Explore the Family Name John

The meaning of John

1. English and Welsh: ultimately from the Hebrew personal name Yoḥanan ‘Jehovah has favored (me with a son)’ or ‘may Jehovah favor (this child)’. This personal name was adopted into Latin (via Greek) as Johannes, and has enjoyed enormous popularity in Europe throughout the Christian era, being given in honor of Saint John the Baptist, precursor of Christ, and of Saint John the Evangelist, author of the fourth gospel, as well as the nearly one thousand other Christian saints who bore the name. Some of the principal forms of the personal name in other languages are: Welsh Ieuan, Evan, Siôn, and Ioan; Scottish Ia(i)n; Irish Séan; German Johann, Johannes; Dutch and Slavic Jan; French Jean; Italian Giovanni; Spanish Juan; Portuguese João; Greek Iōannēs (vernacular Giannis, Yannis); Russian Ivan. There were a number of different forms of the name in Middle English, including Jan(e), a male name (see Jayne); Jen (see Jenkin); Jon(e) (see Jones); and Han(n) (see Hann). By the beginning of the 14th century John rivalled William in popularity and has always been a favorite name. Johan became Jo(h)n, and another Old French form Jehan was shortened to Jan and Jen, giving rise to Old French and Middle English diminutives such as Jonin, Janin, and Jenin. More common in Middle English were Jankin, Jonkin, and Jenkin, which were Middle Dutch pet forms introduced after the Conquest by Flemish and Picard settlers. The most common pet form of John was Jack, another borrowing from Flemish and Picard usage. Han may sometimes have been a short form of Johan but was more usually a pet form of Henry. There were also various Middle English feminine versions of this name (e.g. Joan, Jehan), some of which were indistinguishable from masculine forms. The distinction on grounds of gender between John and Joan was not firmly established in English until the 17th century. It was even later that Jean and Jane were specialized as specifically female names in English; bearers of these surnames and their derivatives are more likely to derive them from a male ancestor than a female. As a surname in the British Isles, John is particularly frequent in Wales, where it is a late formation representing Welsh Siôn rather than the older form Ieuan (which gave rise to the surname Evan). In North America, the English form of the surname has absorbed many cognates from other languages, e.g. Assyrian/Chaldean Youkhana, French Jean, Hungarian János (see Janos), Slovenian Janež and Janeš (see Janes), Czech Jan, Albanian Gjoni, and their derivatives (see examples at Johnson). The name John is also found among Christians in southern India (compare Ninan and Yohannan), but since South Indians traditionally do not have hereditary surnames, the southern Indian name was in most cases registered as such only after immigration of its bearers to the US. 2. German: from a North German and Silesian variant of the personal name Johannes. This surname is also found in France (Alsace and Lorraine). Compare Yohn.

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

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

According to the Decennial U.S. Census data, the surname "John" has shown a significant increase in popularity from 2000 to 2010. It moved up by 127 ranks from 1161 in 2000 to 1034 in 2010; an approximate growth of 10.94%. The count of people with this surname also increased by 21.34% from 27,643 to 33,543 during the same period. Proportionally, for every 100,000 people, the presence of this surname rose from 10.25 to 11.37, reflecting a 10.93% change.

20002010Change
Rank#1,161#1,03410.94%
Count27,64333,54321.34%
Proportion per 100k10.2511.3710.93%

Race and Ethnicity of people with the last name John

When it comes to ethnic identity, the Decennial U.S. Census data reveals some shifts between 2000 and 2010 among those carrying the "John" surname. There was a notable rise in the Asian/Pacific Islander category, surging by approximately 47.61%. Similarly, the Hispanic population carrying this surname saw an increase of 33.47%, while the Black population experienced a modest growth of 4.63%. On the other hand, there was a decrease in the percentage of people identifying as White and American Indian/Alaskan Native by roughly 12.81% and 11.07% respectively. Those identifying with two or more races also saw a decline of 32.68%.

20002010Change
White47%40.98%-12.81%
Asian/Pacific Islander14.41%21.27%47.61%
Black20.1%21.03%4.63%
American Indian and Alaskan Native12.56%11.17%-11.07%
Hispanic2.36%3.15%33.47%
Two or More Races3.58%2.41%-32.68%

John 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 John is British & Irish, which comprises 35.4% of all ancestry found in people with the surname. The next two most common ancestries are French & German (17.6%) and Malayali Subgroup (11.2%). Additional ancestries include Nigerian, Eastern European, Scandinavian, Ghanaian, Liberian & Sierra Leonean, and Italian.

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ANCESTRY BREAKDOWNCOMPOSITION
British & Irish35.4%
French & German17.6%
Malayali Subgroup11.2%
Other35.8%
John

Possible origins of the surname John

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 John have recent ancestry locations all within United Kingdom.

RECENT ANCESTRY LocationPercentage
Greater London, United Kingdom57.50%
Glasgow City, United Kingdom57.30%
Merseyside, United Kingdom57.30%
Greater Manchester, United Kingdom57.20%
West Midlands, United Kingdom57.00%

What John 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 John 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-L21 and R-P311, which are predominantly found among people with European and European ancestry. Other surnames with similar common haplogroups are: Thomas, Evans, James, Lewis, Jones, Davis, Morgan, Phillips, Owens, Walker.

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

johnPaternal 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 John 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

John

Chocolate Ice Cream

Prefers chocolate flavored ice cream over other flavors.

"John" Surname 40.7%

23andMe Users 41.3%

Traits

John

Misophonia

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

"John" Surname 25.0%

23andMe Users 27.9%

Habits

John

Sugary Drink

Drinks one or more sugary drinks per day.

"John" Surname 21.6%

23andMe Users 21.1%

Wellness

John

Migraine

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

"John" Surname 13.3%

23andMe Users 16.4%

Are health conditions linked to the last name John?

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 John 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%