Explore the Family Name Kiel

The meaning of Kiel

1. North German: in some cases, probably a habitational name from the city of Kiel in Schleswig-Holstein, but more likely a topographic name for someone living by a long narrow bay or area of sheltered water, from Middle Low German kīl ‘wedge’, the word from which the city derives its name. 2. German: from Middle Low German, Middle High German kīl ‘wedge’, applied as a metonymic occupational name or as a pejorative nickname for a ruffian or a bumbler. 3. German and Dutch: from a short form of the personal name Kilian. 4. North German: possibly an occupational name for a ship’s captain, short for Low German Kilmester (Middle Low German kil ‘keel, boat’ + mester ‘master, skipper’). 5. Dutch: from Middle Dutch kidel, kedel ‘smock’, hence a metonymic occupational name for someone who made such garments or perhaps a nickname for someone who habitually wore one. 6. Dutch: topographic name from Middle Dutch kille, kiele ‘gully between sandbanks; fairway; anchorage’, or a habitational name from a place so named in Antwerp or from the German city (see 1 above). 7. Polish (Kieł): from kieł ‘tooth, fang’, hence a nickname for someone with bad or protruding teeth. 8. Scottish: variant of Keil 2. 9. Swedish: of German origin (see above) or an ornamental form of Kil, a habitational name from placenames such as Kila in the province of Värmland or Kilby in the province of Uppland, named with kil- ‘wedge’. 10. Jewish (Ashkenazic): variant of Kil.

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

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

Based on the Decennial U.S. Census data, the popularity of the surname "Kiel" has seen a considerable increase between 2000 and 2010. Ranked 7,049 in the year 2000, it rose to 6,583 by 2010, marking an increase of 6.61%. In terms of the number of people bearing this surname, the count increased from 4,377 in 2000 to 5,146 in 2010, a significant growth of 17.57%. The proportion of individuals with the surname "Kiel" per 100k also grew by 7.41% within the same time span.

Proportion per 100k1.621.747.41%

Race and Ethnicity of people with the last name Kiel

Analyzing the ethnicity associated with the surname "Kiel", as per the Decennial U.S. Census, several changes were observed between 2000 and 2010. The percentage of those identifying as Asian/Pacific Islander and Hispanic saw substantial increases of 67.33% and 131.25%, respectively. Similarly, the percentage of Black ethnicity and American Indian and Alaskan Native saw moderate increases of 5.00% and 15.63% respectively. Conversely, there was a slight decrease in the percentage of White ethnicity by 2.64%, and a marginal drop in those identifying with two or more races by 1.06%.

Asian/Pacific Islander1.01%1.69%67.33%
Two or More Races0.94%0.93%-1.06%
American Indian and Alaskan Native0.32%0.37%15.63%

Kiel 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 Kiel is French & German, which comprises 35.4% of all ancestry found in people with the surname. The next two most common ancestries are British & Irish (28.9%) and Eastern European (11.3%). Additional ancestries include Scandinavian, Ashkenazi Jewish, Italian, Korean, and Spanish & Portuguese.

Ready to learn more about your ancestry? Get the most comprehensive ancestry breakdown on the market by taking our DNA test. Shop 23andMe

French & German35.4%
British & Irish28.9%
Eastern European11.3%

Possible origins of the surname Kiel

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 Kiel have recent ancestry locations in United Kingdom and Ireland.

RECENT ANCESTRY LocationPercentage
Greater London, United Kingdom74.40%
Tyne And Wear, United Kingdom74.40%
West Midlands, United Kingdom74.40%
Greater Manchester, United Kingdom74.40%
West Yorkshire, United Kingdom74.40%

What Kiel 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 Kiel is R-P312, which is predominantly found among people with European ancestry. Haplogroup R-P312 is descended from haplogroup R-M343. Other common haplogroups include R-L48 and R-M405, which are predominantly found among people with European and European ancestry. Other surnames with similar common haplogroups are: Knorr, Oleson, Siebert, Schroder, Heins, Heise, Niemeyer, Eder, Kranz, Wirtz.

The most common maternal haplogroups of people with Kiel surname are: H1, J1c, H. These most commonly trace back to individuals of European ancestry.

kielPaternal 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 Kiel 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.

"Kiel" Surname 32.4%

23andMe Users 41.3%




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

"Kiel" Surname 19.2%

23andMe Users 27.9%



Sugary Drink

Drinks one or more sugary drinks per day.

"Kiel" Surname 20.5%

23andMe Users 21.1%




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

"Kiel" Surname 19.6%

23andMe Users 16.4%

Are health conditions linked to the last name Kiel?

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 Kiel 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%