Explore the Family Name Adams

The meaning of Adams

1. English, Dutch, and German (mainly northwestern Germany): patronymic from the personal name Adam. In North America, this surname has absorbed cognates from other languages, e.g. Greek Adamopoulos, Serbian and Croatian Adamović (see Adamovich), Polish (and Jewish) Adamski. 2. Irish and Scottish: adopted for McAdam or a Scottish variant of Adam, with excrescent -s. History: This surname was borne by two early presidents of the US, father and son. They were descended from Henry Adams, who settled in Braintree, MA, in 1635/6, from Barton St. David, Somerset, England. The younger of them, John Quincy Adams (1767–1848) derived his middle name from his maternal grandmother’s surname (see Quincy). — Another important New England family, established mainly in NH, is descended from William Adams, who emigrated from Shropshire, England, to Dedham, MA, in 1628. James Hopkins Adams (1812–61), governor of SC, was unconnected with either of these families, his ancestry being Welsh; his forebears entered North America through PA.

Dictionary of American Family Names, 2nd edition, © Oxford University Press, 2022.

How common is the last name Adams in the United States?

Based on the Decennial U.S. Census data, the popularity of the surname "Adams" saw a slight change between 2000 and 2010. In terms of rank, it dropped slightly from the 39th position to the 42nd, representing a 7.69% decrease. However, in terms of count, there was a 3.58% increase, meaning that more people bore the Adams surname in 2010 than in 2000. This increased the total count from 413,086 to 427,865. The proportion per 100k also saw a decrease by 5.28%, moving from 153.13 to 145.05.

Proportion per 100k153.13145.05-5.28%

Race and Ethnicity of people with the last name Adams

The ethnicity associated with the surname "Adams" according to the Decennial U.S. Census data shows some interesting trends. The largest ethnic identity group for this surname is White, comprising 76.17% in 2000 and 74.02% in 2010, indicating a slight decrease of 2.82%. The Black ethnicity group makes up the next significant portion at 19.20% in 2000, increasing to 19.90% in 2010. Hispanic representation also saw an increase of 46.02%, jumping from 1.76% to 2.57%. Smaller changes were observed among the Asian/Pacific Islander group and those identifying as two or more races, with increases of 24.44% and 32.52% respectively. The American Indian and Alaskan Native category remained unchanged at 0.79%.

Two or More Races1.63%2.16%32.52%
American Indian and Alaskan Native0.79%0.79%0%
Asian/Pacific Islander0.45%0.56%24.44%

Adams ancestry composition

23andMe computes an ancestry breakdown for each customer. People may have ancestry from just one population or they may have ancestry from several populations. The most commonly-observed ancestry found in people with the surname Adams is British & Irish, which comprises 51.8% of all ancestry found in people with the surname. The next two most common ancestries are French & German (23.6%) and Eastern European (4.5%). Additional ancestries include Scandinavian, Italian, Nigerian, Spanish & Portuguese, and Ghanaian, Liberian & Sierra Leonean.

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British & Irish51.8%
French & German23.6%
Eastern European4.5%

Possible origins of the surname Adams

Your DNA provides clues about where your recent ancestors may have lived. Having many distant relatives in the same location suggests that you may all share common ancestry there. Locations with many distant relatives can also be places where people have migrated recently, such as large cities. If a large number of individuals who share your surname have distant relatives in a specific area, it could indicate a connection between your surname and that location, stemming from either recent ancestral ties or migration.

Based on 23andMe data, people with last name Adams have recent ancestry locations in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and Ireland.

RECENT ANCESTRY LocationPercentage
Greater London, United Kingdom85.70%
Greater Manchester, United Kingdom85.50%
Merseyside, United Kingdom85.50%
Glasgow City, United Kingdom85.40%
West Midlands, United Kingdom85.20%

What Adams haplogroups can tell you

Haplogroups are genetic population groups that share a common ancestor on either your paternal or maternal line. These paternal and maternal haplogroups shed light on your genetic ancestry and help tell the story of your family.

The top paternal haplogroup of people with the surname Adams is R-CTS241, which is predominantly found among people with European ancestry. Haplogroup R-CTS241 is descended from haplogroup R-M343. Other common haplogroups include R-Z156 and I-Z58, which are predominantly found among people with European and European ancestry. Other surnames with similar common haplogroups are: Smith, Taylor, White, Green, Brown, Thompson, Walker, Mitchell, Clark, Wilson.

The most common maternal haplogroups of people with Adams surname are: H1, T2b, H. These most commonly trace back to individuals of European ancestry.

adamsPaternal Haplogroup Origins R-M343

Your maternal lineage may be linked to Marie Antoinette

Because it is so dominant in the general European population, haplogroup H also appears quite frequently in the continent's royal houses. Marie Antoinette, an Austrian Hapsburg who married into the French royal family, inherited the haplogroup from her maternal ancestors. So did Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, whose recorded genealogy traces his female line to Bavaria. Scientists also discovered that famed 16th century astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus traced his maternal lineages to haplogroup H.

Maternal Haplo Image

What do people with the surname Adams have in common?

Spoiler alert: it's complicated. People with the same last name are usually no more genetically similar than a randomly sampled group of people from the same population. That said, people with the same surname are more likely to have similar ancestries than randomly sampled individuals. The reason is the tendency of people with similar cultural or geographical backgrounds to preferentially mate with one another. That's why people who share a surname may be more likely to share traits and tendencies in common than people within the general population. Check out the percentages below to see the prevalences of tastes, habits, and traits of people with your surname compared with prevalences among 23andMe users.



Chocolate Ice Cream

Prefers chocolate flavored ice cream over other flavors.

"Adams" Surname 41.8%

23andMe Users 41.3%




When sounds made by others, like the sound of chewing or yawning, provoke strong emotional reactions in an individual.

"Adams" Surname 28.7%

23andMe Users 27.9%



Sugary Drink

Drinks one or more sugary drinks per day.

"Adams" Surname 23.3%

23andMe Users 21.1%




A severe headache characterized by intense pain, sensitivity to light and sound, and often accompanied by nausea and vomiting.

"Adams" Surname 18.7%

23andMe Users 16.4%

Are health conditions linked to the last name Adams?

The short answer is that, if there is an association between surname and health, it's usually more about your ancestry than your name. Individuals with a given surname are no more genetically similar than the general population but often have similar ancestries. The populations of people associated with those shared ancestries often have sets of genetic variations, also known as alleles, in common. Some of those alleles are associated with a greater likelihood of developing certain diseases.

Disease variant frequency by ancestry

Disease allele frequencies in populations associated with the surname Adams are shown below. Important Note: not everyone with a disease allele will develop these health condition

Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Y402H variant

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the most common cause of irreversible vision loss among older adults. The disease results in damage to the central part of the retina (the macula), impairing vision needed for reading, driving, or even recognizing faces. The 23andMe Health + Ancestry DNA test includes the two most common variants associated with an increased risk of developing the condition: the Y402H variant in the CFH gene and the A69S variant in the ARMS2 gene. Learn more about Age-Related Macular Degeneration

British & Irish 62.1%

23andMe Users 57.2%