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Origins of the White surname

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What does the name White mean?

White is a common surname across England, Scotland and Ireland, with examples dating back to the Saxon era. It's the seventeenth most popular name in England, and the twenty second most common in the United States. The surname White has a number of supposed origins. Most often it is a descriptive name relating to someone with white or blonde hair, clothing or complexion. In Scotland, it can also be an anglicisation of the Gaelic 'MacGillebhain', meaning 'son of the fair Gillie'. Irish versions of the name White can sometimes derive from the Irish Gaelic 'Mac Faoitigh' or 'de Faoite'. More rarely, White can also be a local surname, relating to someone coming from the Isle of Wight, off the coast of Hampshire.

Alternative variations of the name White

White, Whyte, Whyt, Wight, Whit

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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Delve deeper into the White family's history

Where do most Whites live?

In 1921, most Whites 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 Whites

How common is your surname?

15th most common surname in the UK

We have 974,000 records for the White surname. The oldest one dates back to 1100.

Who were Whites most likely to marry?




Our Marriage record sets tell us which families married Whites.

What are the most common White first names?

  • John
  • William
  • Mary
  • Elizabeth

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

Common jobs for Whites

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

Common Female occupations for Whites in 1921




Domestic Servant


General Servant Domestic




Common Male occupations for Whites in 1921
Agricultural Labourer


General Labourer


Coal Miner




Farm Labourer


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

We found over 980,000 family trees with the White surname

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