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Surname White - Meaning and Origin

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Unfolding Historic Chapters: Decoding Ancestry Behind The Surname White Through iGENEA DNA Test

Recently, I embarked on a journey to trace my ancestry through the iGENEA DNA test. The results reveal intriguing insights, predominantly concerning my family name, White. With links to West European, specifically, British and Irish roots, the study catalogued my lineage into a complex web of ancestors, spreading across various geographical landscapes and diverse cultures. The paternal and maternal lineage explorations unfolded a rich tapestry of human history, right there in my genes.

X. White

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White: What does the surname White mean?

The last name White is of English, Scottish, and Irish origin. It is the color white, signifying peace and purity, and may have been used as a nickname for someone of a pale complexion or with white hair or clothing.

White can also be an occupational name for someone employed in a whitening trade such as linen bleaching or paper-making. It can also have symbolic religious and spiritual significance.

The surname White originally denoted someone from a place with white scenery or buildings, such as Whitehaven, England, or Whitegate in Cheshire. It can also be a topographic name, designating someone who lived near a white hill, meadow or field.

White can also be a habitational name, taken on from any of the places in England that derive their name from the Old English ‘hwit’, meaning ‘white’. Early forms of the name dating back to the 13th century include Wyght, White, and Whytte.

White can be an indicator of nobility, as in the case of the Norman knight Henry de le Whyte who was Royal Justice in England during the reigns of Henry II, Richard I, and King John in the 12th century. It is also the name of an early American family from New England, descended from John White who arrived in Boston in 1636.

The name White carries on today, and is a very common last name in English-speaking countries such as the United States, Canada, England, Scotland, Ireland, and Australia.

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White: Where does the name White come from?

The last name White is a fairly common family name throughout the world today. In the United States, it ranks as the 48th most common surname and is particularly prevalent in the South. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2020, over 2.2 million Americans shared the last name White.

The surname White is also quite popular in Great Britain, where it ranks as the 26th most common name. It is particularly prominent in England and Scotland, but is also found in Wales and Northern Ireland. In 2020, England and Wales saw more than 143,000 people with the last name White, while Scotland had more than 21,000 of them.

In Australia, the last name White is also well-represented. According to the country's most recent census, nearly 59,000 Australians have taken on the last name White.

The last name White is a Jewish surname that is commonly found throughout Europe. It has been documented in Russia, Poland, Italy, France and other countries.

The last name White is also somewhat common in South Africa, where there are over 33,000 individuals with the last name White. It is also present in Africa in countries like Zambia, Kenya, and Malawi.

Overall, the surname White is found around the world, although it is more common in certain countries than in others.

Variations of the surname White

The surname White is a very common surname found throughout the English-speaking world, particularly in England and the United States. It is derived from the Middle English adjective "whit," meaning "white" or "fair." It is thought to have originated as a nickname for a person with pale skin or fair hair. The name is also sometimes spelled "Wight," and variations of this include Wite, Wyte, Whight, and Whyte.

In England, the White surname has been found in the regions of Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Somersetshire, Hampshire, and London. The most frequent spelling of the surname in these regions is White. Variants of this surname in Scotland include Wit, Wite, and Whyt.

In the United States, the White surname was first established in Massachusetts, where it was likely a derivative of English settlers. The majority of Whites in the United States are thought to have originated from English immigrants who arrived in the 1600s. Variations of this surname found in the United States include White, Wight, Wite, Wighte, Wyeth, Wythe, and Wyett.

The most common spellings of the surname White throughout the English-speaking world are White, Wyte, and Whyte. A number of variants of this surname have appeared in different countries, originating from different root words such as wite (German) and wight (Scots). Some verbal changes have been included in the different variations, such as the changing of the letter ‘h’ to ‘th’, or the dropping off of the ‘e’ at the end.

Famous people with the name White

  • Barbara White-Sax: an actress and television director.
  • Tonya Pinkins: Tony Award-winning Broadway performer.
  • Bette White: Actress, most notably for her role as Sue Ann Nivens on The Mary Tyler Moore Show.
  • David White: Film, television, and stage actor.
  • Barry White: Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter.
  • Zach White: Actor, comedian, and internet personality.
  • Mark White: former governor of Texas and professor of law.
  • John Howard White: Sergeant who was awarded the Medal of Honor in the Vietnam War.
  • Jack White: Grammy Award-winning frontman of the rock band The White Stripes.
  • Meg White: Drummer for The White Stripes.
  • Emilio Estevez: Actor, director, and writer.
  • Forest Whitaker: Academy Award-winning actor.
  • Tessa White: British singer and songwriter.
  • Chris White: Bass guitarist and member of the rock band Yes.
  • Caroline White: British actress, writer, producer, and television presenter.
  • Ryan White: AIDS activism advocate and spokesperson.
  • Lishan White: British-Palestinian spoken word artist and writer.
  • Stan White: Former American football player.
  • Dan White: Former San Francisco public official and cop killer.
  • Taylor White: Entrepreneur, tech investor, and venture capitalist.

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