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Porter Family History

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 and Older Scots porter(e) port(o)ur ‘doorkeeper gatekeeper’ (Anglo-Norman French port(i)er portur Latin portarius). 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. The name has been established in Ireland since the 13th century. In North America this surname has absorbed cognates and equivalents in other languages for example German Pförtner (see Fortner ) and 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 Middle English port(o)ur porter ‘porter carrier of burdens’ (Anglo-Norman French portur porteo(u)r). Dutch: variant mostly Americanized of Poorter status name for a freeman (burgher) of a town Middle Dutch portere modern Dutch poorter. Compare De Porter . Jewish (Ashkenazic): adoption of the English or Dutch name (see above) in place of some original Ashkenazic surname of similar sound or meaning.

Source: Dictionary of American Family Names 2nd edition, 2022

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

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Where is the Porter family from?

You can see how Porter families moved over time by selecting different census years. The Porter family name was found in the USA, the UK, Canada, and Scotland between 1840 and 1920. The most Porter families were found in USA in 1880. In 1891 there were 3,415 Porter families living in Lancashire. This was about 16% of all the recorded Porter's in United Kingdom. Lancashire had the highest population of Porter families in 1891.
Use census records and voter lists to see where families with the Porter surname lived. Within census records, you can often find information like name of household members, ages, birthplaces, residences, and occupations.

What did your Porter 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 Porter. 8% of Porter men worked as a General Labourer and 64% of Porter women worked as an Unpaid Domestic Duties. Some less common occupations for Americans named Porter were Farmer and Private Means. .

View Census Data for Porter | 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
  • Builders Labourer
  • Bricklayer
  • Farmer

Top Female Occupations In 1939

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

What Porter family records will you find?

Census Records

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 Australian census records for Porter

Passenger Lists

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

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Draft Cards

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.

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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

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