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Sterling Family History

Sterling Name Meaning

Scottish: variant of Stirling . English: from the Middle English personal name Starling Sterling (Old English Stærling) itself from the bird-name whose use as a nickname may also be another source of the surname. Compare Stare German: from Middle High German sterlinc the name of a coin hence probably a nickname for someone who paid that amount in rent.

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

Similar surnames: Sperling, Starling, Esterline, Vierling, Stelling, Osterling

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Hint: Try searching for a relative alive in 1940.

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Where is the Sterling family from?

You can see how Sterling families moved over time by selecting different census years. The Sterling family name was found in the USA, the UK, Canada, and Scotland between 1840 and 1920. The most Sterling families were found in USA in 1880. In 1840 there were 72 Sterling families living in New York. This was about 20% of all the recorded Sterling's in USA. New York had the highest population of Sterling families in 1840.
Use census records and voter lists to see where families with the Sterling surname lived. Within census records, you can often find information like name of household members, ages, birthplaces, residences, and occupations.

What did your Sterling ancestors do for a living?

In 1940, Laborer and Teacher were the top reported jobs for men and women in the USA named Sterling. 15% of Sterling men worked as a Laborer and 7% of Sterling women worked as a Teacher. Some less common occupations for Americans named Sterling were Clerk and Clerk. .

View Census Data for Sterling | 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

  • Laborer
  • Farmer
  • Salesman
  • Clerk

Top Female Occupations In 1940

  • Teacher
  • Maid
  • Housewife
  • Clerk
Black & white image of two construction labourers

What Sterling family records will you find?

Census Records

There are 133,000 census records available for the last name Sterling. Like a window into their day-to-day life, Sterling census records can tell you where and how your ancestors worked, their level of education, veteran status, and more.

Search US census records for Sterling

Passenger Lists

There are 18,000 immigration records available for the last name Sterling. 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 Sterling immigration records

Draft Cards

There are 27,000 military records available for the last name Sterling. For the veterans among your Sterling ancestors, military collections provide insights into where and when they served, and even physical descriptions.

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You've only scratched the surface of Sterling family history

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What is the average Sterling lifespan?

Between 1940 and 2004, in the United States, Sterling life expectancy was at its lowest point in 1950, and highest in 1998. The average life expectancy for Sterling in 1940 was 49, and 75 in 2004.

View Social Security Death Index (SSDI) for Sterling

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