Explore the Family Name Buchanan

The meaning of Buchanan

1. Scottish (western Scotland): habitational name from Buchanan in Stirlingshire, perhaps named with Gaelic buth chanain ‘house of the canon’. 2. Irish: adopted for Ó Buadhachanáin, see Bohannon. History: This is the name of a Scottish clan associated with lands on the eastern shores of Loch Lomond and in the Lennox. — The name Buchanan was brought independently to North America from Scotland by several different bearers in the 17th and 18th centuries. George Buchanan came to MD in 1698. — James Buchanan (1791–1868), 15th President of the US (1857–61), was born near Mercersburg, PA, the son of a successful land speculator and store keeper, who had emigrated to PA from Scotland in 1783.

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

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

Based on the Decennial U.S. Census data, the surname Buchanan saw a slight drop in popularity between 2000 to 2010. It ranked 471st in 2000 and slipped to 503rd in 2010, reflecting a 6.79% decrease. However, this decline did not translate into fewer individuals bearing the name. In fact, the number of people named Buchanan increased by 4.42% during the same period, from 63,825 to 66,648. This suggests that although it became less popular as a surname choice, the overall population growth led to an increase in its absolute count.

Proportion per 100k23.6622.59-4.52%

Race and Ethnicity of people with the last name Buchanan

In terms of ethnic identity associated with the Buchanan surname, the Decennial U.S. Census data reveals some shifts over the decade. The percentage of Buchanans reporting their ethnicity as Asian/Pacific Islander increased by 22.92%, and those identifying as having two or more races grew by 28.03%. The Hispanic Buchanan population also saw significant growth, jumping by 54.78% between 2000 and 2010. Meanwhile, the proportion of Buchanans identifying as White decreased by 3.15%, but still made up a large majority at 77.40% in 2010. The Black Buchanan population experienced a modest increase of 6.85%, while the American Indian and Alaskan Native segment of this surname group remained relatively stable, posting a 1.79% rise.

Two or More Races1.57%2.01%28.03%
Asian/Pacific Islander0.48%0.59%22.92%
American Indian and Alaskan Native0.56%0.57%1.79%

Buchanan 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 Buchanan is British & Irish, which comprises 55.9% of all ancestry found in people with the surname. The next two most common ancestries are French & German (22.3%) and Eastern European (3.5%). Additional ancestries include Scandinavian, Italian, Nigerian, Spanish & Portuguese, and Ghanaian, Liberian & Sierra Leonean.

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British & Irish55.9%
French & German22.3%
Eastern European3.5%

Possible origins of the surname Buchanan

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 Buchanan have recent ancestry locations in United Kingdom and Ireland.

RECENT ANCESTRY LocationPercentage
Greater London, United Kingdom86.00%
Greater Manchester, United Kingdom85.90%
Glasgow City, United Kingdom85.70%
West Midlands, United Kingdom85.60%
Merseyside, United Kingdom85.60%

What Buchanan 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 Buchanan is R-S691, which is predominantly found among people with European ancestry. Haplogroup R-S691 is descended from haplogroup R-M343. Other common haplogroups include R-L21 and R-CTS241, which are predominantly found among people with European and European ancestry. Other surnames with similar common haplogroups are: Weems, Mcgregor, Mccaslin, Loftis, Arnett, Macgregor, Bohannon, Alexander, Jeffries, Peden.

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

buchananPaternal 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 Buchanan 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.

"Buchanan" Surname 40.6%

23andMe Users 41.3%




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

"Buchanan" Surname 27.0%

23andMe Users 27.9%



Sugary Drink

Drinks one or more sugary drinks per day.

"Buchanan" Surname 24.0%

23andMe Users 21.1%




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

"Buchanan" Surname 17.6%

23andMe Users 16.4%

Are health conditions linked to the last name Buchanan?

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 Buchanan 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%