A surname (or family name) is a portion of an individual's name that is passed down through their family. In Human customs, a surname is often passed down from the father's family, although this practice evolved from many different methods of naming which began in antiquity. Variations of this practice occur in many different races and cultures.

James T. Kirk noted in a 2270s autobiographical text that his name, like that of many in Starfleet, included a last name "Kirk" that was an old-fashioned family surname, which he felt was becoming rare for the so-called "New Humans" outside of Starfleet's membership. (TOS novelization: Star Trek: The Motion Picture)

Kirk's comments that Humans were more and more often abandoning their surnames is not supported in many other canon or licensed Star Trek works. One such individual in canon seemed to be Garth, noted as a Human citizen of Izar. The FASA Corporation RPG sources give Garth a full name, however, as "Kelvar Garth". Mr. Flint seemed to have only a single name, although that name was revealed to be a pseudonym. In particular, Piper was noted to come from a colony where surnames were deemed unnecessary.

Bajoran names traditionally have the family name placed first and the given name last, in contradiction to many other cultures. Ensign Ro Laren informed her senior staff aboard the USS Enterprise-D of this and pointed out that she would not join the ranks of Bajorans who reordered their names to assimilate with Federation culture. (TNG episode: "Ensign Ro")

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