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Origins of the Porter surname

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What does the name Porter mean?

Porter is an English surname with Anglo-Norman roots. It is an occupational name, coming from the French 'porteur'. A porter would be the door-keeper, carrier or janitor of a castle or monastery (often a hereditary position). The name would be connected to an individual, but passed to their heirs and continued along their line.

Alternative variations of the name Porter

Porter, Portar, Poortar, Poreter, Poorter

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.

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Where do most Porters live?

In 1921, most Porters 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 Porters

How common is your surname?

143rd most common surname in the UK

We have 225,000 records for the Porter surname. The oldest one dates back to 1241.

Who were Porters most likely to marry?




Our Marriage record sets tell us which families married Porters.

What are the most common Porter first names?

  • John
  • William
  • Mary
  • Elizabeth

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

Common jobs for Porters

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

Common Female occupations for Porters in 1921


Domestic Servant


Cotton Weaver




General Servant Domestic


Common Male occupations for Porters in 1921
Agricultural Labourer


General Labourer




Farm Labourer


Coal Miner


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