Explore the Family Name Davis

The meaning of Davis

1. English and Welsh: patronymic meaning ‘Dafydd’s (son)’, equivalent to Welsh ap Dafydd, the Welsh form of David. The spelling Davis is more typical in southwestern England northwards as far as Lancashire, where the frequency of the surname largely reflects Welsh migration, but may sometimes represent a native English surname based on Davy (compare Davies). Davis (including in the sense 2 below) is the eighth most frequent surname in the US. It is also very common among African Americans. 2. Irish and Scottish: adopted for Gaelic Mac Daibhéid ‘son of David’; see McDevitt. Compare Davies. 3. In some cases also an Americanized form (actually an adoption of the name in 1 above) of Jewish Davidovich and of its cognate Davidsohn. History: John Davis or Davys (c.1550–1605) was an English navigator who searched for the Northwest Passage. — By the 18th century there were numerous persons named Davis in America, including the jurist John Davis, born in 1761 in Plymouth, MA, and Henry Davis, a clergyman and college president, who was born in 1771 in East Hampton, NY. — Jefferson Davis, born in 1808 in KY, was president of the Confederate States of America from 1861 to 1865.

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

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

Based on data from the Decennial U.S. Census, the surname Davis has seen a slight shift in popularity between 2000 and 2010. In 2000, Davis was ranked as the seventh most popular surname in the U.S., but by 2010, it had slipped to eighth place, marking a 14.29% drop in its ranking. Despite this, the overall count of people bearing the Davis surname increased by 4.11%, from 1,072,335 in 2000 to 1,116,357 in 2010. However, when looking at the proportion of individuals with the Davis surname per 100,000 people, there was a decrease of 4.79%, suggesting that while the number of people named Davis grew, it did not keep pace with overall population growth.

Proportion per 100k397.51378.45-4.79%

Race and Ethnicity of people with the last name Davis

When examining the ethnicity breakdown of those with the Davis surname, according to the Decennial U.S. Census, there have been some changes between 2000 and 2010. The percentage of Davis' identifying as Asian/Pacific Islander and those identifying as being of two or more races saw increases of 22.50% and 41.62% respectively. The proportion of Davis' identifying as White decreased by 3.91%. Meanwhile, the percentage of those identifying as Hispanic rose significantly by 54.43%. There was only a small increase for those identifying as Black, with a rise of 2.70%. Lastly, the percentage of those identifying as American Indian and Alaskan Native saw a small increase of 3.80%.

Two or More Races1.73%2.45%41.62%
American Indian and Alaskan Native0.79%0.82%3.8%
Asian/Pacific Islander0.4%0.49%22.5%

Davis 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 Davis is British & Irish, which comprises 50.8% of all ancestry found in people with the surname. The next two most common ancestries are French & German (21.5%) and Nigerian (4.3%). Additional ancestries include Eastern European, Scandinavian, Ashkenazi Jewish, Ghanaian, Liberian & Sierra Leonean, and Italian.

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British & Irish50.8%
French & German21.5%

Possible origins of the surname Davis

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 Davis have recent ancestry locations all within the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

RECENT ANCESTRY LocationPercentage
Greater London, United Kingdom79.00%
Greater Manchester, United Kingdom78.80%
West Midlands, United Kingdom78.60%
Merseyside, United Kingdom78.50%
Glasgow City, United Kingdom78.50%

What Davis 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 Davis 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-L21, which are predominantly found among people with European and European ancestry. Other surnames with similar common haplogroups are: Thomas, Williams, Jones, Lewis, Richards, Morris, Brown, Evans, Price, Edwards.

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

davisPaternal 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 Davis 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.

"Davis" Surname 40.7%

23andMe Users 41.3%




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

"Davis" Surname 27.3%

23andMe Users 27.9%



Sugary Drink

Drinks one or more sugary drinks per day.

"Davis" 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.

"Davis" Surname 18.4%

23andMe Users 16.4%

Are health conditions linked to the last name Davis?

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 Davis 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%