Explore the Family Name Winfrey

The meaning of Winfrey

English: 1. from the Middle English male personal name Winfrey, probably an Anglo-Norman French form of ancient Germanic Winefrid, Winefred, although it could alternatively be a survival of the rare early Old English name Winefrith or the equally rare Old English Wynfryth. Winefrid and Winefrith are composed of Germanic words for ‘friend’ and ‘peace’, while the first element of Wynfryth is Old English wynn ‘joy’. 2. alternatively perhaps a variant of Winford, a habitational name from Winfrith Newburgh (Dorset), but Winfrey is chiefly found in eastern England (especially Lincolnshire) from the 16th century onward.

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

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

According to the Decennial U.S. Census, the popularity of the Winfrey surname saw slight changes between 2000 and 2010. In 2000, it was ranked 4951 in terms of prevalence, slipping down to 5187 a decade later - a decrease of 4.77%. However, the actual count of people with this surname increased from 6518 to 6740, showing a growth of 3.41%. Despite this rise in overall numbers, the proportion of people named Winfrey per 100,000 decreased by 5.79%.

Proportion per 100k2.422.28-5.79%

Race and Ethnicity of people with the last name Winfrey

The ethnic identity of individuals with the surname Winfrey also shifted somewhat during this period, as per the findings of the Decennial U.S. Census. The number identifying as Asian/Pacific Islander grew by 50%, while those identifying as two or more races saw an increase of 56.77%. The percentage of white individuals decreased slightly by 4.72%, whereas the Hispanic population rose significantly by 72.78%. The proportion of Black individuals remained relatively stable, with a small increase of 0.88%, and the American Indian and Alaskan Native group saw a modest rise of 11.59%.

Two or More Races1.55%2.43%56.77%
American Indian and Alaskan Native0.69%0.77%11.59%
Asian/Pacific Islander0.26%0.39%50%

Winfrey 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 Winfrey is British & Irish, which comprises 50.3% of all ancestry found in people with the surname. The next two most common ancestries are French & German (18.5%) and Nigerian (7.7%). Additional ancestries include Scandinavian, Eastern European, Ghanaian, Liberian & Sierra Leonean, Spanish & Portuguese, and Indigenous American.

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British & Irish50.3%
French & German18.5%

Possible origins of the surname Winfrey

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 Winfrey have recent ancestry locations all within United Kingdom.

RECENT ANCESTRY LocationPercentage
Merseyside, United Kingdom79.70%
West Yorkshire, United Kingdom79.70%
Greater Manchester, United Kingdom79.70%
Greater London, United Kingdom79.70%
West Midlands, United Kingdom79.70%

What Winfrey 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 Winfrey is R-S11477, which is predominantly found among people with European ancestry. Haplogroup R-S11477 is descended from haplogroup R-M343. Other common haplogroups include R-M405 and E-P252, which are predominantly found among people with European and Sub-Saharan African ancestry. Other surnames with similar common haplogroups are: Higbee, Ballew, Bays, Morrell, Bird, Carrier, Stafford, Byrd, Freeman, Rumsey.

The most common maternal haplogroups of people with Winfrey surname are: H1, H, L3. These most commonly trace back to individuals of European ancestry.

winfreyPaternal 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 Winfrey 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.

"Winfrey" Surname 37.8%

23andMe Users 41.3%




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

"Winfrey" Surname 43.3%

23andMe Users 27.9%



Sugary Drink

Drinks one or more sugary drinks per day.

"Winfrey" Surname 17.5%

23andMe Users 21.1%




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

"Winfrey" Surname 15.2%

23andMe Users 16.4%

Are health conditions linked to the last name Winfrey?

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 Winfrey 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%