Explore the Family Name Thomas

The meaning of Thomas

1. English, French, Walloon, Breton, German, Dutch, Flemish, Danish, Greek, West Indian (mainly Haiti and Jamaica), and African (mainly Tanzania and Nigeria): from the personal name Thomas, of Biblical (New Testament) origin, from Aramaic t’ōm’a, a byname meaning ‘twin’. It was borne by one of the disciples of Christ, known for his scepticism about Christ’s resurrection (John 20:24–9). The Th- spelling is organic, the initial letter of the name in the Greek New Testament being a theta. The English pronunciation as t rather than th- is the result of French influence from an early date. In Britain, the surname is widely distributed throughout the country, but especially common in Wales and Cornwall. In North America, the English form of the surname has absorbed many cognates from other languages (e.g. Assyrian/Chaldean or Arabic Toma and Tuma, Albanian Toma and Thoma, and Slavic surnames listed in 3 below), and their patronymics and other derivatives (e.g. Polish Tomaszewski and Slovenian Tomažič; see Tomazic). In France, this surname is most common in the Vosges and Brittany. The name Thomas is also found among Christians in southern India (compare Machan, Mammen, and Oommen), 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. This surname is also very common among African Americans. 2. Native American (e.g. Navajo): adoption of the English personal name Thomas (see 1 above) as a surname. 3. Germanized or Americanized form of Polish Tomas, Tomasz, and Tomaś, Sorbian Tomaš (see also 4 below), Croatian Tomaš and Tomas, Slovenian Tomaš and Tomaž, Czech and Slovak Tomáš, all meaning ‘Thomas’. 4. Germanized or Americanized form of Sorbian Domaš: from the personal name Domaš, a derivative of the Old Sorbian name Domasław based on the Old Slavic element domъ ‘home’, but later associated with the Biblical name Thomas (see 1 above, compare 3 above). History: The surname Thomas of French origin (see 1 above) is listed in the register of Huguenot ancestors recognized by the Huguenot Society of South Carolina.

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

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

Based on the Decennial U.S. Census, the surname Thomas has seen a slight decrease in popularity ranking from 14th place in 2000 to 16th place in 2010. Despite this drop in ranking, the actual count of individuals bearing the Thomas surname increased by 6.39%, from 710,696 in 2000 to 756,142 in 2010. However, the proportion per 100,000 people decreased slightly by 2.7% over the same period.

20002010Change
Rank#14#16-14.29%
Count710,696756,1426.39%
Proportion per 100k263.45256.34-2.7%

Race and Ethnicity of people with the last name Thomas

The ethnic identity associated with the surname Thomas also shifted between 2000 and 2010, according to data from the Decennial U.S. Census. The percentage of individuals identifying as Asian/Pacific Islander or Hispanic with the surname Thomas significantly increased, by 49.69% and 53.01% respectively. There was also a minor increase in those identifying as Black or American Indian and Alaskan Native. Conversely, the percentage of individuals identifying as White or of two or more races saw a decrease of 5.22% and an increase of 29% respectively.

20002010Change
White55.53%52.63%-5.22%
Black38.17%38.75%1.52%
Two or More Races2%2.58%29%
Hispanic1.66%2.54%53.01%
Asian/Pacific Islander1.63%2.44%49.69%
American Indian and Alaskan Native1.01%1.07%5.94%

Thomas 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 Thomas is British & Irish, which comprises 47.3% of all ancestry found in people with the surname. The next two most common ancestries are French & German (20.6%) and Nigerian (5.7%). Additional ancestries include Eastern European, Ghanaian, Liberian & Sierra Leonean, Scandinavian, Italian, and Spanish & Portuguese.

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ANCESTRY BREAKDOWNCOMPOSITION
British & Irish47.3%
French & German20.6%
Nigerian5.7%
Other26.3%
Thomas

Possible origins of the surname Thomas

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 Thomas have recent ancestry locations in United Kingdom and Ireland.

RECENT ANCESTRY LocationPercentage
Greater London, United Kingdom77.00%
Greater Manchester, United Kingdom76.60%
Merseyside, United Kingdom76.50%
Glasgow City, United Kingdom76.50%
West Midlands, United Kingdom76.50%

What Thomas 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 Thomas 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-P311 and R-L21, which are predominantly found among people with European and European ancestry. Other surnames with similar common haplogroups are: Davis, Jones, Lewis, Evans, Williams, James, Phillips, Price, Brown, Morris.

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

thomasPaternal 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 Thomas 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

Thomas

Chocolate Ice Cream

Prefers chocolate flavored ice cream over other flavors.

"Thomas" Surname 40.2%

23andMe Users 41.3%

Traits

Thomas

Misophonia

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

"Thomas" Surname 28.0%

23andMe Users 27.9%

Habits

Thomas

Sugary Drink

Drinks one or more sugary drinks per day.

"Thomas" Surname 23.6%

23andMe Users 21.1%

Wellness

Thomas

Cat Allergy

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

"Thomas" Surname 37.1%

23andMe Users 36.7%

Are health conditions linked to the last name Thomas?

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 Thomas 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%