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

White Family History

White Name Meaning

English: from Middle English white wit (Old English hwīt ‘white’) hence a nickname for someone with white hair or a pale complexion. In some cases it is perhaps from a Middle English survival of the Old English personal name Hwīta a short form of names in Hwīt- (from hwīt ‘white’). The name may also be topographic referring to someone who lived by a bend or curve in a river or road (from Old English wiht ‘bend’) the source of the placename of Great Whyte in Ramsey Huntingdonshire (compare Wight ). This name is also a variant of Wight . The surname White is also very common among African Americans. Irish and Scottish: adopted for any of several Irish and Scottish Gaelic names based on bán ‘white fair’ (see Bain 1 McElwain ) or fionn ‘fair’ (see Finn ). The English surname has been Gaelicized in Ireland as de Faoite. Americanized form (translation into English) of various European surnames meaning ‘white’ for example German Weiss French Blanc Polish Białas (see Bialas ) Slovenian Belec or any other synonymous Slavic surname beginning with Bel- Bev- Biel- or Bil-. Native American: translation into English and shortening of a personal name composed of a word meaning ‘white’ such as Lakota Sioux Waŋbli Ska ‘White Eagle’ (see Whiteeagle ) or Tataŋka Ska ‘White Bull’ (see Whitebull ). In many cases however this surname was probably chosen because it is a very common English surname in North America.

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

Similar surnames: Witt, Wise, Waite, Whitney, Hine, Leite, Wride, Whyte, Whitby, Wire

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 White family from?

You can see how White families moved over time by selecting different census years. The White family name was found in the USA, the UK, Canada, and Scotland between 1840 and 1920. The most White families were found in USA in 1880. In 1891 there were 17,533 White families living in London. This was about 19% of all the recorded White's in United Kingdom. London had the highest population of White families in 1891.
Use census records and voter lists to see where families with the White surname lived. Within census records, you can often find information like name of household members, ages, birthplaces, residences, and occupations.

What did your White 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 White. 6% of White men worked as a General Labourer and 62% of White women worked as an Unpaid Domestic Duties. Some less common occupations for Americans named White were Bricklayer and Incapacitated. .

View Census Data for White | 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
  • Incapacitated
  • Bricklayer

Top Female Occupations In 1939

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

What White family records will you find?

Census Records

There are 5 million census records available for the last name White. Like a window into their day-to-day life, White census records can tell you where and how your ancestors worked, their level of education, veteran status, and more.

Search Australian census records for White

Passenger Lists

There are 493,000 immigration records available for the last name White. 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 White immigration records

Draft Cards

There are 775,000 military records available for the last name White. For the veterans among your White ancestors, military collections provide insights into where and when they served, and even physical descriptions.

View all White military records

You've only scratched the surface of White family history

Discover More

What is the average White lifespan?

Between 1940 and 2004, in the United States, White life expectancy was at its lowest point in 1944, and highest in 2004. The average life expectancy for White in 1940 was 39, and 74 in 2004.

View Social Security Death Index (SSDI) for White

Discover the unique achievements of ancestors in the White family tree

Explore Your Tree

Browse profiles of historical people with the White last name

Search for another surname
Enter last name/surname
Start a 14-Day Free Trial