John Family History

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John Name Meaning

English, Welsh, German, etc.: ultimately from the Hebrew personal name yo?hanan ‘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 St. John the Baptist, precursor of Christ, and of St. John the Evangelist, author of the fourth gospel, as well as others of the nearly one thousand other Christian saints of the name. Some of the principal forms of the personal name in other European languages are Welsh Ieuan, Evan, Siôn, and Ioan; Scottish Ia(i)n; Irish Séan; German Johann, Johannes, Hans; Dutch Jan; French Jean; Italian Giovanni, Gianni, Ianni; Spanish Juan; Portuguese João; Greek Ioannes (vernacular Yannis); Czech Jan; Russian Ivan. Polish has surnames both from the western Slavic form Jan and from the eastern Slavic form Iwan. There were a number of different forms of the name in Middle English, including Jan(e), a male name (see Jane); Jen (see Jenkin); Jon(e) (see Jones); and Han(n) (see Hann). There were also various Middle English feminine versions of this name (e.g. Joan, Jehan), and some of these 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 feminine 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). As an American family name this form has absorbed various cognates from continental European languages. (For forms, see Hanks and Hodges 1988.) It is used as a given name among Christians in India, and in the U.S. has come to be used as a surname among families from southern India.

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

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

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John Ethnicity Estimate

What are the common regions with the John name?

These results combine data from everyone in the AncestryDNA® database with the last name John. The Ancestry® ethnicity regions shown are top five most common on average for these people.

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  • England & Wales


  • Ireland & Scotland


  • Germanic Europe


  • France


  • Eastern Europe & Russia


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John Family Origin

Where is the John family from?

John Family Occupations

What did your John ancestors do for a living?

In 1880, Farmer, Laborer and Keeping House were the top 3 reported jobs worked by John. A less common occupation for the John family was Farm Laborer. The most common John occupation in the USA was Farmer. 35% of John's were Farmers.

View Census data for John | Data not to scale

  • Farmer

  • Laborer

  • Keeping House

  • Farm Laborer


Census records can tell you a lot of little known facts about your John ancestors, such as occupation. Occupation can tell you about your ancestor's social and economic status.

John Historical Records

What John family records will you find?

Census Record

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.

Search 1940's US census records for John

Passenger List

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 Card

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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You've only scratched the surface of John family history.

John Life Expectancy

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

An unusually short lifespan might indicate that your John ancestors lived in harsh conditions. A short lifespan might also indicate health problems that were once prevalent in your family. The SSDI is a searchable database of more than 70 million names. You can find birthdates, death dates, addresses and more.

Famous John Family Ancestors

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