Explore the Family Name Bruce

The meaning of Bruce

1. Scottish (of Norman origin): habitational name from a place in Normandy, probably from Brix (La Manche). 2. Altered form of French Brousse. History: The son of the Domesday baron, a friend of David I of Scotland, was granted by him the Lordship of Annandale in 1124, and his second son Robert became the founder of the Scottish house of Bruce. — This surname (see 2 above) is listed along with its original form Brousse in the (US) National Huguenot Society’s register of qualified Huguenot ancestors.

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

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

According to the Decennial U.S. Census data, the popularity of the surname Bruce has seen a slight fluctuation over a decade. In 2000, it was ranked as the 583rd most common surname in the United States, but by 2010, it had fallen slightly to 636th place, marking a decrease of 9.09%. Nonetheless, the actual count of individuals bearing the surname showed an increase from 52,004 in 2000 to 53,419 in 2010, representing a modest growth of 2.72%. Despite this growth, there was a decrease of 6.07% in the proportion per 100k people carrying the name Bruce.

Proportion per 100k19.2818.11-6.07%

Race and Ethnicity of people with the last name Bruce

On the other hand, the ethnicity of those bearing the Bruce surname significantly diversified between 2000 and 2010, according to the Decennial U.S. Census. The majority identifying as White decreased from 79.85% to 77.35%, while Black representation increased from 14.99% to 15.89%. There was also a notable rise in individuals identifying as Asian/Pacific Islander and Hispanic, with increases of 39.62% and 44.39% respectively. Identification with two or more ethnic identities grew by 27.17%, while American Indian and Alaskan Native representation saw an increase of 10.78%. However, it's important to note that some data might have been suppressed for privacy.

Two or More Races1.73%2.2%27.17%
American Indian and Alaskan Native1.02%1.13%10.78%
Asian/Pacific Islander0.53%0.74%39.62%

Bruce 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 Bruce is British & Irish, which comprises 53.7% of all ancestry found in people with the surname. The next two most common ancestries are French & German (21.5%) and Eastern European (4.3%). Additional ancestries include Scandinavian, Italian, Nigerian, Spanish & Portuguese, and Ghanaian, Liberian & Sierra Leonean.

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British & Irish53.7%
French & German21.5%
Eastern European4.3%

Possible origins of the surname Bruce

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 Bruce have recent ancestry locations in United Kingdom and Ireland.

RECENT ANCESTRY LocationPercentage
Greater London, United Kingdom84.90%
Glasgow City, United Kingdom84.80%
Greater Manchester, United Kingdom84.60%
Merseyside, United Kingdom84.60%
Tyne And Wear, United Kingdom84.30%

What Bruce 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 Bruce is R-CTS241, which is predominantly found among people with European ancestry. Haplogroup R-CTS241 is descended from haplogroup R-M343. Other common haplogroups include R-P311 and R-S764, which are predominantly found among people with European and European ancestry. Other surnames with similar common haplogroups are: Lloyd, Jones, Davies, Hopkins, Davis, Morgan, Griffith, Phillips, Oliver, Richards.

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

brucePaternal 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 Bruce 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.

"Bruce" Surname 39.6%

23andMe Users 41.3%




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

"Bruce" Surname 29.2%

23andMe Users 27.9%



Sugary Drink

Drinks one or more sugary drinks per day.

"Bruce" Surname 21.6%

23andMe Users 21.1%




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

"Bruce" Surname 19.3%

23andMe Users 16.4%

Are health conditions linked to the last name Bruce?

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 Bruce 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%