Explore the Family Name Jacobs

The meaning of Jacobs

Dutch, Flemish, German, English, and Jewish: patronymic from the personal name Jacob, ‘Jacob’s (son)’, with genitival (or, as an English name, post-medieval excrescent) -s. This surname is also found in France (Nord, Alsace, and Lorraine). As a Jewish surname it has absorbed various other Jewish patronymics from the same personal name, as for example Jacobowitz. In North America, the surname Jacobs has absorbed cognates from other languages, for example Slovenian Jakopič (patronymic from an old variant of the personal name Jakob). It is also established among the Tuscarora Native American tribes of NY and NC and Lumbee Native American tribe of NC.

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

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

Based on the Decennial U.S. Census, the popularity of the surname "Jacobs" has shifted slightly over time. In 2000, Jacobs was the 233rd most popular surname in the United States, but by 2010 it had slipped to 257th place, a decrease of 10.3%. However, the actual count of people with the Jacobs surname increased during this period, from 115,540 in 2000 to 118,614 in 2010, an increase of 2.66%. This indicates that while the name became less common relative to other surnames, more individuals identified as Jacobs in 2010 than in 2000. The proportion of the population with this last name per 100,000 people decreased from 42.83 in 2000 to 40.21 in 2010, a drop of 6.12%.

Proportion per 100k42.8340.21-6.12%

Race and Ethnicity of people with the last name Jacobs

Diving into the ethnic identity associated with the surname "Jacobs," we see some interesting shifts between 2000 and 2010 based on the Decennial U.S. Census data. Notably, the Hispanic demographic saw the largest percentage increase at 46.51%, though it remains a relatively small fraction of the total at just 2.52% in 2010. Meanwhile, those identifying as White accounted for the largest share of Jacobs in both years, despite a slight decrease from 76.65% in 2000 to 74.28% in 2010. The proportion of Jacobs identifying as Black also increased from 15.86% to 16.71%, while those reporting Asian/Pacific Islander heritage rose from 0.48% to 0.59%. The count of those with two or more races also increased significantly from 1.63% to 2.16%. Lastly, the proportion of people identifying as American Indian and Alaskan Native remained relatively stable, slightly increasing from 3.66% in 2000 to 3.75% in 2010.

American Indian and Alaskan Native3.66%3.75%2.46%
Two or More Races1.63%2.16%32.52%
Asian/Pacific Islander0.48%0.59%22.92%

Jacobs 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 Jacobs is British & Irish, which comprises 38.0% of all ancestry found in people with the surname. The next two most common ancestries are French & German (24.4%) and Ashkenazi Jewish (13.6%). Additional ancestries include Eastern European, Scandinavian, Italian, Spanish & Portuguese, and Nigerian.

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British & Irish38.0%
French & German24.4%
Ashkenazi Jewish13.6%

Possible origins of the surname Jacobs

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 Jacobs have recent ancestry locations in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and Ireland.

RECENT ANCESTRY LocationPercentage
Greater Manchester, United Kingdom72.60%
Greater London, United Kingdom72.60%
Glasgow City, United Kingdom72.40%
West Midlands, United Kingdom72.30%
Merseyside, United Kingdom72.30%

What Jacobs 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 Jacobs is E-V13, which is predominantly found among people with European ancestry. Haplogroup E-V13 is descended from haplogroup E-M96. Other common haplogroups include R-Z282 and R-L48, which are predominantly found among people with European and European ancestry. Other surnames with similar common haplogroups are: Klein, Hoffman, Johnson, Miller, Wolf, Smith, Simon, Schneider, Schmidt, Kramer.

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

jacobsPaternal Haplogroup Origins E-M96
Paternal Haplo Image

Your paternal lineage may be linked to early Balkan migrants

Haplogroup E1b1b1a1b1a migrated in large numbers from the Balkans into Europe about 4,500 years ago, triggered by the beginning of the Balkan Bronze Age. During this migration, members of haplogroup E1b1b1a1b1a mainly followed rivers connecting the southern Balkans to northern-central Europe. Technological leaps often cause lineages to grow dramatically in numbers and in geographic range. The development of Bronze technology may have given men in haplogroup E1b1b1a1b1a a competitive advantage over other men, causing haplogroup E1b1b1a1b1a to proliferate and become widespread.

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 Jacobs 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.

"Jacobs" Surname 42.6%

23andMe Users 41.3%




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

"Jacobs" Surname 28.5%

23andMe Users 27.9%



Sugary Drink

Drinks one or more sugary drinks per day.

"Jacobs" Surname 21.8%

23andMe Users 21.1%




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

"Jacobs" Surname 17.3%

23andMe Users 16.4%

Are health conditions linked to the last name Jacobs?

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 Jacobs 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%