Explore the Family Name Alston

The meaning of Alston

English and Scottish: 1. from the Middle English personal name Alstan, which is a coalescence of several different Old English personal names: Æthelstān ‘noble stone’, Ælfstān ‘elf stone’, Ealdstān ‘old stone’, or Ealhstān ‘temple stone’. 2. habitational name from any of various places called Alston (in Cumbria, Lancashire, Devon, and Somerset) or Alstone (in Gloucestershire and Staffordshire). With the exception of Alston in Cumbria, which is formed with the Old Norse personal name Halfdan, these placenames all consist of an Old English personal name + Old English tūn ‘settlement’, for example Ælfsige in the case of Alstone in Gloucestershire. History: In 1682 John Alston of Hammersmith, Middlesex, England, began a seven-year apprenticeship to James Jones, merchant, of Charleston, SC. He had many prominent descendants, among whom the name is often spelled Allston.

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

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

According to the Decennial U.S. Census data, the popularity of the surname Alston has remained fairly stable from 2000 to 2010. In the year 2000, Alston was ranked as the 1,140th most popular surname, and by 2010 it moved slightly to the 1,148th position, a minor decrease of 0.7%. However, the count or the number of people carrying the Alston surname increased from 28,089 in 2000 to 30,693 in 2010, showing a growth of 9.27%. The proportion per 100,000 people remained unchanged at 10.41.

Proportion per 100k10.4110.410%

Race and Ethnicity of people with the last name Alston

The ethnic identity associated with the Alston surname also experienced some shifts over this decade according to the Decennial U.S. Census data. In terms of ethnicity, the percentage of Alstons identifying as Black decreased slightly from 81.41% in 2000 to 79.83% in 2010. Those identifying as White also saw a decline from 14.54% to 13.76%. However, there were increases among those identifying as two or more races (up from 1.99% to 3.28%) and Hispanic (rising from 1.45% to 2.51%). The percentage of Alstons identifying as Asian/Pacific Islander experienced a small decrease, while those identifying as American Indian and Alaskan Native showed a slight increase.

Two or More Races1.99%3.28%64.82%
American Indian and Alaskan Native0.37%0.4%8.11%
Asian/Pacific Islander0.24%0.22%-8.33%

Alston 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 Alston is British & Irish, which comprises 32.4% of all ancestry found in people with the surname. The next two most common ancestries are Nigerian (21.2%) and Ghanaian, Liberian & Sierra Leonean (12.6%). Additional ancestries include French & German, Angolan & Congolese, Senegambian & Guinean, Spanish & Portuguese, and Italian.

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British & Irish32.4%
Ghanaian, Liberian & Sierra Leonean12.6%

Possible origins of the surname Alston

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 Alston have recent ancestry locations all within United Kingdom.

RECENT ANCESTRY LocationPercentage
Greater London, United Kingdom53.50%
Greater Manchester, United Kingdom53.20%
Merseyside, United Kingdom52.00%
West Midlands, United Kingdom52.00%
West Yorkshire, United Kingdom50.90%

What Alston 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 Alston is E-P252, which is predominantly found among people with Sub-Saharan African ancestry. Haplogroup E-P252 is descended from haplogroup E-M96. Other common haplogroups include I-Z140 and E-U290, which are predominantly found among people with European and Sub-Saharan African ancestry. Other surnames with similar common haplogroups are: Washington, Jefferson, Pierre, Muhammad, Charles, Jackson, Booker, Mccray, Banks, Rivers.

The most common maternal haplogroups of people with Alston surname are: H1, H, L2a1. These most commonly trace back to individuals of European and Sub-Saharan African ancestry.

alstonPaternal Haplogroup Origins E-M96
Paternal Haplo Image

Your paternal lineage may be linked to Ramesses III

Pharaoh Ramesses III defended Egypt in three consecutive wars during his approximately 30-year reign, but provoked dissent within his administration. Catalyzed by mounting internal strife, one of Ramesses's lesser wives, Tiye, hatched a plot to have her son, Pentawer, usurp the throne by having Ramesses III murdered along with his appointed heir. A papyrus record of the resulting trial explains that the plot failed and that all involved were tried and convicted.However, a modern CT scan of Ramesses III's mummy revealed a deep slit in his throat, reopening a case long thought closed. The embalmers went to great lengths to cover up other wounds, including fashioning a fake toe out of resin where Ramesses's real one had been hacked off, likely during a fatal attack. For thousands of years, Ramesses's burial adornments concealed the wounds that mark one of the most famous royal dramas in history. Ramesses III's paternal lineage belongs to haplogroup E-V38.

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 Alston 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.

"Alston" Surname 36.0%

23andMe Users 41.3%




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

"Alston" Surname 22.8%

23andMe Users 27.9%



Sugary Drink

Drinks one or more sugary drinks per day.

"Alston" Surname 27.7%

23andMe Users 21.1%




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

"Alston" Surname 15.2%

23andMe Users 16.4%

Are health conditions linked to the last name Alston?

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 Alston 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%