Explore the Family Name Benjamin

The meaning of Benjamin

Jewish (Sephardic and Ashkenazic), English, French, West Indian (mainly Haiti), and African (mainly Nigeria and Tanzania); Hungarian (Benjámin): from the Hebrew male personal name Binyāmīn ‘Son of the South’. In the Book of Genesis, it is treated as meaning ‘Son of the Right Hand’. The two senses are connected, since in Hebrew the south is thought of as the right-hand side of a person who is facing east. Benjamin was the youngest and favorite son of Jacob and supposed progenitor of one of the twelve tribes of Israel (Genesis 35:16–18; 42:4). The personal name was not common among Gentiles in the Middle Ages, but its use was sanctioned by virtue of having been borne by a Christian saint martyred in Persia in about ad 424. In some cases in medieval Europe it was also applied as a byname or nickname to the youngest (and beloved) son of a large family; this is the sense of modern French benjamin. In North America, this surname has absorbed cognates from other languages, e.g. Assyrian/Chaldean Benyamin and Italian Beniamino. History: John Benjamin (1598–1645) came from England to Watertown, MA, in 1632. Jean-Baptiste Benjamin dit Saint-Aubin from France married Jeanne Allard in QC in 1704.

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

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

Based on the Decennial U.S. Census, the surname Benjamin has increased in popularity between 2000 and 2010. The rank of the surname moved from 868 in 2000 to 850 in 2010, showing a 2.07% rise. The count of people with the Benjamin surname also rose from 36,439 in 2000 to 40,590 in 2010, a significant increase of 11.39%. Moreover, the proportion of individuals named Benjamin per 100,000 people showed a modest growth of 1.85%, moving from 13.51 in 2000 to 13.76 in 2010.

20002010Change
Rank#868#8502.07%
Count36,43940,59011.39%
Proportion per 100k13.5113.761.85%

Race and Ethnicity of people with the last name Benjamin

In terms of ethnicity, according to the Decennial U.S. Census, the distribution of the Benjamin surname has seen some shifts between 2000 and 2010. The data shows an increase in those identifying as Asian/Pacific Islander (up 36.81%), Hispanic (up 43.83%), and Black (up 5.96%). In contrast, there was a notable decrease in those identifying as White (down 7.98%) and American Indian and Alaskan Native (down 4.26%). People identifying with two or more races also showed a slight increase of 10.13%.

20002010Change
White53.29%49.04%-7.98%
Black39.24%41.58%5.96%
Hispanic2.35%3.38%43.83%
Two or More Races2.37%2.61%10.13%
Asian/Pacific Islander1.82%2.49%36.81%
American Indian and Alaskan Native0.94%0.9%-4.26%

Benjamin 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 Benjamin is British & Irish, which comprises 31.6% of all ancestry found in people with the surname. The next two most common ancestries are French & German (17.5%) and Ashkenazi Jewish (13.2%). Additional ancestries include Nigerian, Ghanaian, Liberian & Sierra Leonean, Iranian, Caucasian & Mesopotamian, Scandinavian, and Eastern European.

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

ANCESTRY BREAKDOWNCOMPOSITION
British & Irish31.6%
French & German17.5%
Ashkenazi Jewish13.2%
Other37.6%
Benjamin

Possible origins of the surname Benjamin

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 Benjamin have recent ancestry locations in United Kingdom and Ireland.

RECENT ANCESTRY LocationPercentage
Greater London, United Kingdom57.10%
Merseyside, United Kingdom57.00%
West Midlands, United Kingdom56.70%
Greater Manchester, United Kingdom56.70%
Glasgow City, United Kingdom56.50%

What Benjamin 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 Benjamin is R-Z8, which is predominantly found among people with European ancestry. Haplogroup R-Z8 is descended from haplogroup R-M343. Other common haplogroups include R-M405 and R-CTS241, which are predominantly found among people with European and European ancestry. Other surnames with similar common haplogroups are: Mayo, Bassett, Bishop, Shepherd, Haines, Sheppard, Wilkerson, Watts, Cole, Hill.

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

benjaminPaternal Haplogroup Origins R-M343
Paternal Haplo Image

Your paternal lineage may be linked to King Louis XVI

The rule of France by men of the House of Bourbon began with King Henri IV in 1589 C.E. and continued until the beheading of his direct paternal descendant King Louis XVI in 1793. Several years ago, researchers analyzed a mummified head and a blood-soaked cloth that they believed might belong to the two kings, and concluded that the royal paternal line belonged to haplogroup G. In a more recent study, however, a different set of researchers tested three living men who are direct descendants of the Bourbon kings. Their efforts revealed that the male lineage of the House of Bourbon is actually a branch of haplogroup R-M405.

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 Benjamin 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.

Preferences

Benjamin

Chocolate Ice Cream

Prefers chocolate flavored ice cream over other flavors.

"Benjamin" Surname 38.7%

23andMe Users 41.3%

Traits

Benjamin

Misophonia

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

"Benjamin" Surname 32.4%

23andMe Users 27.9%

Habits

Benjamin

Sugary Drink

Drinks one or more sugary drinks per day.

"Benjamin" Surname 19.1%

23andMe Users 21.1%

Wellness

Benjamin

Migraine

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

"Benjamin" Surname 18.8%

23andMe Users 16.4%

Are health conditions linked to the last name Benjamin?

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 Benjamin 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%