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French Family History

French Name Meaning

English:: ethnic name for someone from France from Middle English frensh frenche ‘French’ (Old English frencisc) or in some cases perhaps a nickname for someone who adopted French airs. variant of Anglo-Norman French Frain .

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


Similar surnames: Trench, Rench, Wrench, Branch, Frosch, Bench, Krech, Rech, Franca

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 French family from?

You can see how French families moved over time by selecting different census years. The French family name was found in the USA, the UK, Canada, and Scotland between 1840 and 1920. The most French families were found in USA in 1880. In 1840 there were 369 French families living in New York. This was about 18% of all the recorded French's in USA. New York had the highest population of French families in 1840.
Use census records and voter lists to see where families with the French surname lived. Within census records, you can often find information like name of household members, ages, birthplaces, residences, and occupations.

What did your French ancestors do for a living?

In 1940, Farmer and Housewife were the top reported jobs for men and women in the USA named French. 14% of French men worked as a Farmer and 8% of French women worked as a Housewife. Some less common occupations for Americans named French were Truck Driver and Stenographer. .

View Census Data for French | 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 1940

  • Farmer
    14%
  • Laborer
    14%
  • Salesman
    5%
  • Truck Driver
    4%

Top Female Occupations In 1940

  • Housewife
    8%
  • Teacher
    7%
  • Housekeeper
    7%
  • Stenographer
    5%
Black & white image of two construction labourers

What French family records will you find?

Census Records

There are 700,000 census records available for the last name French. Like a window into their day-to-day life, French census records can tell you where and how your ancestors worked, their level of education, veteran status, and more.

Search US census records for French

Passenger Lists

There are 74,000 immigration records available for the last name French. Passenger lists are your ticket to knowing when your ancestors arrived in the USA, and how they made the journey - from the ship name to ports of arrival and departure.

View all French immigration records

Draft Cards

There are 180,000 military records available for the last name French. For the veterans among your French ancestors, military collections provide insights into where and when they served, and even physical descriptions.

View all French military records

You've only scratched the surface of French family history

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What is the average French lifespan?

Between 1940 and 2004, in the United States, French life expectancy was at its lowest point in 1941, and highest in 2003. The average life expectancy for French in 1940 was 43, and 74 in 2004.

View Social Security Death Index (SSDI) for French

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