Explore the Family Name Walker

The meaning of Walker

English (mainly North and Midlands) and Scottish: occupational name for a fuller, from Middle English walker, Old English wealcere (an agent derivative of wealcan ‘to walk, tread’), ‘one who trampled cloth in a bath of lye or kneaded it, in order to strengthen it’. This was the regular term for the occupation during the Middle Ages in western and northern England. Compare Fuller and Tucker. As a Scottish surname it has also been used as a translation of Gaelic Mac an Fhucadair ‘son of the fuller’. This surname is also very common among African Americans. History: The name was brought to North America from northern England and Scotland independently by many different bearers in the 17th and 18th centuries. Samuel Walker came to Lynn, MA, c.1630; Philip Walker was in Rehoboth, MA, in or before 1643. The surname was also established in VA before 1650; a Thomas Walker, born in 1715 in King and Queen County, VA, was a physician, soldier, and explorer.

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

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

According to the Decennial U.S. Census, the surname Walker showed a slight variation in popularity between the years of 2000 and 2010. In 2000, Walker was the 28th most common surname; however, by 2010 it had slightly declined in popularity, ranking at number 31. This represents a 10.71% decrease in its rank. Despite this slight dip in popularity, the total number of people with the surname Walker actually increased from 501,307 to 523,129, a growth rate of 4.35%. As a proportion per 100,000 people, Walkers made up 185.83 individuals in 2000, while this figure fell slightly to 177.34 in 2010, a decrease of 4.57%.

Proportion per 100k185.83177.34-4.57%

Race and Ethnicity of people with the last name Walker

The Decennial U.S. Census data also provides insights into the ethnic identity associated with the surname Walker between the years 2000 and 2010. The percentage of Walkers identifying as Asian/Pacific Islander grew from 0.35% to 0.45%, an increase of 28.57%. Those reporting two or more ethnicities also increased, rising from 1.80% to 2.55%, a significant jump of 41.67%. The percentage identifying as White decreased from 61.25% to 58.66%, a drop of 4.23%. The Hispanic population of Walkers rose from 1.60% to 2.41%, a dramatic increase of 50.63%. Those identifying as Black saw a subtle increase from 34.17% to 35.05%, a growth rate of 2.58%. Lastly, those identifying as American Indian and Alaskan Native comprised 0.83% of Walkers in 2000, rising marginally to 0.87% in 2010, a 4.82% increase.

Two or More Races1.8%2.55%41.67%
American Indian and Alaskan Native0.83%0.87%4.82%
Asian/Pacific Islander0.35%0.45%28.57%

Walker 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 Walker is British & Irish, which comprises 52.3% of all ancestry found in people with the surname. The next two most common ancestries are French & German (20.7%) and Nigerian (4.7%). Additional ancestries include Eastern European, Scandinavian, Ghanaian, Liberian & Sierra Leonean, Italian, and Spanish & Portuguese.

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British & Irish52.3%
French & German20.7%

Possible origins of the surname Walker

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 Walker have recent ancestry locations all within United Kingdom.

RECENT ANCESTRY LocationPercentage
Glasgow City, United Kingdom83.50%
Greater London, United Kingdom83.50%
Merseyside, United Kingdom83.20%
Greater Manchester, United Kingdom83.10%
West Midlands, United Kingdom83.10%

What Walker 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 Walker 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-L21 and R-P311, which are predominantly found among people with European and European ancestry. Other surnames with similar common haplogroups are: Taylor, Smith, Thompson, Brown, White, Wilson, Thomas, Clark, Williams, Robinson.

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

walkerPaternal 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 Walker 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.

"Walker" Surname 40.8%

23andMe Users 41.3%




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

"Walker" Surname 28.3%

23andMe Users 27.9%



Sugary Drink

Drinks one or more sugary drinks per day.

"Walker" Surname 23.0%

23andMe Users 21.1%




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

"Walker" Surname 18.2%

23andMe Users 16.4%

Are health conditions linked to the last name Walker?

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 Walker 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%