Explore the Family Name Wilhelm

The meaning of Wilhelm

German: from the ancient Germanic personal name Willahalm, composed of the elements wil ‘will, desire’ + helm ‘helmet, protection’. Some characteristic forenames: German Kurt, Otto, Fritz, Hans, Heinz, Ewald, Gerhard, Helmut, Markus, Ralf, Rudie, Balzer.

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

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

Based on the Decennial U.S. Census data, the popularity of the surname Wilhelm has experienced minor changes in the United States between 2000 and 2010. In 2000, the surname Wilhelm was ranked 1666th in terms of popularity across the country, but by 2010, the rank had slightly dropped to 1802nd, marking a decrease of 8.16%. However, the number of people carrying the Wilhelm surname increased from 19,664 in 2000 to 19,913 in 2010, showing an increase of 1.27%. Consequently, the proportion of the Wilhelm surname per 100k people saw a small decrease of 7.41%, moving from 7.29 in 2000 to 6.75 in 2010.

Proportion per 100k7.296.75-7.41%

Race and Ethnicity of people with the last name Wilhelm

Regarding ethnicity, the Decennial U.S. Census data reveals shifts in the ethnic identity of those bearing the Wilhelm surname between 2000 and 2010. The percentage of Wilhelm surname bearers identifying as White saw a slight decrease from 96.12% in 2000 to 94.64% in 2010. Meanwhile, there were significant increases in the percentages of Wilhelm surname bearers identifying as Hispanic, Black, and American Indian and Alaskan Native, with growths of 60.69%, 63.16%, and 75.00%, respectively. Those identifying as Asian/Pacific Islander and Two or more races also changed, with a slight decrease of 3.75% for the former and an increase of 31.75% for the latter.

Two or More Races1.26%1.66%31.75%
Asian/Pacific Islander0.8%0.77%-3.75%
American Indian and Alaskan Native0.16%0.28%75%

Wilhelm 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 Wilhelm is French & German, which comprises 38.4% of all ancestry found in people with the surname. The next two most common ancestries are British & Irish (36.8%) and Eastern European (6.7%). Additional ancestries include Scandinavian, Italian, Spanish & Portuguese, Ashkenazi Jewish, and Indigenous American.

Ready to learn more about your ancestry? Get the most comprehensive ancestry breakdown on the market by taking our DNA test. Shop 23andMe

French & German38.4%
British & Irish36.8%
Eastern European6.7%

Possible origins of the surname Wilhelm

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 Wilhelm have recent ancestry locations in United Kingdom and Ireland.

RECENT ANCESTRY LocationPercentage
Greater Manchester, United Kingdom77.50%
Greater London, United Kingdom77.50%
Glasgow City, United Kingdom77.30%
Merseyside, United Kingdom77.10%
West Midlands, United Kingdom77.10%

What Wilhelm 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 Wilhelm is R-Z159, which is predominantly found among people with European ancestry. Haplogroup R-Z159 is descended from haplogroup R-M343. Other common haplogroups include R-M405 and R-L48, which are predominantly found among people with European and European ancestry. Other surnames with similar common haplogroups are: Meyer, Schaefer, Cooke, Schmidt, Beck, Mueller, Miller, Smith, Schneider, Koch.

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

wilhelmPaternal Haplogroup Origins R-M343
Paternal Haplo Image

Your paternal lineage may be linked to King Louis XVI

The rule of France by men of the House of Bourbon began with King Henri IV in 1589 C.E. and continued until the beheading of his direct paternal descendant King Louis XVI in 1793. Several years ago, researchers analyzed a mummified head and a blood-soaked cloth that they believed might belong to the two kings, and concluded that the royal paternal line belonged to haplogroup G. In a more recent study, however, a different set of researchers tested three living men who are direct descendants of the Bourbon kings. Their efforts revealed that the male lineage of the House of Bourbon is actually a branch of haplogroup R-M405.

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 Wilhelm 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.

"Wilhelm" Surname 40.6%

23andMe Users 41.3%




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

"Wilhelm" Surname 28.5%

23andMe Users 27.9%



Sugary Drink

Drinks one or more sugary drinks per day.

"Wilhelm" Surname 21.6%

23andMe Users 21.1%




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

"Wilhelm" Surname 17.2%

23andMe Users 16.4%

Are health conditions linked to the last name Wilhelm?

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 Wilhelm 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

French & German 60.8%

23andMe Users 57.2%