Explore the Family Name Ernst

The meaning of Ernst

1. German, Dutch, and Danish: from the personal name Ernst, which is most probably a byname from Middle High German and Middle Dutch ern(e)st ‘combat, serious business’. This surname is also found in France (mainly Alsace and Lorraine), Poland, and Czechia. 2. Jewish (Ashkenazic): nickname or artificial name from German ernst ‘earnest, serious’. Compare Ernest. Some characteristic forenames: German Otto, Erwin, Kurt, Heinz, Helmut, Manfred, Reinhold, Ulrich, Fritz, Gunter, Hans, Heinrich.

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

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

Based on the Decennial U.S. Census data, the surname Ernst saw a slight dip in popularity between 2000 and 2010. Ranked as the 1775th most popular surname in 2000, it slipped to the 1969th spot a decade later, marking a decrease of roughly 11%. The number of people with this surname also fell by nearly 1% during this period, from 18,521 to 18,361. Despite its decreased rank and count, Ernst still accounted for around 6 individuals per 100,000 in 2010, a decrease of about 9.46% from the 2000 figure.

Proportion per 100k6.876.22-9.46%

Race and Ethnicity of people with the last name Ernst

In terms of ethnicity, the largest shift associated with the Ernst surname over the first decade of the 21st century was seen within the Hispanic community, which experienced a growth rate of over 51%. The Black community also saw a significant increase of almost 66%. Meanwhile, the proportion of those identifying as White saw a marginal decrease of just over 1 percentage point, although they still represented the majority at roughly 95% in 2010. Those identifying as Asian/Pacific Islander and of two or more races also increased moderately, while the representation among the American Indian and Alaskan Native population slightly decreased. This information is also based on the findings of the Decennial U.S. Census.

Two or More Races1.06%1.35%27.36%
Asian/Pacific Islander0.54%0.69%27.78%
American Indian and Alaskan Native0.33%0.29%-12.12%

Ernst 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 Ernst is French & German, which comprises 41.8% of all ancestry found in people with the surname. The next two most common ancestries are British & Irish (32.4%) and Eastern European (6.3%). Additional ancestries include Scandinavian, Italian, Ashkenazi Jewish, Spanish & Portuguese, and Greek & Balkan.

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French & German41.8%
British & Irish32.4%
Eastern European6.3%

Possible origins of the surname Ernst

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 Ernst have recent ancestry locations in United Kingdom and Ireland.

RECENT ANCESTRY LocationPercentage
Greater London, United Kingdom71.40%
Merseyside, United Kingdom71.20%
Greater Manchester, United Kingdom71.20%
West Yorkshire, United Kingdom71.00%
Glasgow City, United Kingdom70.40%

What Ernst 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 Ernst 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 I-Z58 and E-V13, which are predominantly found among people with European and European ancestry. Other surnames with similar common haplogroups are: Wright, Schafer, Keller, Baker, Fischer, Hoffmann, Kline, Walter, Miller, Schmitt.

The most common maternal haplogroups of people with Ernst surname are: T1a1, H1, H. These most commonly trace back to individuals of European ancestry.

ernstPaternal 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 Ernst 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.

"Ernst" Surname 47.8%

23andMe Users 41.3%




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

"Ernst" Surname 21.5%

23andMe Users 27.9%



Sugary Drink

Drinks one or more sugary drinks per day.

"Ernst" Surname 21.7%

23andMe Users 21.1%




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

"Ernst" Surname 16.0%

23andMe Users 16.4%

Are health conditions linked to the last name Ernst?

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 Ernst 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

French & German 60.8%

23andMe Users 57.2%