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Porter Family History

Porter Name Meaning

English and Scottish: occupational name for the gatekeeper of a walled town or city, or the doorkeeper of a great house, castle, or monastery, from Middle English porter ‘doorkeeper’, ‘gatekeeper’ (Old French portier). The office often came with accommodation, lands, and other privileges for the bearer, and in some cases was hereditary, especially in the case of a royal castle. As an American surname, this has absorbed cognates and equivalents in other European languages, for example German Pförtner (see Fortner) and North German Poertner. English: occupational name for a man who carried loads for a living, especially one who used his own muscle power rather than a beast of burden or a wheeled vehicle. This sense is from Old French porteo(u)r (Late Latin portator, from portare ‘to carry or convey’). Dutch: occupational name from Middle Dutch portere ‘doorkeeper’. Compare 1. Dutch: status name for a freeman (burgher) of a seaport, Middle Dutch portere, modern Dutch poorter. Jewish (Ashkenazic): adoption of the English or Dutch name in place of some Ashkenazic name of similar sound or meaning.

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

Similar surnames: Portier, Potter, Portner, Porten, Poertner, Porte, Horter, Poster

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Where is the Porter family from?

You can see how Porter families moved over time by selecting different census years. The Porter family name was found in the USA, the UK, Canada, and Scotland between 1840 and 1920. The most Porter families were found in USA in 1880. In 1840 there were 445 Porter families living in New York. This was about 15% of all the recorded Porter's in USA. New York had the highest population of Porter families in 1840.
Use census records and voter lists to see where families with the Porter surname lived. Within census records, you can often find information like name of household members, ages, birthplaces, residences, and occupations.

What did your Porter ancestors do for a living?

In 1940, Laborer and Maid were the top reported jobs for men and women in the USA named Porter. 16% of Porter men worked as a Laborer and 8% of Porter women worked as a Maid. Some less common occupations for Americans named Porter were Truck Driver and Housekeeper. .

View Census Data for Porter | 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
  • Truck Driver

Top Female Occupations In 1940

  • Maid
  • Housewife
  • Teacher
  • Housekeeper
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What Porter family records will you find?

Census Records

There are 1 million census records available for the last name Porter. Like a window into their day-to-day life, Porter 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 108,000 immigration records available for the last name Porter. 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 194,000 military records available for the last name Porter. For the veterans among your Porter ancestors, military collections provide insights into where and when they served, and even physical descriptions.

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What is the average Porter lifespan?

Between 1940 and 2004, in the United States, Porter life expectancy was at its lowest point in 1941, and highest in 1998. The average life expectancy for Porter in 1940 was 34, and 74 in 2004.

View Social Security Death Index (SSDI) for Porter

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