Skip to content
  • Start free trial

Origins of the Collins surname

A collage of historical images including two family portraits and a postcard of people boarding a ship

What does the name Collins mean?

The Collins surname has arrived in a number of different ways, though it has been present in Britain as far back as the 1100s. Collins is most often believed to be Scottish and English, a patronymic name that comes from someone who would be the son or descendant of a person named Colin. The Collins surname also can have Viking roots, deriving from the Old Norse 'Kollungr' (dark), given as a descriptive name to someone who is particularly dark or swarthy of complexion and their descendants. Collins can also be Irish (where it is the 30th most common name on the island), and be an anglicisation of the medieval name 'Ua Cuilein'. More rarely, the Collins surname can be Welsh, and be topographical in nature. In these instances it would refer to someone who lived at or near a Collen (hazel grove) and their descendants.

Alternative variations of the name Collins

Collins, Collin, Colins, Collens, Collen

I’ve managed to trace back to the mid-1500s! I can’t believe it! Utterly engrossing and I have uncovered some quite moving and heartbreaking stories attached to various ancestors. You don’t need any qualifications to start - just time patience, and some information.

TrustPilot review
1 of 3

Start your family tree

Trace your family back in time. Make new discoveries and see what other Findmypast family historians in our genealogy community have discovered about the Collinses.

Sign up to get started

Delve deeper into the Collins family's history

Where do most Collinses live?

In 1921, most Collinses lived in London.

Census records trace your ancestors through each generation, so you can follow where your relatives lived through each decade.

Interesting facts about Collinses

How common is your surname?

63rd most common surname in the UK

We have 436,000 records for the Collins surname. The oldest one dates back to 1441.

Who were Collinses most likely to marry?




Our Marriage record sets tell us which families married Collinses.

What are the most common Collins first names?

  • John
  • William
  • Mary
  • Elizabeth

Our birth record sets tell us the names of Collins family members

Common jobs for Collinses

Men and women often performed different types of jobs, so these are displayed by gender to maintain their historical accuracy.

Common Female occupations for Collinses in 1921




Domestic Servant


General Servant Domestic




Common Male occupations for Collinses in 1921
General Labourer


Agricultural Labourer


Farm Labourer




Coal Miner


An image of a census transcript and a picture of a dairy farmer holding two milk jugs

Census records provide incredible detail on names, ages, marital statuses, occupations and more.

We found over 480,000 family trees with the Collins surname

Trace your family back in time and see what other Findmypast family historians in our genealogy community have discovered about the Collinses.

Search for a relative in our family trees

Share your discoveries

Find out more about your family in our records

or try an advanced search

Start your family history journey

Start free trial

Start free trial