Explore the Family Name Turner

The meaning of Turner

1. English: occupational name from Middle English t(o)urnour, turner ‘turner’ (Old French to(u)rn(e)our), mainly denoting someone who fashioned small objects of wood, metal, or bone on a lathe, but also a variety of other occupations, including turnspit and translator or interpreter. This surname may have become confused with Toner. In North America, it is also very common among African Americans. 2. English: occasionally perhaps a nickname from Middle English turn-hare, a compound of Middle English tournen ‘to turn, direct, steer’ + hare ‘hare’, a name for someone in charge of the greyhounds in hare coursing or an exaggerated compliment for someone who could run fast. See also Turnbull. 3. English: perhaps also from Middle English t(o)urn(e)our ‘jouster, one who takes part in a tournament’ (Old French tornoieor, tournoieur). 4. South German (rarely Türner): occupational name for a guard in a tower or a topographic name from an agent derivative of Middle High German turn ‘tower’. Compare Thurner. 5. South German (rarely Türner): habitational name for someone from any of various places called Thurn, for example in Austria. Compare Thurner. 6. Slovenian and Croatian: regional occupational or topographic name from tur(e)n, a loanword from German (see 4 above). 7. Jewish (eastern Ashkenazic): habitational name from a place called Turno or Turna, in Poland and Belarus, or from the city of Tarnów (Yiddish Turne) in Poland. 8. Americanized form (translation into English) of any of various like-sounding Jewish surnames or names with similar meaning.

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

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

Based on the Decennial U.S. Census data, the surname Turner has shown a slight decrease in popularity from 2000 to 2010. In the year 2000, Turner was ranked as the 49th most popular surname, but by 2010 it had dropped slightly to the 54th position, marking a decline of 10.2%. However, despite this fall in ranking, the number of people with the surname Turner actually increased from 335,663 in 2000 to 348,627 in 2010, indicating a growth of 3.86%. The proportion per 100,000 people also saw a decrease from 124.43 to 118.19 during this decade.

Proportion per 100k124.43118.19-5.01%

Race and Ethnicity of people with the last name Turner

In terms of ethnicity, the Decennial U.S. Census data reveals a diverse mix for those carrying the surname Turner. From 2000 to 2010, there were increases in the percentages of Turner individuals who identified as Asian/Pacific Islander (0.33% to 0.42%), those who identify with two or more races (1.72% to 2.38%), Hispanic (1.40% to 2.23%), Black (29.31% to 30.13%), and American Indian and Alaskan Native (0.56% to 0.60%). The only group that saw a decrease was those identifying as White, which reduced from 66.67% in 2000 to 64.25% in 2010.

Two or More Races1.72%2.38%38.37%
American Indian and Alaskan Native0.56%0.6%7.14%
Asian/Pacific Islander0.33%0.42%27.27%

Turner 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 Turner is British & Irish, which comprises 54.6% of all ancestry found in people with the surname. The next two most common ancestries are French & German (20.4%) and Nigerian (4.2%). Additional ancestries include Eastern European, Scandinavian, Ghanaian, Liberian & Sierra Leonean, Italian, and Spanish & Portuguese.

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British & Irish54.6%
French & German20.4%

Possible origins of the surname Turner

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 Turner have recent ancestry locations all within the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

RECENT ANCESTRY LocationPercentage
Greater London, United Kingdom83.50%
Greater Manchester, United Kingdom83.40%
Glasgow City, United Kingdom83.10%
Merseyside, United Kingdom82.90%
Lancashire, United Kingdom82.80%

What Turner 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 Turner is R-P311, which is predominantly found among people with European ancestry. Haplogroup R-P311 is descended from haplogroup R-M343. Other common haplogroups include R-M467 and R-L21, which are predominantly found among people with European and European ancestry. Other surnames with similar common haplogroups are: Brown, Green, Hill, Smith, Martin, Wilson, Miller, Johnson, Young, Wright.

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

turnerPaternal 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 Turner 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.

"Turner" Surname 42.1%

23andMe Users 41.3%




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

"Turner" Surname 26.6%

23andMe Users 27.9%



Sugary Drink

Drinks one or more sugary drinks per day.

"Turner" Surname 23.5%

23andMe Users 21.1%



Cat Allergy

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

"Turner" Surname 36.8%

23andMe Users 36.7%

Are health conditions linked to the last name Turner?

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 Turner 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%