Skip to content
  • Start free trial

Origins of the West surname

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

What does the name West mean?

West is an English surname with relatively humble origins. It is belived to be a descriptive name, from the Old English word 'West' (which we still use in the same way, as a direction). It would have been given to someone who came from a western area who settled or moved further east, and their descendants. In testament to that usage, it is more prevalent in the eastern counties of England.

Alternative variations of the name West

West, Waist, Weste, Wast, Wist

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 Wests.

Sign up to get started

Delve deeper into the West family's history

Where do most Wests live?

In 1921, most Wests 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 Wests

How common is your surname?

108th most common surname in the UK

We have 301,000 records for the West surname. The oldest one dates back to 1086.

Who were Wests most likely to marry?




Our Marriage record sets tell us which families married Wests.

What are the most common West first names?

  • John
  • William
  • Mary
  • Elizabeth

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

Common jobs for Wests

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

Common Female occupations for Wests in 1921




Domestic Servant


General Servant Domestic


Living On Own Means


Common Male occupations for Wests in 1921
Agricultural Labourer


General Labourer




Farm Labourer




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 450,000 family trees with the West surname

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

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