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John Family History

John Name Meaning

English and Welsh: ultimately from the Hebrew personal name Yoḥanan ‘Jehovah has favored (me with a son)’ or ‘may Jehovah favor (this child)’. This personal name was adopted into Latin (via Greek) as Johannes and has enjoyed enormous popularity in Europe throughout the Christian era being given in honor of Saint John the Baptist precursor of Christ and of Saint John the Evangelist author of the fourth gospel as well as the nearly one thousand other Christian saints who bore the name. Some of the principal forms of the personal name in other languages are: Welsh Ieuan Evan Siôn and Ioan; Scottish Ia(i)n; Irish Séan; German Johann Johannes; Dutch and Slavic Jan; French Jean; Italian Giovanni; Spanish Juan; Portuguese João; Greek Iōannēs (vernacular Giannis Yannis); Russian Ivan. There were a number of different forms of the name in Middle English including Jan(e) a male name (see Jayne ); Jen (see Jenkin ); Jon(e) (see Jones ); and Han(n) (see Hann ). By the beginning of the 14th century John rivalled William in popularity and has always been a favorite name. Johan became Jo(h)n and another Old French form Jehan was shortened to Jan and Jen giving rise to Old French and Middle English diminutives such as Jonin Janin and Jenin. More common in Middle English were Jankin Jonkin and Jenkin which were Middle Dutch pet forms introduced after the Conquest by Flemish and Picard settlers. The most common pet form of John was Jack another borrowing from Flemish and Picard usage. Han may sometimes have been a short form of Johan but was more usually a pet form of Henry. There were also various Middle English feminine versions of this name (e.g. Joan Jehan) some of which were indistinguishable from masculine forms. The distinction on grounds of gender between John and Joan was not firmly established in English until the 17th century. It was even later that Jean and Jane were specialized as specifically female names in English; bearers of these surnames and their derivatives are more likely to derive them from a male ancestor than a female. As a surname in the British Isles John is particularly frequent in Wales where it is a late formation representing Welsh Siôn rather than the older form Ieuan (which gave rise to the surname Evan ). In North America the English form of the surname has absorbed many cognates from other languages e.g. Assyrian/Chaldean Youkhana French Jean Hungarian János (see Janos ) Slovenian Janež and Janeš (see Janes ) Czech Jan Albanian Gjoni and their derivatives (see examples at Johnson ). The name John is also found among Christians in southern India (compare Ninan and Yohannan ) but since South Indians traditionally do not have hereditary surnames the southern Indian name was in most cases registered as such only after immigration of its bearers to the US. German: from a North German and Silesian variant of the personal name Johannes . This surname is also found in France (Alsace and Lorraine). Compare Yohn .

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


Similar surnames: Jahn, Bohn, Hohn, Johns, Hahn, Mohn, Nohr, Rohn, Gohn, Sohn

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Where is the John family from?

You can see how John families moved over time by selecting different census years. The John family name was found in the USA, the UK, Canada, and Scotland between 1840 and 1920. The most John families were found in United Kingdom in 1891. In 1840 there were 73 John families living in Pennsylvania. This was about 25% of all the recorded John's in USA. Pennsylvania had the highest population of John families in 1840.
Use census records and voter lists to see where families with the John surname lived. Within census records, you can often find information like name of household members, ages, birthplaces, residences, and occupations.

What did your John ancestors do for a living?

In 1940, Laborer and Housewife were the top reported jobs for men and women in the USA named John. 17% of John men worked as a Laborer and 7% of John women worked as a Housewife. Some less common occupations for Americans named John were Clerk and Clerk. .

View Census Data for John | 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
    17%
  • Farmer
    14%
  • Salesman
    4%
  • Clerk
    3%

Top Female Occupations In 1940

  • Housewife
    7%
  • Housekeeper
    6%
  • Maid
    6%
  • Clerk
    5%
Black & white image of two construction labourers

What John family records will you find?

Census Records

There are 624,000 census records available for the last name John. Like a window into their day-to-day life, John census records can tell you where and how your ancestors worked, their level of education, veteran status, and more.

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Passenger Lists

There are 103,000 immigration records available for the last name John. 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.

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Draft Cards

There are 173,000 military records available for the last name John. For the veterans among your John ancestors, military collections provide insights into where and when they served, and even physical descriptions.

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What is the average John lifespan?

Between 1941 and 2004, in the United States, John life expectancy was at its lowest point in 1945, and highest in 1985. The average life expectancy for John in 1941 was 46, and 74 in 2004.

View Social Security Death Index (SSDI) for John

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