Explore the Family Name Robinson

The meaning of Robinson

1. English (Lancashire and Yorkshire): patronymic from the Middle English personal name Robin, a pet form of Robert, + -son. This surname is also very common among African Americans. 2. French: from a pet form of the personal name Robin. 3. West Indian (including Haiti) and Guyanese: most likely not (only) of English or French origin as in 1 above and 2 above, but also, if not mostly, from the related name of the famous Daniel Defoe’s literary character Robinson Crusoe (from a novel first published in 1719). History: One of the most famous bearers of this widespread northern English surname was the Puritan preacher John Robinson (c.1575–1625) of Sturton, Nottinghamshire, England. In 1604 he was removed from his fellowship of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, for his religious views. He was the leader of the group of English Puritans who fled to Leiden in the Netherlands in 1608–9, among whom were many of the Pilgrims who sailed on the Mayflower in 1620. His son Isaac came to Plymouth, MA, in 1631, and eventually settled in Tisbury, Martha’s Vineyard, c.1670.

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

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

The surname Robinson has seen a slight decrease in popularity, but remains one of the more common surnames in the United States. According to the Decennial U.S. Census data, in 2000, Robinson was the 27th most popular surname with a count of 503,028. By 2010, it had dropped slightly to the 30th most popular surname, despite an increase in count to 529,821. This represents a 5.33% increase in the number of individuals with the Robinson surname over this decade. However, when viewed as a proportion per 100,000 people, the occurrence of the surname decreased by 3.68%.

Proportion per 100k186.47179.61-3.68%

Race and Ethnicity of people with the last name Robinson

Regarding ethnicity, the Decennial U.S. Census data reveals shifts in the ethnic identity associated with the Robinson surname from 2000 to 2010. The highest percentage of Robinsons identified as White, although this proportion dipped slightly from 51.34% to 48.70%. Meanwhile, the percentage identifying as Black increased marginally from 44.10% to 44.93%. The largest percentage change was among those identifying as Hispanic, which saw an increase of 55.36%, although the overall proportion remained small at 2.61% in 2010. There were also increases in the proportions identifying as Asian/Pacific Islander, having two or more races, and American Indian and Alaskan Native.

Two or More Races1.99%2.77%39.2%
American Indian and Alaskan Native0.51%0.53%3.92%
Asian/Pacific Islander0.37%0.46%24.32%

Robinson 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 Robinson is British & Irish, which comprises 48.9% of all ancestry found in people with the surname. The next two most common ancestries are French & German (19.2%) and Nigerian (6.8%). Additional ancestries include Ghanaian, Liberian & Sierra Leonean, Eastern European, Scandinavian, Ashkenazi Jewish, and Italian.

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British & Irish48.9%
French & German19.2%

Possible origins of the surname Robinson

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 Robinson have recent ancestry locations all within United Kingdom.

RECENT ANCESTRY LocationPercentage
Greater London, United Kingdom77.30%
Greater Manchester, United Kingdom77.00%
West Midlands, United Kingdom76.90%
Merseyside, United Kingdom76.70%
Glasgow City, United Kingdom76.70%

What Robinson 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 Robinson 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 E-P252 and R-L21, which are predominantly found among people with Sub-Saharan African and European ancestry. Other surnames with similar common haplogroups are: Brown, Taylor, Smith, Thompson, Green, Wilson, White, Williams, Walker, Mitchell.

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

robinsonPaternal 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 Robinson 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.

"Robinson" Surname 38.9%

23andMe Users 41.3%




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

"Robinson" Surname 28.2%

23andMe Users 27.9%



Sugary Drink

Drinks one or more sugary drinks per day.

"Robinson" Surname 24.0%

23andMe Users 21.1%




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

"Robinson" Surname 17.7%

23andMe Users 16.4%

Are health conditions linked to the last name Robinson?

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 Robinson 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%