Explore the Family Name English

The meaning of English

1. English, Scottish, and Welsh: ethnic name from Middle English English, Inglish, Inglis ‘English’ (Old English Englisc), sometimes alternating with Anglo-Norman French Engleis, Engles, Anglais, Angles (Old French Englois). Compare Inglis and England. Among the aristocracy and upper gentry it marked out a man of English ancestry from one of Norman or continental origin. In counties bordering England with Scotland and Wales the name distinguished an Englishman from a Scot or a native Welshman on both sides of the border. The name may also have been acquired by English merchants who traded abroad or who lived and worked in a ‘French’ borough in England (one exclusively administered by Normans). 2. Irish: in Ireland, this name was used to denote an Englishman, often being adopted for Irish Aingléis ‘Englishman’ or through mistranslation for Mac an Ghallóglaigh, see Gallogly and Golightly.

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

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

According to the Decennial U.S. Census data, the popularity of the surname 'English' shows a slight fluctuation between 2000 and 2010. Despite an increase in actual count from 45,032 in 2000 to 46,393 in 2010, the ranking of the name dropped from 692nd most popular to 748th. This suggests that while the number of individuals with the surname increased, other surnames rose in popularity at a faster rate. The proportion of the surname 'English' per 100,000 people also decreased by 5.75 percent during this period.

20002010Change
Rank#692#748-8.09%
Count45,03246,3933.02%
Proportion per 100k16.6915.73-5.75%

Race and Ethnicity of people with the last name English

On the other hand, the ethnic identity associated with the surname 'English' experienced some changes over the same decade. As per the Decennial U.S. Census data, the largest group identified as White, although the percentage decreased slightly from 74.07% in 2000 to 71.37% in 2010. The second largest group identified as Black, which increased from 21.27% to 22.42%. There were also notable increases among those identifying as Asian/Pacific Islander, Hispanic, and those belonging to two or more races. However, there was a small decrease in the percentage of individuals who identified as American Indian and Alaskan Native.

20002010Change
White74.07%71.37%-3.65%
Black21.27%22.42%5.41%
Two or More Races1.82%2.48%36.26%
Hispanic1.66%2.44%46.99%
Asian/Pacific Islander0.56%0.72%28.57%
American Indian and Alaskan Native0.61%0.57%-6.56%

English 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 English is British & Irish, which comprises 55.1% of all ancestry found in people with the surname. The next two most common ancestries are French & German (20.1%) and Eastern European (4.0%). Additional ancestries include Italian, Scandinavian, Nigerian, Spanish & Portuguese, and Ghanaian, Liberian & Sierra Leonean.

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ANCESTRY BREAKDOWNCOMPOSITION
British & Irish55.1%
French & German20.1%
Eastern European4.0%
Other20.7%
English

Possible origins of the surname English

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 English have recent ancestry locations in United Kingdom and Ireland.

RECENT ANCESTRY LocationPercentage
Greater London, United Kingdom84.40%
Greater Manchester, United Kingdom84.20%
Merseyside, United Kingdom84.10%
Glasgow City, United Kingdom84.00%
West Midlands, United Kingdom83.90%

What English 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 English is I-Z58, which is predominantly found among people with European ancestry. Haplogroup I-Z58 is descended from haplogroup I-M170. Other common haplogroups include R-L21 and R-M467, which are predominantly found among people with European and European ancestry. Other surnames with similar common haplogroups are: Stephenson, Reed, Stevenson, Norman, Powers, Lowe, Arthur, Field, Jarvis, White.

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

englishPaternal Haplogroup Origins I-M170
Paternal Haplo Image

Your paternal lineage may be linked to Alexander Hamilton

Early in the morning on July 11, 1804, Aaron Burr (then Vice President of the United States) and Alexander Hamilton (founder of the U.S. Treasury) dueled on the New Jersey side of the Hudson River. This marked the culmination of a bitter personal and political rivalry between the two men. Alexander Hamilton died as a result of the duel, but his intellectual legacy survives in the founding documents of the nation he helped build. A piece of his genetic legacy survives as well: in the 21st century, genealogists documented the paternal haplogroups of dozens of Hamilton's living descendants and concluded that the Founding Father's paternal haplogroup was a branch of I-DF29.

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 English 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.

Preferences

English

Chocolate Ice Cream

Prefers chocolate flavored ice cream over other flavors.

"English" Surname 38.8%

23andMe Users 41.3%

Traits

English

Misophonia

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

"English" Surname 29.3%

23andMe Users 27.9%

Habits

English

Sugary Drink

Drinks one or more sugary drinks per day.

"English" Surname 24.8%

23andMe Users 21.1%

Wellness

English

Migraine

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

"English" Surname 17.8%

23andMe Users 16.4%

Are health conditions linked to the last name English?

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 English 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%