Explore the Family Name Knudsen

The meaning of Knudsen

Danish, Norwegian, and North German: patronymic from the Danish personal name Knud, derived from Old Norse Knútr meaning ‘knot’. Knud was a Danish royal name, Latinized as Canutus. Some characteristic forenames: Scandinavian Erik, Knud, Niels, Holger, Jorgen, Ove, Alf, Alfhild, Anders, Baard, Berger, Einer.

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

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

Based on the Decennial U.S. Census, the surname Knudsen has seen a slight decline in popularity between the years 2000 and 2010. In 2000, it was ranked 3675th most popular surname, with a count of 8877 individuals bearing the name. However, by 2010, its ranking dropped to 3898th, despite the count increasing to 9104 people. Overall, the proportion per 100,000 decreased by 6.08%, indicating that while the number of people named Knudsen increased, its popularity relative to other surnames declined.

Proportion per 100k3.293.09-6.08%

Race and Ethnicity of people with the last name Knudsen

The Decennial U.S. Census data also reveals changes in the ethnic identity associated with the surname Knudsen between 2000 and 2010. The majority of Knudsens identified as White, although this percentage slightly dropped from 95.58% to 93.73%. Those identifying as Hispanic saw the largest increase, jumping from 1.67% to 2.72%. Similarly, there were notable increases among those who identify as two or more races (from 1.03% to 1.54%) and American Indian and Alaskan Native (from 0.82% to 1.03%). Individuals identifying as Asian/Pacific Islander and Black also had slight increases, further demonstrating the diversity found within the people carrying the Knudsen surname.

Two or More Races1.03%1.54%49.51%
American Indian and Alaskan Native0.82%1.03%25.61%
Asian/Pacific Islander0.7%0.74%5.71%

Knudsen 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 Knudsen is British & Irish, which comprises 36.0% of all ancestry found in people with the surname. The next two most common ancestries are Scandinavian (24.2%) and French & German (23.2%). Additional ancestries include Eastern European, Italian, Spanish & Portuguese, Ashkenazi Jewish, and Indigenous American.

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British & Irish36.0%
French & German23.2%

Possible origins of the surname Knudsen

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 Knudsen have recent ancestry locations in United Kingdom and Ireland.

RECENT ANCESTRY LocationPercentage
Greater London, United Kingdom77.00%
Merseyside, United Kingdom77.00%
Greater Manchester, United Kingdom76.70%
Glasgow City, United Kingdom76.70%
West Midlands, United Kingdom75.90%

What Knudsen 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 Knudsen is I-M253, which is predominantly found among people with European ancestry. Haplogroup I-M253 is descended from haplogroup I-M170. Other common haplogroups include R-Z282 and R-P311, which are predominantly found among people with European and European ancestry. Other surnames with similar common haplogroups are: Monson, Sorenson, Christiansen, Jorgensen, Nielsen, Jacobsen, Samuelson, Larsen, Andersen, Petersen.

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

knudsenPaternal Haplogroup Origins I-M170
Paternal Haplo Image

Your paternal lineage may be linked to the people of Doggerland

One of the places that was repopulated as the Ice Age waned no longer exists. During the Ice Age and for some time afterward, lower sea levels exposed much of the area that is now covered by the North Sea. Known as "Doggerland," the region must have been occupied by men bearing haplogroup I, because today it is abundant in all of the countries surrounding the North Sea.As the meltwaters of the retreating Ice Age glaciers caused sea levels to rise, the low-lying forests and wetlands of Doggerland gradually became inundated. The inhabitants of Doggerland retreated to the higher ground that is now the North Sea coast. I-M253 is especially common today in Scandinavia — it reaches levels of 33% in Denmark and Sweden — and is somewhat common in England, Germany and the Netherlands, where it is found in about 15% of men.

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 Knudsen 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.

"Knudsen" Surname 48.8%

23andMe Users 41.3%




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

"Knudsen" Surname 22.9%

23andMe Users 27.9%



Sugary Drink

Drinks one or more sugary drinks per day.

"Knudsen" Surname 16.3%

23andMe Users 21.1%




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

"Knudsen" Surname 16.4%

23andMe Users 16.4%

Are health conditions linked to the last name Knudsen?

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 Knudsen 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%