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Origins of the Reed surname

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What does the name Reed mean?

Reed is an English and Scottish surname. It derives from the Middle English word 'reed' or 'rede' (red). It was typically given as a descriptive nickname for somebody who had red hair, or a particularly ruddy complexion, and passed down to their heirs. The 'Reid' variant of this name is more predominantly found in Scotland and the North of England.

Alternative variations of the name Reed

Reed, Reede, Reid, Reyd, Reet, Reide, Read, Reade

I’ve managed to trace back to the mid-1500s! I can’t believe it! Utterly engrossing and I have uncovered some quite moving and heartbreaking stories attached to various ancestors. You don’t need any qualifications to start - just time patience, and some information.

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Where do most Reeds live?

In 1921, most Reeds lived in London.

Census records trace your ancestors through each generation, so you can follow where your relatives lived through each decade.

Interesting facts about Reeds

How common is your surname?

146th most common surname in the UK

We have 231,000 records for the Reed surname. The oldest one dates back to 1538.

Who were Reeds most likely to marry?




Our Marriage record sets tell us which families married Reeds.

What are the most common Reed first names?

  • John
  • William
  • Mary
  • Elizabeth

Our birth record sets tell us the names of Reed family members

Common jobs for Reeds

Men and women often performed different types of jobs, so these are displayed by gender to maintain their historical accuracy.

Common Female occupations for Reeds in 1921




Domestic Servant


General Servant Domestic


House Servant


Common Male occupations for Reeds in 1921
Agricultural Labourer


General Labourer


Coal Miner




Farm Hands


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We found over 710,000 family trees with the Reed surname

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