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Origins of the Ryan surname

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What does the name Ryan mean?

The origin of the Ryan surname is believed to be Irish, and it has spread from there to become common across the English-speaking world. It is hypothesised to mostly be an anglicisation of a patronymic, 'O Riain' (descendant of Rian) or 'O Maoilriain' (descendant of the follower of Rian). In Ireland, the name is found to be most frequent in County Tipperary.

Alternative variations of the name Ryan

Ryan, Rian, Ryans, Ryen, Ryn

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Delve deeper into the Ryan family's history

Where do most Ryans live?

In 1921, most Ryans 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 Ryans

How common is your surname?

274th most common surname in the UK

We have 91,900 records for the Ryan surname. The oldest one dates back to 1575.

Who were Ryans most likely to marry?




Our Marriage record sets tell us which families married Ryans.

What are the most common Ryan first names?

  • John
  • James
  • Mary
  • Margaret

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

Common jobs for Ryans

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

Common Female occupations for Ryans in 1921








Domestic Servant


Common Male occupations for Ryans in 1921
General Labourer




Dock Labourer


Semiskilled Chauffeurs And Drivers




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