Explore the Family Name Ernest

The meaning of Ernest

1. French, Walloon, Dutch, Polish, Czech, Jewish, West Indian (mainly Haiti), and African (mainly Tanzania): from the personal name Ernest, a cognate or a variant of German, Dutch, and Jewish Ernst. 2. Americanized form of German, Dutch, Danish, and Jewish Ernst. 3. English: variant of Harness, by folk-etymological association with the vocabulary word earnest. Compare Earnest.

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

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

Based on the Decennial U.S. Census data, the popularity of the surname "Ernest" saw a slight change between 2000 and 2010. In 2000, Ernest was ranked as the 6,640th most common name in the United States with approximately 4,694 individuals carrying the name. By 2010, the surname had dropped to the 7,053rd rank, reflecting a decrease of about 6.22%. However, the actual count of people with the Ernest surname increased slightly by 1.09% from 4,694 in 2000 to 4,745 in 2010. The proportion per 100,000 people also decreased by 7.47% during this period.

Proportion per 100k1.741.61-7.47%

Race and Ethnicity of people with the last name Ernest

Regarding ethnicity, the distribution of the Ernest surname has seen some interesting changes over the same decade, according to the Decennial U.S. Census. The proportion of Asian/Pacific Islander individuals with the Ernest surname doubled, increasing by about 101%. The Hispanic population with this surname also increased by 54.10%. On the other hand, the proportion of those identifying as White decreased by 6.22%, and the number of individuals of two or more ethnic identities also fell by 20.43%. Interestingly, there was an increase of 28.41% in the Black population with the Ernest surname. The American Indian and Alaskan Native population with this surname, however, decreased by 20%.

Asian/Pacific Islander1.11%2.23%100.9%
Two or More Races2.3%1.83%-20.43%
American Indian and Alaskan Native0.4%0.32%-20%

Ernest 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 Ernest is British & Irish, which comprises 39.3% of all ancestry found in people with the surname. The next two most common ancestries are French & German (31.9%) and Italian (5.2%). Additional ancestries include Eastern European, Scandinavian, Nigerian, Spanish & Portuguese, and Ashkenazi Jewish.

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British & Irish39.3%
French & German31.9%

Possible origins of the surname Ernest

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 Ernest have recent ancestry locations in United Kingdom and Ireland.

RECENT ANCESTRY LocationPercentage
Tyne And Wear, United Kingdom78.80%
Greater London, United Kingdom78.80%
West Midlands, United Kingdom77.90%
West Yorkshire, United Kingdom77.90%
Greater Manchester, United Kingdom77.90%

What Ernest 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 Ernest 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 E-P179 and R-U152, which are predominantly found among people with European and European ancestry. Other surnames with similar common haplogroups are: Cabral, Florez, Dobbins, Hawkins, Linden, Coelho, Anders, Bower, Meier, Schafer.

The most common maternal haplogroups of people with Ernest surname are: H1, H, H3. These most commonly trace back to individuals of European ancestry.

ernestPaternal 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 Ernest 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.

"Ernest" Surname 37.9%

23andMe Users 41.3%




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

"Ernest" Surname 45.0%

23andMe Users 27.9%



Sugary Drink

Drinks one or more sugary drinks per day.

"Ernest" Surname 25.0%

23andMe Users 21.1%




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

"Ernest" Surname 21.4%

23andMe Users 16.4%

Are health conditions linked to the last name Ernest?

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 Ernest 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%