Porter Family History

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Porter Name Meaning

English and Scottish: occupational name for the gatekeeper of a walled town or city, or the doorkeeper of a great house, castle, or monastery, from Middle English porter ‘doorkeeper’, ‘gatekeeper’ (Old French portier). The office often came with accommodation, lands, and other privileges for the bearer, and in some cases was hereditary, especially in the case of a royal castle. As an American surname, this has absorbed cognates and equivalents in other European languages, for example German Pförtner (see Fortner) and North German Poertner. English: occupational name for a man who carried loads for a living, especially one who used his own muscle power rather than a beast of burden or a wheeled vehicle. This sense is from Old French porteo(u)r (Late Latin portator, from portare ‘to carry or convey’). Dutch: occupational name from Middle Dutch portere ‘doorkeeper’. Compare 1. Dutch: status name for a freeman (burgher) of a seaport, Middle Dutch portere, modern Dutch poorter. Jewish (Ashkenazic): adoption of the English or Dutch name in place of some Ashkenazic name of similar sound or meaning.

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

Similar surnames: Portier, Potter, Portner, Porten, Poertner, Porte, Horter, Poster

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Porter Ethnicity Estimate

What are the common regions with the Porter name?

These results combine data from everyone in the AncestryDNA® database with the last name Porter. 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


  • Norway


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Porter Family Origin

Where is the Porter family from?

Porter Family Occupations

What did your Porter ancestors do for a living?

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

View Census data for Porter | Data not to scale

  • Farmer

  • Labourer

  • Agricultural Labourer

  • Coal Miner


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

Porter Historical Records

What Porter family records will you find?

Census Record

There are 1 million census records available for the last name Porter. Like a window into their day-to-day life, Porter 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 Porter

Passenger List

There are 108,000 immigration records available for the last name Porter. 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 Porter immigration records

Draft Card

There are 194,000 military records available for the last name Porter. For the veterans among your Porter ancestors, military collections provide insights into where and when they served, and even physical descriptions.

View all Porter military records

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

Porter Life Expectancy

What is the average Porter lifespan?

Between 1940 and 2004, in the United States, Porter life expectancy was at its lowest point in 1941, and highest in 1998. The average life expectancy for Porter in 1940 was 34, and 74 in 2004.

View Social Security Death Index (SSDI) for Porter

An unusually short lifespan might indicate that your Porter 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 Porter Family Ancestors

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