Explore the Family Name Arthur

The meaning of Arthur

1. Scottish, Irish, English, German, and French: from the ancient Celtic personal name Arthur. The origin of the name is disputed, but it may be derived from the Latin name Artorius, or it may derive from an old Celtic word meaning ‘bear’ (compare Gaelic art, Welsh arth, both of which mean ‘bear’). It has been in regular use as a personal name in Britain since the early Middle Ages, owing its popularity in large part to the legendary exploits of King Arthur, which gave rise to a prolific literature in Welsh, French, English, German, and other languages. In many cases this is a shortened form of Scottish or Irish McArthur, the patronymic Mac- often being dropped in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries under English influence. 2. West African (Ghana): Anglicized form of the Akan (Fante) name Atta. History: President Chester Alan Arthur (1830–86) was the son of a VT Baptist preacher, William Arthur (1797–1875), who emigrated from Ballymena in northern Ireland c.1815.

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

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

Based on the Decennial U.S. Census, the popularity of the surname 'Arthur' has seen a slight decline from 2000 to 2010. In 2000, it was ranked 1172 in terms of popularity and had a count of 27,383. However, by 2010, the rank had decreased by 6.4% to 1247, although the count increased slightly by 2.63% to 28,102. The proportion per 100,000 also declined by 6.11% from 10.15 to 9.53.

Proportion per 100k10.159.53-6.11%

Race and Ethnicity of people with the last name Arthur

The ethnicity associated with the surname 'Arthur' has seen some significant changes over the same decade, according to the Decennial U.S. Census data. While the number of individuals identifying as White decreased by 4.46% from 80.21% to 76.63%, those identifying as Black saw an increase of 12.54% from 14.03% to 15.79%. There were also notable increases in other ethnic identities. Hispanic identity rose by 56.67% from 1.50% to 2.35%, Asian/Pacific Islander by 55.22% from 0.67% to 1.04%, American Indian and Alaskan Native by 25.53% from 1.88% to 2.36%, and individuals reporting two or more races increased by 8.24% from 1.70% to 1.84%.

American Indian and Alaskan Native1.88%2.36%25.53%
Two or More Races1.7%1.84%8.24%
Asian/Pacific Islander0.67%1.04%55.22%

Arthur 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 Arthur is British & Irish, which comprises 53.2% of all ancestry found in people with the surname. The next two most common ancestries are French & German (22.8%) and Eastern European (3.9%). Additional ancestries include Scandinavian, Italian, Nigerian, Ashkenazi Jewish, and Spanish & Portuguese.

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British & Irish53.2%
French & German22.8%
Eastern European3.9%

Possible origins of the surname Arthur

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 Arthur have recent ancestry locations in United Kingdom and Ireland.

RECENT ANCESTRY LocationPercentage
Greater London, United Kingdom84.50%
Glasgow City, United Kingdom84.40%
Merseyside, United Kingdom84.40%
Greater Manchester, United Kingdom84.40%
Tyne And Wear, United Kingdom83.90%

What Arthur 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 Arthur is I-Z58, which is predominantly found among people with European ancestry. Haplogroup I-Z58 is descended from haplogroup I-M170. Other common haplogroups include R-CTS241 and R-L21, which are predominantly found among people with European and European ancestry. Other surnames with similar common haplogroups are: Norman, Stevenson, Lowe, Vincent, Stephenson, Jarvis, Reed, White, Marsh, Fox.

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

arthurPaternal Haplogroup Origins I-M170
Paternal Haplo Image

Your paternal lineage may be linked to Alexander Hamilton

Early in the morning on July 11, 1804, Aaron Burr (then Vice President of the United States) and Alexander Hamilton (founder of the U.S. Treasury) dueled on the New Jersey side of the Hudson River. This marked the culmination of a bitter personal and political rivalry between the two men. Alexander Hamilton died as a result of the duel, but his intellectual legacy survives in the founding documents of the nation he helped build. A piece of his genetic legacy survives as well: in the 21st century, genealogists documented the paternal haplogroups of dozens of Hamilton's living descendants and concluded that the Founding Father's paternal haplogroup was a branch of I-DF29.

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 Arthur 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.

"Arthur" Surname 46.6%

23andMe Users 41.3%




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

"Arthur" Surname 23.3%

23andMe Users 27.9%



Sugary Drink

Drinks one or more sugary drinks per day.

"Arthur" Surname 26.0%

23andMe Users 21.1%




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

"Arthur" Surname 16.5%

23andMe Users 16.4%

Are health conditions linked to the last name Arthur?

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 Arthur 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%