Explore the Family Name Cross

The meaning of Cross

1. English: topographic name for someone who lived near a cross, such as one set up by the roadside or in a marketplace, from Middle English cros (Old English cros and Old Norse kross, ultimately from Latin crux, crucem). It is commonly Latinized in medieval records as ad crucem and de Cruce but examples of this can just as well belong to the synonymous but less common name Crouch. In a few cases the surname may have been given originally to someone who lived by a crossroads, but this sense of the word seems to have been a comparatively late development. In other cases, the surname (and its European cognates; see 3 below) may have denoted someone who carried the cross in processions of the Christian Church, but in English at least the usual word for this sense was Crozier. 2. Irish: shortened form of McCrossen. 3. Americanized form (translation into English) of various European surnames meaning ‘cross’ or ‘the cross’, such as French Lacroix, German Kreutz, and Slovenian and Croatian Križ (see Kriz). 4. Americanized form of German Kross.

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

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

Based on the Decennial U.S. Census, the popularity of the surname Cross has seen a slight change between 2000 and 2010. In 2000, Cross was ranked as the 382nd most popular surname, but by 2010 it had dropped to the 420th spot, marking a decrease in popularity by about 9.95%. Despite this drop in rank, the count of individuals with the surname Cross increased from 75,134 in 2000 to 77,557 in 2010, an increase of 3.22%. The proportion per 100,000 people, however, decreased slightly from 27.85 to 26.29.

Proportion per 100k27.8526.29-5.6%

Race and Ethnicity of people with the last name Cross

In terms of ethnicity, data from the Decennial U.S. Census shows some shifts within the Cross surname bearers between 2000 and 2010. White individuals made up the majority of those with the surname Cross in both years, though they saw a small decrease in proportion, from 77.68% in 2000 to 75.47% in 2010. Individuals identifying as Black made up the second largest group, increasing slightly from 17.63% to 18.28%. Those identifying as Asian/Pacific Islander also saw an increase from 0.41% to 0.57%, while those identifying as Hispanic experienced the greatest increase, from 1.66% to 2.52%. The smallest change was among those identifying as American Indian and Alaskan Native, which moved from 0.90% to 0.91%. Lastly, individuals identifying as two or more races increased from 1.73% to 2.25%.

Two or More Races1.73%2.25%30.06%
American Indian and Alaskan Native0.9%0.91%1.11%
Asian/Pacific Islander0.41%0.57%39.02%

Cross 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 Cross is British & Irish, which comprises 53.3% of all ancestry found in people with the surname. The next two most common ancestries are French & German (23.0%) and Eastern European (4.4%). Additional ancestries include Scandinavian, Italian, Nigerian, Spanish & Portuguese, and Ashkenazi Jewish.

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

British & Irish53.3%
French & German23.0%
Eastern European4.4%

Possible origins of the surname Cross

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 Cross have recent ancestry locations in United Kingdom and Ireland.

RECENT ANCESTRY LocationPercentage
Greater London, United Kingdom85.30%
Merseyside, United Kingdom85.20%
Greater Manchester, United Kingdom85.20%
Glasgow City, United Kingdom85.00%
West Midlands, United Kingdom84.80%

What Cross 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 Cross is R-P311, which is predominantly found among people with European ancestry. Haplogroup R-P311 is descended from haplogroup R-M343. Other common haplogroups include R-CTS241 and R-Z198, which are predominantly found among people with European and European ancestry. Other surnames with similar common haplogroups are: Davis, West, Richards, Harrison, Williams, Thomas, Martin, Miles, Morris, Andrews.

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

crossPaternal 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 Cross 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.

"Cross" Surname 47.7%

23andMe Users 41.3%




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

"Cross" Surname 29.8%

23andMe Users 27.9%



Sugary Drink

Drinks one or more sugary drinks per day.

"Cross" Surname 23.8%

23andMe Users 21.1%




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

"Cross" Surname 19.6%

23andMe Users 16.4%

Are health conditions linked to the last name Cross?

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 Cross 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%