Explore the Family Name Meyer

The meaning of Meyer

1. German and Swiss German: from Middle High German meier, a status name for a steward, bailiff, or overseer, which later came to be used also to denote a tenant farmer, which is normally the sense in the many compound surnames formed with this term as a second element. Originally it denoted a village headman (ultimately from Latin maior ‘greater, superior’). This form of the surname is also established in France (mainly Alsace and Lorraine); see also 3 below. Compare Maier, Mayer, Meier, and Myer. 2. Jewish (Ashkenazic): from the Yiddish personal name Meyer, from Hebrew Meir ‘enlightener’, a derivative of or ‘light’ with the prefix m-. Compare Maier, Majer, Major, Mayer, Mayor, Meier, and Meir. 3. Dutch: variant, also Flemish and Americanized, of Meijer, a cognate of 1 above. This surname is also established in South Africa, where it was also brought from France (see 1 above). 4. English: variant of Mayer. 5. Danish: variant of Meier 3. History: As a name of Swiss German origin (see 1 above) the surname Meyer is established among the American Mennonites (compare Moyer). There were several Mennonite immigrants bearing this name, including Christian Meyer from Switzerland, who was in Montgomery County, PA, by 1719, thus being (probably) the first Mennonite with this name in America and also one of the first Meyers overall. — One of the first bearers of the surname Meyer (see 1 above) in South Africa was Pierre Meyer, a Huguenot from Dauphiné, France, who arrived in the Dutch Cape Colony via the Netherlands in 1688. He is recognized as a French Huguenot ancestor by the Huguenot Society of South Africa.

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

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

Based on the Decennial U.S. Census data, the popularity of the surname Meyer showed a slight shift between 2000 and 2010. Ranked as the 163rd most common surname in 2000, it slid to the position of the 183rd most popular in 2010, reflecting a decrease of 12.27 percent. However, in the same period, the count of individuals bearing the surname Meyer slightly increased by 0.82 percent, from 149664 in 2000 to 150895 in 2010. The proportion of this surname per 100k people also experienced a decline of 7.8 percent, dropping from 55.48 to 51.15.

Proportion per 100k55.4851.15-7.8%

Race and Ethnicity of people with the last name Meyer

When observing the ethnic identity associated with the surname Meyer, according to the Decennial U.S. Census, the majority of individuals identify as White, albeit decreasing from 96.07 percent in 2000 to 94.84 percent in 2010. On the other hand, there was a notable increase in the Hispanic group, which grew from 1.55 percent in 2000 to 2.28 percent in 2010, reflecting a change of 47.10 percent. While the percentage of individuals who identified as Asian/Pacific Islander, Two or more races, Black, and American Indian and Alaskan Native remained relatively low, each group did see an increase during this decade. For example, the category of Two or more races experienced a growth of 21.24 percent.

Two or More Races1.13%1.37%21.24%
Asian/Pacific Islander0.57%0.71%24.56%
American Indian and Alaskan Native0.24%0.29%20.83%

Meyer 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 Meyer is French & German, which comprises 37.5% of all ancestry found in people with the surname. The next two most common ancestries are British & Irish (33.1%) and Scandinavian (6.8%). Additional ancestries include Eastern European, Ashkenazi Jewish, Italian, Spanish & Portuguese, and Indigenous American.

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French & German37.5%
British & Irish33.1%

Possible origins of the surname Meyer

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 Meyer have recent ancestry locations in United Kingdom and Ireland.

RECENT ANCESTRY LocationPercentage
Greater London, United Kingdom72.50%
Merseyside, United Kingdom72.30%
Greater Manchester, United Kingdom72.30%
Glasgow City, United Kingdom72.20%
West Midlands, United Kingdom71.80%

What Meyer 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 Meyer is R-U152, which is predominantly found among people with European ancestry. Haplogroup R-U152 is descended from haplogroup R-M343. Other common haplogroups include R-M405 and I-M253, which are predominantly found among people with European and European ancestry. Other surnames with similar common haplogroups are: Schmidt, Schneider, Wagner, Miller, Becker, Fischer, Hoffman, Weber, Schroeder, Snyder.

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

meyerPaternal 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 Meyer 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.

"Meyer" Surname 44.4%

23andMe Users 41.3%




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

"Meyer" Surname 24.2%

23andMe Users 27.9%



Sugary Drink

Drinks one or more sugary drinks per day.

"Meyer" Surname 18.5%

23andMe Users 21.1%



Cat Allergy

An allergic reaction to cats, characterized by symptoms such as sneezing, itching, and difficulty breathing.

"Meyer" Surname 39.8%

23andMe Users 36.7%

Are health conditions linked to the last name Meyer?

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 Meyer 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%