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Origins of the Thornton surname

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What does the name Thornton mean?

The Thornton surname is English. It is believed to be geographical, and refer to someone who lived on or near a place of the same name. There are an abundance of Thorntons across England, and at least three in Yorkshire alone, which may go some way to explain why the name is particularly prevalent in that area of the country.

Alternative variations of the name Thornton

Thornton, Thorntone, Thorndon, Tornton, Thornten

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 Thorntons live?

In 1921, most Thorntons lived in Yorkshire.

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

Interesting facts about Thorntons

How common is your surname?

241st most common surname in the UK

We have 147,000 records for the Thornton surname. The oldest one dates back to 1086.

Who were Thorntons most likely to marry?




Our Marriage record sets tell us which families married Thorntons.

What are the most common Thornton first names?

  • John
  • William
  • Mary
  • Elizabeth

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

Common jobs for Thorntons

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

Common Female occupations for Thorntons in 1921


Cotton Weaver


Domestic Servant


Living On Own Means


Worsted Weaver


Common Male occupations for Thorntons in 1921
Coal Miner


General Labourer


Agricultural Labourer






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