History of your Surname
Get access to English family records.Start a free trial

English Family History

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

Search for a relative to learn more about your family history.

Hint: Try searching for a relative alive in 1940.

Black & white image of a young woman scientist

Where is the English family from?

You can see how English families moved over time by selecting different census years. The English family name was found in the USA, the UK, Canada, and Scotland between 1840 and 1920. The most English families were found in USA in 1880. In 1891 there were 908 English families living in Durham. This was about 15% of all the recorded English's in United Kingdom. Durham had the highest population of English families in 1891.
Use census records and voter lists to see where families with the English surname lived. Within census records, you can often find information like name of household members, ages, birthplaces, residences, and occupations.

What did your English ancestors do for a living?

In 1939, General Labourer and Unpaid Domestic Duties were the top reported jobs for men and women in the United Kingdom named English. 8% of English men worked as a General Labourer and 67% of English women worked as an Unpaid Domestic Duties. Some less common occupations for Americans named English were Farm Labourer and Private Means. .

View Census Data for English | Data not to scale

*We display top occupations by gender to maintain their historical accuracy during times when men and women often performed different jobs.

Top Male Occupations In 1939

  • General Labourer
  • Bricklayer
  • Agricultural Labourer
  • Farm Labourer

Top Female Occupations In 1939

  • Unpaid Domestic Duties
  • Unpaid Domestic
  • Housewife
  • Private Means
Black & white image of two construction labourers

What English family records will you find?

Census Records

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 Australian census records for English

Passenger Lists

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

View all English immigration records

Draft Cards

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

Discover More

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

Discover the unique achievements of ancestors in the English family tree

Explore Your Tree
Search for another surname
Start a 14-Day Free Trial