English Family History

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English Name Meaning

English: from Old English Englisc. The word had originally distinguished Angles (see Engel) from Saxons and other Germanic peoples in the British Isles, but by the time surnames were being acquired it no longer had this meaning. Its frequency as an English surname is somewhat surprising. It may have been commonly used in the early Middle Ages as a distinguishing epithet for an Anglo-Saxon in areas where the culture was not predominantly English--for example the Danelaw area, Scotland, and parts of Wales--or as a distinguishing name after 1066 for a non-Norman in the regions of most intensive Norman settlement. However, explicit evidence for these assumptions is lacking, and at the present day the surname is fairly evenly distributed throughout the country. Irish: see Golightly.

Source: Dictionary of American Family Names ©2013, Oxford University Press

Similar surnames: Anguish, England, Inglis, Mellish, Enis, Eglin, Angles, Ellis, Klish

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English Ethnicity Estimate

What are the common regions with the English name?

These results combine data from everyone in the AncestryDNA® database with the last name English. The Ancestry® ethnicity regions shown are top five most common on average for these people.

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  • England & Wales


  • Ireland & Scotland


  • Germanic Europe


  • Cameroon, Congo, & Southern Bantu Peoples


  • Benin/Togo


Your own DNA-based ethnicity estimate will differ from what you see here. To get your personalized ethnicity estimate, order an AncestryDNA® kit.order an AncestryDNA® kit.

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English Family Origin

Where is the English family from?

English Family Occupations

What did your English ancestors do for a living?

In 1881, the most common English occupation in the UK was Coal Miner. 4% of English's were Coal Miners. A less common occupation for the English family was Farmer. Coal Miner, Agricultural Labourer and Labourer were the top 3 reported jobs worked by English.

View Census data for English | Data not to scale

  • Coal Miner

  • Agricultural Labourer

  • Labourer

  • Farmer


Census records can tell you a lot of little known facts about your English ancestors, such as occupation. Occupation can tell you about your ancestor's social and economic status.

English Historical Records

What English family records will you find?

Census Record

There are 339,000 census records available for the last name English. Like a window into their day-to-day life, English census records can tell you where and how your ancestors worked, their level of education, veteran status, and more.

Search 1891 UK census records for English

Passenger List

There are 44,000 immigration records available for the last name English. Passenger lists are your ticket to knowing when your ancestors arrived in the UK, and how they made the journey - from the ship name to ports of arrival and departure.

View all English immigration records

Draft Card

There are 84,000 military records available for the last name English. For the veterans among your English ancestors, military collections provide insights into where and when they served, and even physical descriptions.

View all English military records

You've only scratched the surface of English family history.

English Life Expectancy

What is the average English lifespan?

Between 1940 and 2004, in the United States, English life expectancy was at its lowest point in 1946, and highest in 2000. The average life expectancy for English in 1940 was 45, and 73 in 2004.

View Social Security Death Index (SSDI) for English

An unusually short lifespan might indicate that your English ancestors lived in harsh conditions. A short lifespan might also indicate health problems that were once prevalent in your family. The SSDI is a searchable database of more than 70 million names. You can find birthdates, death dates, addresses and more.

Famous English Family Ancestors

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