrugia

Borg

Vella

Marsaxlokk

Bugeja

Caruana

Carabott

Grech

Cassar

Mdina

Attard

Micallef

Manduca

Bugeja

Galea

Mellieħa

Vella

Borg

Gauci

Fenech

Bartolo

Mġarr

Vella

Muscat

Camilleri

Galea

Vassallo

Mosta

Camilleri

Vella

Borg

Galea

Muscat

Mqabba

Farrugia

Zammit

Camilleri

Mifsud

Grech

Msida

Borg

Micallef

Farrugia

Galea

Zammit

Mtarfa

Borg

Galea

Camilleri

Azzopardi

Micallef

Munxar

Debrincat

Vella

Bajada

Said

Curmi

Naxxar

Camilleri

Vella

Borg

Galea

Grech

Nadur

Camilleri

Portelli

Muscat

Said

Buttigieg

Pembroke

Zammit

Borg

Vella

Camilleri

Grech

Pietà

Borg

Vella

Mifsud

Grech

Micallef

Qala

Buttigieg

Portelli

Camilleri

Xerri

Vella

Qormi

Borg

Zammit

Camilleri

Farrugia

Vella

Qrendi

Farrugia

Magro

Camilleri

Azzopardi

Spiteri

Rabat (G)

Grech

Vella

Attard

Farrugia

Camilleri

Rabat (M)

Micallef

Galea

Azzopardi

Borg

Camilleri

Raħal Ġdid

Vella

Cassar

Farrugia

Zammit

Camilleri

Safi

Zammit

Busuttil

Farrugia

Abdilla

Camilleri

San Ġiljan

Borg

Camilleri

Galea

Vella

Micallef

San Ġwann

Borg

Micallef

Vella

Zammit

Grech

S. Lawrenz

Grima

Cauchi

Formosa

Cassar

Attard/

Micallef

San Pawl il-Baħar

Vella

Camilleri

Borg

Micallef

Gauci

Sannat

Muscat

Vella

Spiteri

Buttigieg

Curmi

Santa Luċija

Farrugia

Camilleri

Galea

Borg

Schembri

Santa Venera

Zammit

Borg

Farrugia

Vella

Spiteri

Siġġiewi

Farrugia

Borg

Vella

Camilleri

Bonello

Sliema

Camilleri

Borg

Vella

Micallef

Zammit

Swieqi

Borg

Camilleri

Farrugia

Vella

Zammit

Ta’ Xbiex

Zammit

Borg

Camilleri

Mifsud

Cassar

Tarxien

Zammit

Farrugia

Cassar

Caruana

Grech

Valletta

Borg

Zammit

Camilleri

Farrugia

Micallef

Xagħra

Sultana

Attard

Galea

Mercieca

Bajada

Xewkija

Vella

Attard

Azzopardi

Spiteri

Xuereb

Xgħajra

Borg

Micallef

Vella

Camilleri

Mifsud

Żabbar

Camilleri

Vella

Grech

Farrugia

Cassar

Żebbug (G)

Cini

Saliba

Vella

Zammit

Camilleri

Żebbug (M)

Borg

Farrugia

Camilleri

Attard

Agius

Żejtun

Abela

Spiteri

Caruana

Camilleri

Cassar

Żurrieq

Farrugia

Camilleri

Schembri

Zammit

Caruana

The top-five surnames in Malta are the same top-five surnames in the Maltese islands, exactly in the same order, meaning that the Gozo count did not influence the ranking order. The only two localities whose top-five surnames reflect the national pattern are Qormi and Swieqi, albeit following a different hierarchy.

One can attempt some surname sharing patterns. However, it is superfluous to suggest that Birkirkara, Balzan and Attard share Borg, Camilleri, Vella, and Micallef among their respective top-five as these are pan-Maltese family names. For example Farrugia, Camilleri, and Zammit occur in the top-five lists of Żurrieq, Mqabba, Kirkop, Safi, and Luqa, but again these are national constants. The strong showings of Abela at Żejtun and Gudja, of Azzopardi at Rabat and Dingli, and of Gauci at Mellieħa and St Paul’s Bay are more interesting. So is the linking up of Luqa, Gudja, and Għaxaq via Spiteri; and of Birgu, Cospicua, and Kalkara via Grech. Naxxar and Mosta are thoroughly interrelated as their four commonest surnames are not only common denominators but also share the same ranking order (Camilleri, Vella, Borg, and Galea).

The top-five rankings in some localities do not include a single surname in the national top-five hierarchy. These are Marsaxlokk and Mdina in Malta; Għajnsielem, Xagħra, and San Lawrenz in Gozo. The Gozo lists, in general, are more idiosyncratic. This is reflected in the preponderance of Xuereb at Għajnsielem, Mintoff at Għasri, Debrincat at Munxar, Buttigieg at Qala, Sultana at Xagħra, Cini at Żebbuġ, and Grima at San Lawrenz. These are all very small and relatively confined villages. One typical Gozitan surname seems to be Rapa, but is not frequent in sufficient numbers to make any of the top-five lists.

However, one can also notice some peculiar trends in Malta. These are most obvious in the strong showings of Aquilina at Għargħur, Bugeja at Marsaxlokk, Magro at Qrendi, Dalli at Gudja, and Busuttil at Safi. Other less marked, but equally clear concentrations are manifest in the cases of Carabott at Marsaxlokk, Sacco at Kirkop, Bezzina at Għargħur, Abdilla at Safi, and Manduca at Mdina. Penza is an overwhelmingly Luqa surname.


  1. Introduction
  2. Some rambling thoughts
  3. A stratigraphy of Maltese surnames
  4. Hull’s theory of a Girgenti colony
  5. Early census taking and surname rankings
  6. Census 2005 and the commonest surnames in Malta
  7. The pantheon of Maltese surnames
  8. Surname frequencies by location
  9. A snapshot of Gozo
  10. The ‘Australian’ parallel sample
  11. Cognates and doublets
  12. Multiple surnames
  13. Extinct surnames
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