Last name: White

Recorded as White, Wight, Whyte, and the unusual Whight, this is an English surname of the most ancient origins. It has a number of possible origins. In the single spellings of White or Wita, it appears in the very earliest surviving registers such as the famous Anglo-Saxon Chronicles of the pre 9th century a.d. Whilst translating as white, the early name referred either to a baby, one who was "unblemished", or it may have been for some nameholders an ethnic term given to a Viking or Anglo-Saxon, who were pale in hair and complexion compared with the original native Celts, who were dark. Another possible origin is residential. If so this could describe somebody who lived at a "wiht", generally regarded as being the bend of a river, but in some areas of the country could describe a stretch of land suitable for grazing. It could also mean "The wait", as in the village name of White in Devon, which originally, it is claimed, denoted a place suitable for an ambush! Lastly the name can be Huguenot 17th century. Many French people called 'Blanc' fled France after 1685, and in England they changed their name to White. Early examples of the surname recording taken from surving charters and egisters include: Ordgar se Wite of Somerset in the year 1070, Walter le Wytte in London in 1284, and William le Wytt, in the Subsidy Rolls of York in 1327. Amongst many interesting recordings is that of William White, who sailed on the famous ship "Mayflower" in 1620. Sadly he lived only a short time and was recorded as being buried at "Elizabeth Cittie, Virginea" in 1624. The Ancient and Feudal Arms of England show that a Sir John White (also spelt Whyght) in the time of King Edward 11 (1307-1327), was listed as having fought at the battle of Boroughbridge in Yorkshire 1322, when the Scots were defeated. The first recorded spelling of the family name is believed to be that of Alwin Wit. This was dated 1086, in the Domesday Book for Hampshire, during the reign of King William 1, known as "The Conqueror", 1066 - 1087.

© Copyright: Name Origin Research 1980 - 2015

Want to dig deeper into your family history? Take a look at our page on building a Family Tree. Or get scientific and enter the exciting world of Ancestral DNA!

Surname Scroll

Enjoy this name printed onto our colourful scroll, printed in Olde English script. An ideal gift. View Details.
PayPal Acceptance Mark
Surname Scroll


Lisa white, daughter of James (jimmy) white, his dad my grandad was also James white all from Dublin Ireland.

Johnny white

Just trying to find information on my family

James Andrew White

Hi James White here! My Great grandfather lived in Dunmuckrim Ballyshannon Co Donegal Ireland. His name was James White as well. His father was William Andrew White and may have been in the British army!!

James Andrew White

Hi James White from Ireland . A relative William White had 17 children and had a photo in the Washington Post in the 1930's

Lauren White

welsh by birthplace, fully english by ancestry (mum and dad both southern english)

Patrick Noel white

Son of Stanley white grandson of Samuel Doyle white of Indianapolis in

Ronald L White

Surname was a very good read , we have a big family :-)

Jerry J. White

My family came to America in 1703. Landed in Delaware and ended up in what is now West Virginia.

Rozanne Faulkner

Great information about the White surname. You've posted much that I did not know. There is one item that needs correction. There were 2 by name of William White. One sailed on the Mayflower, 1620, and died there the following winter. The other was an early settler of Jamestown Virginia and probably the one you noted that died in 1624. Another most interesting character was John White, the artist of Frobisher Expeditions 1577 (?) and the Governor of the Lost Virginia Dare Colony 1587, in what is now North Carolina.

Scott White

Hello everyone. My White family dates back 10 generations till before the revolution. There were 3 brothers that came out of a village, with a river curve, north of Portsmouth. My ancestor co-founded a town in Conneticut then later generations moved across to Chicago and after the civil war, Wisconsin. I'm also an Underhill. If you look at the statistics we Whites number over 2 million in the USA.

Scott White

How many Scott White's do you think there are?

brittany white
glad to be a white, whites are always right!

John White (South Africa)

Hi Brittany, You must be a descendant of the West Yorkshire Whites!! My Great Grandfather came to the Cape in 1879 from Allerton, and they were known to be independent and single minded. - Great blog.

Charlotte Ann White

I am a West Yorkshire White too! :)

Gayle Reynolds
William White (Mayflower) is my 11th Great-grandfather. He died in Plymouth, only a few months after the Pilgrims arrived, during their first winter. The information is recorded in William Bradford's (1st Governor of the colony) journal. Wm. White was not buried in Virginia.

John White
Hello Whites
My name is John White, Sr. I live the State of Maine and am presently exploring my family history. My greatgrand (5) mother's name was McKinney/McKenney (in some instances it the same name) most information states she was from N. Ireland possibly Ulster (Scot-Irish?)
She is reported to have been born around 1724-25, married a Nicholas White (who was killed by Indians) they had one son. She then married a Beveridge and lived in Vinalhaven, ME. Her fathers name is listed as Matthew McKenney/McKinney and he made his home in Georgetown, ME. I am not sure if they came right to Maine from Ireland or to one of the other states and then moved to Maine. Haven't seen much mention of the New England area here, but any information that comes to mind would be greatly appreciated

Shukura Whyte
I came here to see about my last name which is spelled "Whyte" I hope I count In the family! :D

karlie bates (white)
Hi everyone, looking for ancestors raymond richardson white came over to australia on a boat called the Glenalvon in 1912 with his father thomas richardson white b 1871 and mother ethel may frances white (long) b 1887 lived in tooting england (wandsworth) district , they also had a daughter named irene elinor frances white born in england they had more kids when they got to australia but have come to a dead end. If anyone can help it would be very grateful. reply to thanks again

patrick white
cool proud to be a white :-)

Patrick White

My name is Patrick White too! Hello!

Casper White
I am from Plymouth, Devon, England, Originally from Yeovil, Summerset but my Grandmother family is Scottish and my Grandfathers side is Welsh

Casper White
Wow that is very interesting and very good history. proud to be a white

David James white
I can only go back to 1920s, my grandfather was a sign writer. He also had some shops in the center of London i think they were shops to get your clothes washed. My father David more white Was also from the centre of London he moved to the northeast of England were i live today

Barbara White
Had no idear the name white went so far back white is my dad side of the family and they live in the staff area and have done for a very long time something to chance up on

Brittany White
wow i had no idea that White went back so far. I've always wanted to know more about my family history but i could never really find anything related to the name White.

WOWWW,, after reading all these comments, I knew my great Grand father's family name was white, which has been changed to another family name, I am searching my white family name trying to know where its originated,,, I've been told our origin from some where part of Europe, I would like to go back to my origin family name WHITE ,,,,

were do u think dooley came from? Dunne europe ireland

Maria White
My great great grandmother was Elizabeth White from the Lynchburg/Danville area of Virginia. You can view a scanned image of the recorded grant at the state of Virginia's records & deeds website that is dated 1725 and mentions king George the third.

adena hunter
Hi my name is Adena Michelle White Hunter. White is my maiden name, my grandpa told me he I was from Scotland, but I would like to know if I was. My married name is Hunter and I would like to find a family tree for him. So if anybody can give me information it would be appreciated. Thank you. you can contact me at

David White
Dave White in California here. My family came to America in like 190?. I been to Ireland and met family still living there. Any Whites' or Cooks' from Moville Donegal?

Greg White
Hi David, I also have family in Ireland that are White's and Cooks. Hey, what do you know- We are first cousins. Hey Dave- behave yourself.

Stephanie White
You are too funny Greg. See you all the the reunion next month! :)


My maidens me was white from Boston last own relative grand fatherJohn White of Boston,I am 80 years old so do the math please

Cheyenne malaha white
well i asked one of my teachers what my name meant. he said that Cheyenne was Native American but he had no idea what the other parts to my name meant so i wanted to find out Malaha is Native American as well and i guess white comes from different places in Europe. i have a very big family and really none of them can tell me much about our family tree so now i am trying to figure it out

Jeannette Lomas (nee White)
Well, I am a White from Hampshire UK. I can imagine that the surname is very common - the Irish have a "lass öf the white shoulders", in their legends; English medieval tales have an Iseult of the White Hands although I think she may have come from Brittany. Anyone with something pale or blond or in fact living beside one of the derivatives of the name would be called White or Whyte or de Witt or whatever. It must go back to antiquity, as with other colour survames. As for being royal - come on - it suc h a long time ago if correct that it is even less important than being of Hugenot stock or having a Native American surname like White Cloud (oh, please change it back someone), as the latter are more recent. My mum was a Stubbington - try finding out about that one.

Wayne White
My Grandpa Noah White was born in Lafayette, Tennessee and a few of his Grandpas were there after the Whites moved from Bedford, Virginia in the early 1800's. According to a researcher in Lafayette, my Great-Grandpa's nickname was "Injun" so I think he may have been Native American. I've gotten as far back as my 5th Great Grandpa Joseph White in Bedford, VA.

Shery Largent
My grandfather came from Ireland to Virgina in 1872 his name was John WHite. He apparently had two half brothers named Will and Ed. I wonder if your family has his connections to John White?

rhonda webb
my grandfather's name willian v. white. he was born 10/22/1896 i no he lived in lafollette,tn.

Koby White
What about the White's that changed their name from MacGregor to White during the proscription of that name in the 1600's in Scotland. The MacGregors had to renounce their name or die. Most changed their name., i.e. Whyte/White, Black, Greer, Gregory, Adams, Orr. Obviously that line did not come from England. So not all Whites are related. I've done DNA testing and Im only related to two other White's out of many that have tested.

John White
My great grandfather arrived in Manchester from Dublin in the mid to late 1800's and from what I can understand possibly changed the spelling of his name from Whyte to White. I have no living relatives that I can refer to trace his ancestral routes or for that matter distant relatives. (he married a Fraser from Paisley and had 9 children one of which was my grandfather Henry White) I would very much like to get in touch with possible relatives.

Daniel white
Interesting. I have a grandfather from Belfast who did the same thing.

Daniel white
But his father was from Scotland - a place called girvan. It looks like we were originally white in Scotland but that it changed to whyte in Ireland - so perhaps that was just the trendy way to spell it at the time. When his son ran away to Australia at the age of 14 (my grandfather) he changed the spelling again to white. Note koby's comments about the highland clearances and the adoption of surnames. Also you will have difficulty finding church records in Scotland before 1800 as most are lost/destroyed. Go and visit the area near the isle of scone if you can and take some golf clubs and a camera.

Mary Maurer
My maiden name is White. My father was from the US state of Georgia and we can go back only to my grandfather Charlie of Blakly, GA and his father William J White born 1852 in Clay county, GA. Would love to know about the Georgia branch of Whites?

Denise White Rexford
Hi, I am a White too. My White side came from Georgia. Have you any names to see if we are the same line? I know there are two different White families in Georgia. Denise

Scott White

I've met blacks in Atlanta with a surname of White. They claim to have been owned by a local "White" surnamed family.

LeRoy J. White
My name is LeRoy White. The only research I have done on the family is to trace my Great Grandfather, Gearge White who lived in Wisconsin, to New York in the mid eighteen hundreds. Anything beyond that gets into judgement calls. What I have seen, in what research I have done, however, is that the White name has many origins: from Scotland where names were changed because a family was outlawed, to Russia because a name couldn't be pronounced when the family disembarked at Ellis island, to using a slave holders name as been suggested in other entries. Most of my family say we came from England but that may be only guessing also. Good luck in finding our actual origins as sometimes the records are scarce or non existent.

dylan white
i,m a white and have traced the white surname which is very common in wiltshire too

Jon Milton
Well, I did some research and my however many greats grandpa was Peregrine White, the first white baby to be born in the New World. I do believe they were of Irish origin. Somehow the family must have migrated to West Viriginia because that's where we're at now.

derek white
Where at in wv are you located..Morgantown and greer..thats where my family is from and most of my family lived and stayed. Email me,

sharon radabaugh
I am from Peregrine white died in 1704. Dont have the birth date.His wife was sarah bassett born in 1630 no death date.Our famil of whites were from Ireland. Going back to Thomas White 1515 t0 1588. I ran onto a website that had all this info and now i cant find it again.l

Martyn Chappell
I would just like to chuck in my comments about where the whites come from, my mother has traced back our family history starting from the one side of the family going back to the sixteen hundreds gradually bringing in other sides of the family up to my fathers side of the family, and my great granfather on my mothers side was William White and his father was Solomon White. She found out that there were generations of Whites that was born in Sherrington in Wiltshire and my Great Grandfather came to Wales to live with one or two of his brothers so there are a few Whites dotted around Wales as well. Just thought I would comment on this as I have found out that there have been so many male Whites in our family history that I wonder how many of them I may be related to with the ones that are around today.

sharon radabaugh
I have a lot of the whites going back to governor john white 1540-1593 to my uncles in 1975. my mom was a daughter of patrick and ida isenhart white. she was born in 1915-1967. Any information would be appreciated. They lived in Roan co. west virginia.

Steven White
My name is Steven White, my dad was born in Olathe, Kansas in 1929 on January 3rd. His name was Donald Alvin White. I would truly love to find out more about the family. Does anyone have ties to him? You can email me at

christopher joseph white
I live in Portsmouth was born in Gosport Hampshire England I have traced back to 1795 and my family come from Wotton Under Edge .Glous

Paul white
Hi uncle Chris, I'd like to see your records on dating back our family I was just skimming through this site and saw your post

NORTHERN Ireland to the core
Irish your wrong. Its from England middle ages but obviously Wales being part of England anyway, it doesn't matter.

Sean White
I am Irish from N Ireland from the Whites in Liverpool whose roots go back to Ireland

Irish to the bone
I just wanna say as a White myself that the name does NOT originate from England but from Wales

John White
I am trying to trace distant relatives, my grandfather was Henry White, whose father was a White (Whyte?) from Dublin who moved to Manchester in the mid 1800's and worked as a boiler-maker in Manchester Docks. He married a Fraser from Paisley and they had nine children one of whom was my grandfather, he in turn married Mary Jane Whalley (from Whalley - Blackburn). We have lost track of any White, Whalley or Fraser relatives and would very much wish to get in touch with any.

henry white
dont know if this is any help but my grandfather moved to england inthe 1800 he was a boilermaker in a shipyard i dont know which one myfather was also aboilermaker he had 5children beatrice george henry elizabeth ellen hope this can be of some help

All I know is that my great grandfather's name was John White and he was from England, His wife was black and they had two or three sons, one of which was my grandfather and a daughter. My family is from Louisiana.

Vince White
I generally look at Surnames as being of a very organic origin Aaron. Say for example White meaning pale, fair in skin or complexion. Whereas Black and Smith from the job black smith. Shoemaker , Baker , Butcher , ect. Gray being of fair coloured hair. All sorts. RobertSon son of Robert ect ect. And over time they morphed into other names. You have to remember than in the middle ages where our name originated, there were lots of people who couldn't read or write. So many names got added to or taken off of because people didn't in some cases, know how to spell their own name. Sometimes when information must be entered officially they will be asked and agree to the first spelling of a name for example. Whereas it may be different all these avenues make for interesting findings when looking up your trees.

Aaron E White
I was told that the name "White" was because our ancestors lived by a lake. I must say I'd have much preferred that than it meaning an unblemished baby, or pale Viking.

Denise White
Don't forget the Native Americans also have the last name White. Remember they had to change their last names to get jobs. My father is a full blooded Cherokee and our last name was not orginaly White it was White Cloud but in order to my ancestors to get jobs they had to change their last name from White Cloud to White. I strongly suggest that all of you do some research on your family history especially on the White side allot of you will see their are allot of Native Americans that were in your family.

Carol Hardy-White
In my rush to post I deleted some information. I was originally researching the surname Scott my Grandma's and my name is Carol not Caro!

Caro Hardy-White
Well all the above is very fascinating. I originally was , but became transfixed with the White family name comments above my Grandads surname. I just know the last couple of generations were based around Manchester.

Vince White
I did say that Denise. I think

Denise White
Vince slaves took the owners last names.

Vince White
I don't think we have royal blood Ben to be fair. A lot of my grandad's family were from Fulham and all over London. His mother was a servant :( But who knows ? There are some very famous Whites out there. I have to admit your the first White-Overton I have come across. I assume when names get double barrelled that both sides have strong or high profile standing and neither will back down so form a mix, two big households come together. Someone sent me a link to a book about the Whites from England and all the offshoots, historically. If I find it I shall post it up. Might prove interesting. : ) I know there have been Whites from England since 1066, One thing I notice is how often the same middle names come up, in my mothers side, the Scottish side, there is a tendency to use full names of other relatives as middle names, such as Johnson William for example. Has anyone else come across this ? I'm assuming so links to other names are not lost ? In my grandad's (mother's) side there are lots of people with a middle name BROWN. Now brown is not a forename, it must be a older family name. Now this is interesting as on my father's side, his mother's maiden name is BROWN. So perhaps both sides of my family are distantly related to each other. Also makes me smile the White/Brown mix.

Ben White-Overton
Hi Firstly I must say I find the comments here fascinating and it's very interesting to where other White's have traced their line and backgrounds to. To add mine to the mix I am Ben White-Overton, my father Edward James White-Overton, my grandfather James Edward White-Overton and my great grandfather Edward James White-Overton. I have traced my descendants back to the early 1800's, there has always been a James/Edward White-Overton in the line, the two names must have become double barrelled at some point before then. According to my grandfather our family has always been based in Putney, South West London but my greatgrandfather wore the cap badge of the East Sussex Regiment in WWI which doesn't suggest Putney origin , but then itsn't far off Putney or Hampshire (where it seems most Whites orginated) either. I think seeing as White is the 16th most common name in UK (according to wikipedia), it is little wonder how, somewhere down the line, we can claim relatives of royal blood. I would be really interested if anyone else has more information on this trace. One fact certainly rings true, White a very authentic British name!

Vince White
Hi Beth. Yes I think it would be safe to assume that most of your relatives are probably of British Isles stock. As most modern Americans. Around 45% of you guys claim to have British blood and thats probably right. Just comparing the place names gives you some idea of how many Brits were in the US, especially in the early days. A lot of you guys might not know that places such as Boston and New York have been named to remember where the people were from. Less so New York (named after the Duke of York) but places such as New England, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Manchester, ect. Also White is one of the most popular names in both England and America and wikipedia (which is far more reliable for information now) says : White is a surname of English origin.[1] It is the sixteenth most common surname in the United Kingdom.[2] In the 1990 United States Census, 'White' ranked fourteenth among all reported surnames in frequency, accounting for 0.28% of the population. The likelihood is your from British primarily English stock a few generations back : ) How bad are your teeth ?

Beth White
I love all the posts. I'm Beth White, and I live in Tennessee. I've gathered information that my White relatives lived in North Carolina a few centuries ago. I would love to know my heritage. I'm fair complected and assume I'm English, Scottish, or Norse origins. Thanks to all who post comments.

christoper joseph white
My name is christopher white and the white name is from anglo saxon and i live in the south of england Hampshire what was part of Wessex in saxon times

Vince White
What I do find interesting is the amount of Black american men with the name Vince White. I hope that the name has developed naturally in all areas of society and not just because Whites were slave owners :(( I would say one thing though, I only judge people on the content of their hearts and minds nothing else. But i do hate when a lot of black mainly Americans bang on about their ancestors and slavery. If someone can say, white man took my freedom they must also accept that white man gave them theirs. Also, looking into my own history- my grandfather's mother was a servant - essentially a slave herself.

Vince White
Cool :-) !

Denise White
My name is Denise White. My father is Fredrick White whom was a full blooded Cherokee Indian. Allot of NATIVE AMERICANS have the White last name also because they changed their last names in order to get jobs. Also allot of NATIVE AMERICANS also married Germans, Irish, Scottish and English aslo. My lastname was originaly WHITE CLOUD.

My maternal DNA showed ancestry in Great Britain, Sweden and the Ukraine. So much more research to do. Be interesting to know whether or not the Whites are related to the Windsor's. I need to do more research.

Vince White
I understand. I wasn't trying to offend you in any way. I just have strong evidence that the majority of Whites are primarily from the south of england, home counties and indeed the Isle of Wight.

Vince White
Thats funny. I have lots of Scottish relatives breaking into the Whyte. but NO Irish. I think the Irish angle is a bit of a miss turn for most people Whites have been in England & Scotland since 899 as far as I have been able to find out. So far

Louise Ni Mheachair
For people wondering why they have Irish ancestors with the surname White. The name came to Ireland in the 12th century with the Anglo-Normans. It was originally 'le Whyte'. It became hibernicised to 'de Faoite' as the Normans mixed with the Gaelic('more Irish than the Irish themselves' as the saying goes)and then re anglicised in the 17th century back to 'White'. Hope that helps clear things up. =)

Randy L White
Paul L White is full irishman I part irish in me and White is 50 name ireland and I am pound to be irish and german. And i know some irish and reason I am in irish I eat food on saints patricks day and listen to irish music

Jennifer White de Hernandez
I always heard we were blue blooded from some of my older relatives, they say we are related to the Windsors, but I didn't believe it, after reading this thread, maybe I should look into it. hmmmm, very interesting.

Helen Edwards
found out G/G/ grandparents Mathew White born 1836 Ireland and Margaret White born 1842 Ireland had 7 children Also update Annie Wilhemina White G/Grandmother born Seacombe cheshire 1873

Michael White
Traced my White family lineage back to Ireland in the 1840's...but that's as far as I got. No idea how they got to Ireland, or where they lived before they got there.

sharon radabaugh
My grandfather Patrick White family was from Ireland. He was born in wv. may 1873

George Calcut
My g-grandfather, James "Jimmie" Walter White was born in Tipperary, Ireland in 1827 and his wife, Mary Burke White was born in County Cork, Ireland June, 1832. They married in London in 1851 and came to the U.S. in 1854. Lived in New York, and eventually moved to Baldwin, Minnesota where they are both buried.

Helen Edwards
My Great Grandma was Annie Wilhemina White possibly born in 1873 0r 1880 not sure but married Samuel Boyle in 1901 in West Derby Liverpool.She may have been born in Dublin

Vince White
Hmmm this is all very interesting. I beleive the Whites are from Hampshire in the main as I am from Hampshire and lots of my family the same. We do have a lot of London connections and indeed Scottish branches too. I think it is a very good theory the Scandanavian angle. I do feel we are from the UK in main and for quite a lot of generations but as you say we came from somewhere first. I shall research this angle my eyes have been opened. :D

Alec McWhitty
thats why u guys say they came from ireland..... vikings had a huge part in the history of ireland even there capital dublin was an old viking settlement

Alec McWhitty
john white is right.... white originated from the old norse word....Witta.... originally wecta..... direct descendant of the norse god woden..... it was brought here by the jutes.... which are the scandinavian viking elements of the anglo saxons an they did come from around denmark!!!!! white..... witt.... witta.... originated in scandanavia!!!

John White
According to the Surname profiler website, Whites are concentrated on the the Isle of Wight and the mainland opposite (Hampshire etc). The Isle of Wight was settled by Jutes from Denmark Stuf and Wihtgar. The coincidences are too glaring to ignore. I believe all Whites are the descendents of those scandinavian settlers on the Isle of Wight..

Graeme Wight
im sure my family name comes from hugenot france. always wondered why i liked onions so much