Explore the Family Name Waters

The meaning of Waters

1. English and Scottish: variant of Water 1 and 2, with genitival or post-medieval excrescent -s. 2. Irish: when not the English surname, this is an Anglicized form of various Gaelic names taken to be derived from uisce ‘water’ (see for example Haskin, Hiskey). History: James Waters came from London, England, to Salem, MA, in 1630. Lawrence Waters came to Charlestown, MA, from Lancaster, England, in 1675.

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

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

Based on the Decennial U.S. Census, the surname Waters has seen a moderate fluctuation in its popularity from 2000 to 2010. In 2000, it ranked as the 455th most common surname, and by 2010, it slipped slightly to 491st place, marking a decrease of 7.91%. Despite this drop in ranking, the actual count of individuals with the surname increased from 65,817 in 2000 to 67,929 in 2010, showing a growth of 3.21%. However, when considering the proportion per 100k people, there was a decline of 5.61% over the decade, indicating that the relative popularity of the surname Waters might have decreased.

Proportion per 100k24.423.03-5.61%

Race and Ethnicity of people with the last name Waters

On the aspect of ethnic identity, the data from the Decennial U.S. Census indicates that there were shifts in the distribution of the Waters surname among different ethnicities between 2000 and 2010. The percentage of individuals with the Waters surname who identified as White decreased slightly from 75.27% to 73.39%. At the same time, the percentage of those identifying as Asian/Pacific Islander, Hispanic, Black, and American Indian and Alaskan Native saw increases. Specifically, the largest increase occurred within the Hispanic community at 58.28%, followed by the Asian/Pacific Islander community at 51.35%. The percentage of Black individuals with the Waters surname also rose marginally from 20.52% to 20.68%. Additionally, there was an increased representation from individuals identifying with two or more races, rising from 1.54% to 2.13%.

Two or More Races1.54%2.13%38.31%
American Indian and Alaskan Native0.79%0.85%7.59%
Asian/Pacific Islander0.37%0.56%51.35%

Waters 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 Waters is British & Irish, which comprises 56.7% of all ancestry found in people with the surname. The next two most common ancestries are French & German (19.9%) and Eastern European (3.7%). Additional ancestries include Scandinavian, Italian, Nigerian, Spanish & Portuguese, and Ashkenazi Jewish.

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British & Irish56.7%
French & German19.9%
Eastern European3.7%

Possible origins of the surname Waters

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 Waters have recent ancestry locations in United Kingdom and Ireland.

RECENT ANCESTRY LocationPercentage
Greater Manchester, United Kingdom87.10%
Greater London, United Kingdom87.10%
Merseyside, United Kingdom86.80%
Glasgow City, United Kingdom86.60%
Tyne And Wear, United Kingdom86.30%

What Waters 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 Waters 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-L2, which are predominantly found among people with European and European ancestry. Other surnames with similar common haplogroups are: Thompson, Taylor, Evans, Lewis, Collins, Robinson, Edwards, James, Dawson, Thomas.

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

watersPaternal 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 Waters 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.



Like Very Hot Weather

Enjoys weather that is hotter than 100 degrees Farenheit.

"Waters" Surname 8.9%

23andMe Users 11.5%




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

"Waters" Surname 28.4%

23andMe Users 27.9%



Sugary Drink

Drinks one or more sugary drinks per day.

"Waters" Surname 23.2%

23andMe Users 21.1%




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

"Waters" Surname 20.2%

23andMe Users 16.4%

Are health conditions linked to the last name Waters?

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 Waters 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%