Explore the Family Name Winter

The meaning of Winter

1. English: from the Middle English (Old English) personal name Winter (Old English Wintra), originally a nickname from the word for ‘winter’ and perhaps still a nickname (see 2 below) in the period of surname formation. 2. German, Dutch, Danish, and Swedish: from Middle High German, Middle Dutch, Danish, Swedish winter ‘winter’ (Old High German wintar, Old Norse vetr), a nickname for someone of a frosty or gloomy temperament, or for someone associated with the season of winter in some other way, e.g. because he was born or found (as a foundling) in this part of the year. The Swedish surname can be ornamental. Compare De Winter. 3. Jewish (Ashkenazic): from German Winter ‘winter’, either an ornamental name or one of the group of names referring to the seasons that were distributed at random by government officials when surnames became compulsory. Compare Sommer, Fruhling, and Herbst. 4. Irish: Anglicized form (part translation) of Gaelic Mac Giolla-Gheimhridh ‘son of the lad of winter’, from geimhreadh ‘winter’. This name is also Anglicized McAlivery. 5. English: occasionally perhaps an occupational name from Middle English winter, a variant of Middle English, Anglo-Norman French viniter, vinter ‘wine merchant’.

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

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

Based on the Decennial U.S. Census data, the surname Winter has seen minor fluctuations in its popularity between 2000 and 2010. In 2000, it held the rank of 1043, but saw a slight decrease to the 1119 rank in 2010, marking a change of -7.29%. Despite this drop in ranking, the number of people with the Winter surname actually increased from 30,721 in 2000 to 31,310 in 2010, representing a growth of 1.92%. However, when viewed in terms of proportion per 100k, the Winter surname saw a decrease from 11.39 to 10.61, translating to a decline of -6.85%.

Proportion per 100k11.3910.61-6.85%

Race and Ethnicity of people with the last name Winter

Shifting focus to the ethnic identity associated with the surname Winter, the Decennial U.S. Census data reveals some interesting shifts between 2000 and 2010. The largest group under this surname remains the White ethnicity, even though their share decreased slightly from 94.61% to 93.02%. On the other hand, the Hispanic representation showed the most significant increase, rising by 66.46% from 1.61% to 2.68%. The percentages of Asian/Pacific Islander and American Indian and Alaskan Native also increased, but remained relatively low. Those identifying as Black or having two or more races saw modest increases as well, indicating an overall diversification in the ethnic identities associated with the name Winter.

Two or More Races1.02%1.29%26.47%
Asian/Pacific Islander0.52%0.63%21.15%
American Indian and Alaskan Native0.35%0.43%22.86%

Winter 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 Winter is British & Irish, which comprises 40.1% of all ancestry found in people with the surname. The next two most common ancestries are French & German (31.0%) and Ashkenazi Jewish (6.8%). Additional ancestries include Scandinavian, Eastern European, Italian, Spanish & Portuguese, and Indigenous American.

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British & Irish40.1%
French & German31.0%
Ashkenazi Jewish6.8%

Possible origins of the surname Winter

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 Winter have recent ancestry locations in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and Ireland.

RECENT ANCESTRY LocationPercentage
Greater London, United Kingdom75.70%
Greater Manchester, United Kingdom75.50%
Merseyside, United Kingdom75.40%
West Midlands, United Kingdom75.30%
Glasgow City, United Kingdom75.20%

What Winter 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 Winter 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-L48 and R-P311, which are predominantly found among people with European and European ancestry. Other surnames with similar common haplogroups are: Miller, Smith, Lang, Taylor, White, Meyers, Kramer, Schaefer, Young, Brown.

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

winterPaternal 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 Winter 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.

"Winter" Surname 43.8%

23andMe Users 41.3%




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

"Winter" Surname 24.7%

23andMe Users 27.9%



Sugary Drink

Drinks one or more sugary drinks per day.

"Winter" Surname 16.7%

23andMe Users 21.1%




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

"Winter" Surname 17.5%

23andMe Users 16.4%

Are health conditions linked to the last name Winter?

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 Winter 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%