Explore the Family Name Work

The meaning of Work

1. Scottish (Orkney): habitational name from the lands of Work in the parish of Saint Ola, Orkney. 2. English: from Middle English werk ‘earthwork, fortification’, Older Scots wark ‘work, building’ (both from Old English (ge)weorc), a topographic or occupational name for a person who lived or worked at a fort, earthwork, or similar construction, or a habitational name from any place so called, such as Wark (Northumberland). 3. Danish: habitational name from a place so called.

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

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

According to the Decennial U.S. Census data, the popularity of the surname "Work" saw a slight decrease between 2000 and 2010. The surname was ranked 7,980th in 2000 and dropped to 8,599th in 2010, representing a 7.76% decrease in its ranking. Additionally, the number of individuals bearing the "Work" surname also experienced a marginal decline from 3,844 in 2000 to 3,828 in 2010, translating to a decrease of 0.42%. Consequently, the proportion per 100,000 people also fell by 8.45%.

Proportion per 100k1.421.3-8.45%

Race and Ethnicity of people with the last name Work

The distribution of ethnic identity among individuals with the surname "Work" varied significantly between 2000 and 2010 based on the Decennial U.S. Census data. In 2010, the dominant ethnicity for this surname remained white, accounting for 91.01% of the total, although it declined by 1.67% compared to 2000. Significant increases were observed among those identifying as two or more races (a rise of 30.07%), Hispanic (rising by 28.85%), and American Indian and Alaskan Native (increasing by a remarkable 90.32%). There was also a small increase among those identifying as Asian/Pacific Islander (up by 7.69%) and Black (an increase of 1.36%). However, it should be noted that some data was suppressed for privacy reasons.

Two or More Races1.53%1.99%30.07%
American Indian and Alaskan Native0.62%1.18%90.32%
Asian/Pacific Islander0.78%0.84%7.69%

Work 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 Work is British & Irish, which comprises 51.4% of all ancestry found in people with the surname. The next two most common ancestries are French & German (25.5%) and Eastern European (4.2%). Additional ancestries include Italian, Spanish & Portuguese, Scandinavian, Indigenous American, and Ashkenazi Jewish.

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British & Irish51.4%
French & German25.5%
Eastern European4.2%

Possible origins of the surname Work

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 Work have recent ancestry locations in United Kingdom and Ireland.

RECENT ANCESTRY LocationPercentage
Lancashire, United Kingdom91.90%
West Midlands, United Kingdom91.90%
Greater London, United Kingdom91.90%
Greater Manchester, United Kingdom91.90%
Tyne And Wear, United Kingdom91.90%

What Work 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 Work 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-M167 and R-L48, which are predominantly found among people with European and European ancestry. Other surnames with similar common haplogroups are: Blood, Wilbur, Hulsey, Bales, Logue, Elrod, Bunnell, Crenshaw, Westfall, Cloud.

The most common maternal haplogroups of people with Work surname are: K1a, H, H1. These most commonly trace back to individuals of European ancestry.

workPaternal 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 Work 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.

"Work" Surname 41.0%

23andMe Users 41.3%




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

"Work" Surname 18.0%

23andMe Users 27.9%



Sugary Drink

Drinks one or more sugary drinks per day.

"Work" Surname 31.8%

23andMe Users 21.1%




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

"Work" Surname 18.3%

23andMe Users 16.4%

Are health conditions linked to the last name Work?

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 Work 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%