Explore the Family Name Berger

The meaning of Berger

1. German, Dutch, Swedish, and Jewish (Ashkenazic): topographic name for someone who lived in the mountains or hills (see Berg). The surname of German origin is also found in many other European countries, e.g. in France (Alsace and Lorraine), Russia, Poland, Czechia, Hungary, and Croatia, and Slovenia, often as a translation into German of corresponding Slavic topographic names or surnames. As a Jewish name it is mainly artificial. Compare Bargar, Barger, Barker, Barrier, and Barriger. 2. French: occupational name from Old French bergier ‘shepherd’ (from Late Latin berbicarius, from berbex ‘ram’). It is also found in England, as a surname of Huguenot origin. Compare Shepard. 3. Norwegian: habitational name from any of various farms so named with the plural of Berg ‘mountain’. 4. French Canadian: shortened form of German Nürnberger (see Nurnberger). History: It was Friedrich-Wilhelm Nürnberger from Germany (or his son Fréderic-Guillaume Berger, born in Germany) whose surname was shortened from Nürnberger to Berger after the family settled in QC.

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

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

Based on data from the Decennial U.S. Census, the surname Berger has seen a slight decrease in popularity over the years. In 2000, it held the rank of 716 but dropped to 785 by 2010, signifying a 9.64% decline. Despite this, the actual count of individuals with the Berger surname saw a minor increase of 0.68%, rising from 43,556 in 2000 to 43,851 in 2010. However, when considering the proportion per 100,000 people, there was a decrease from 16.15 in 2000 to 14.87 in 2010, marking a 7.93% drop.

Proportion per 100k16.1514.87-7.93%

Race and Ethnicity of people with the last name Berger

Regarding the ethnic identity associated with the Berger name, the Decennial U.S. Census data reveals some shifts between 2000 and 2010. The percentage of those identifying as White decreased slightly from 93.90% to 92.33%. Conversely, the Hispanic ethnicity saw a significant increase of 65.68%, going from 1.69% to 2.8%. A modest rise was also noticed among those identifying as Black (from 2.39% to 2.48%) and Asian/Pacific Islander (from 0.49% to 0.69%). Those reporting two or more races rose from 1.18% to 1.36%, while the proportion of American Indian and Alaskan Native remained relatively stable, experiencing a minor decrease from 0.35% to 0.34%.

Two or More Races1.18%1.36%15.25%
Asian/Pacific Islander0.49%0.69%40.82%
American Indian and Alaskan Native0.35%0.34%-2.86%

Berger 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 Berger is French & German, which comprises 27.1% of all ancestry found in people with the surname. The next two most common ancestries are Ashkenazi Jewish (26.5%) and British & Irish (24.2%). Additional ancestries include Eastern European, Scandinavian, Italian, Spanish & Portuguese, and Indigenous American.

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French & German27.1%
Ashkenazi Jewish26.5%
British & Irish24.2%

Possible origins of the surname Berger

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 Berger have recent ancestry locations in United Kingdom and Ireland.

RECENT ANCESTRY LocationPercentage
Greater London, United Kingdom56.30%
Greater Manchester, United Kingdom56.00%
Glasgow City, United Kingdom56.00%
Merseyside, United Kingdom55.90%
West Midlands, United Kingdom55.70%

What Berger 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 Berger is R-U152, which is predominantly found among people with European ancestry. Haplogroup R-U152 is descended from haplogroup R-M343. Other common haplogroups include J-CTS5368 and G-M377, which are predominantly found among people with European and European ancestry. Other surnames with similar common haplogroups are: Weiss, Klein, Schwartz, Frank, Stein, Simon, Schneider, Kramer, Gross, Fischer.

The most common maternal haplogroups of people with Berger surname are: K1a1b1a, H1, H. These most commonly trace back to individuals of European ancestry.

bergerPaternal 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 Berger 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.

"Berger" Surname 45.6%

23andMe Users 41.3%




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

"Berger" Surname 19.9%

23andMe Users 27.9%



Sugary Drink

Drinks one or more sugary drinks per day.

"Berger" Surname 16.3%

23andMe Users 21.1%




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

"Berger" Surname 18.0%

23andMe Users 16.4%

Are health conditions linked to the last name Berger?

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 Berger 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%