Explore the Family Name Bach

The meaning of Bach

1. German: topographic name for someone who lived by a stream, Middle High German bach ‘stream’. This surname is also found in some other European countries, most notably in Denmark and France (Alsace and Lorraine), but also in e.g. the Netherlands, Czechia (see also 5 below), and Croatia. 2. Jewish (Ashkenazic): artificial name from German Bach ‘stream, creek’. 3. English: topographic name for someone who lived by a stream, Middle English bach(e), bech(e) ‘stream’ (Old English bæce). 4. Welsh: nickname, a distinguishing epithet from Welsh bach ‘little, small’. 5. Polish, Czech, and Slovak: from the personal name Bach, a pet form of Bartholomaeus (Polish Bartłomiej, Czech Bartoloměj, Slovak Bartolomej; see Bartholomew) or, in some cases, Baltazar or Sebastian. 6. Americanized form of Norwegian Bakk or Bakke. 7. Germanized or Americanized form of Slovenian Bah. 8. Chinese: variant Romanization of the surnames 白 and 柏, possibly based on their Cantonese pronunciation, see Bai 1 and 2. 9. Vietnamese (Bạch): from the Chinese surname 白, see Bai 1. Some characteristic forenames: German Otto, Hans, Kurt, Fritz, Klaus, Horst, Johann, Alfons, Bernhard, Erna, Ernst.

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

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

According to data from the Decennial U.S. Census, the popularity of the surname Bach has seen a slight decrease in rank between 2000 and 2010, moving from 2897th most popular to 2986th. However, the count of individuals bearing this surname actually increased by approximately 5.49%, with 11,375 individuals in 2000 growing to 11,999 in 2010. The proportion per 100,000 people also slightly decreased by 3.55%.

Proportion per 100k4.224.07-3.55%

Race and Ethnicity of people with the last name Bach

In terms of ethnicity, data from the Decennial U.S. Census reveals an increase in the percentage of individuals with the surname Bach identifying as Asian/Pacific Islander, growing from 7.92% to 10.70%. Similarly, there was a small rise in those who identified as belonging to two or more races or as Black. On the other hand, the percentage of individuals identifying as White decreased slightly from 87.16% to 84.82%, and those identifying as Hispanic saw a decrease of 11.88%. The proportion of American Indian and Alaskan Native individuals with the surname Bach experienced the most significant decline, with a drop of 47.50%.

Asian/Pacific Islander7.92%10.7%35.1%
Two or More Races1.21%1.3%7.44%
American Indian and Alaskan Native0.4%0.21%-47.5%

Bach 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 Bach is French & German, which comprises 33.6% of all ancestry found in people with the surname. The next two most common ancestries are British & Irish (29.3%) and Eastern European (8.7%). Additional ancestries include Scandinavian, Ashkenazi Jewish, Vietnamese, Italian, and Spanish & Portuguese.

Ready to learn more about your ancestry? Get the most comprehensive ancestry breakdown on the market by taking our DNA test. Shop 23andMe

French & German33.6%
British & Irish29.3%
Eastern European8.7%

Possible origins of the surname Bach

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 Bach have recent ancestry locations in United Kingdom and Ireland.

RECENT ANCESTRY LocationPercentage
Merseyside, United Kingdom68.30%
Greater London, United Kingdom68.30%
Glasgow City, United Kingdom68.00%
Greater Manchester, United Kingdom68.00%
West Midlands, United Kingdom67.70%

What Bach 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 Bach is E-V13, which is predominantly found among people with European ancestry. Haplogroup E-V13 is descended from haplogroup E-M96. Other common haplogroups include R-M405 and J-L26, which are predominantly found among people with European and European ancestry. Other surnames with similar common haplogroups are: Schmidt, Kaiser, Schulz, Wolf, Mueller, Muller, Wagner, Hoffman, Schultz, Schneider.

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

bachPaternal Haplogroup Origins E-M96
Paternal Haplo Image

Your paternal lineage may be linked to early Balkan migrants

Haplogroup E1b1b1a1b1a migrated in large numbers from the Balkans into Europe about 4,500 years ago, triggered by the beginning of the Balkan Bronze Age. During this migration, members of haplogroup E1b1b1a1b1a mainly followed rivers connecting the southern Balkans to northern-central Europe. Technological leaps often cause lineages to grow dramatically in numbers and in geographic range. The development of Bronze technology may have given men in haplogroup E1b1b1a1b1a a competitive advantage over other men, causing haplogroup E1b1b1a1b1a to proliferate and become widespread.

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 Bach 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.

"Bach" Surname 41.5%

23andMe Users 41.3%




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

"Bach" Surname 23.2%

23andMe Users 27.9%



Sugary Drink

Drinks one or more sugary drinks per day.

"Bach" Surname 21.1%

23andMe Users 21.1%




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

"Bach" Surname 18.3%

23andMe Users 16.4%

Are health conditions linked to the last name Bach?

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 Bach 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

French & German 60.8%

23andMe Users 57.2%