JEFFERSON Surname Meaning and Origin

Jefferson is a patronymic surname that means "peaceful place," such as Monticello, the Virginia estate of U.S. president Thomas Jefferson
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Jefferson is a patronymic surname meaning "son of Jeffrey, Jeffers, or Jeff." Jeffrey is a variant of Geoffrey, meaning "peaceful place," from gawia, meaning "territory" and frid, meaning "peace." Geoffrey is also a possible variant of the Norman personal name Godfrey, meaning "God's peace" or "peaceful ruler."

Surname Origin: English

Alternate Surname Spellings: JEFFERS, JEFFERIES, JEFFRYS

Where in the World is the JEFFERSON Surname Found?

The Jefferson surname is most prevalent in the United States, where it ranks as the 662nd most common surname in the nation, according to surname distribution data from Forebears. It is most common in the Cayman Islands, where it ranks 133rd, and is also fairly common in England, Haiti, Brazil, Northern Ireland, Jamaica, Grenada, Bermuda and the British Virgin Islands.

According to WorldNames PublicProfiler, the Jefferson surname is most popular in the United States, especially in the District of Columbia, followed by the states of Mississippi, Louisiana, Delaware, South Carolina, Virginia and Arkansas. Within the United Kingdom, Jefferson is found primarily in Northern England and the southern border regions of Scotland, with the greatest numbers living in the Redcar and Cleveland district where the surname originated, and in surrounding counties such as North Yorkshire, Durham, Cumbria, and Northumberland in England, and Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland.

Famous People with the Last Name JEFFERSON

  • Thomas Jefferson - 3rd president of the United States and author of the Declaration of Independence
  • Blind Lemon Jefferson - American blues guitarist, singer and songwriter
  • Geoffrey Jefferson - British neurologist and pioneering neurosurgeon
  • Arthur Stanley Jefferson - English comic actor
  • Eddie Jefferson - celebrated American jazz vocalist and lyricist
  • Francis Arthur Jefferson - English recipient of the Victoria Cross

Genealogy Resources for the Surname JEFFERSON

Jefferson DNA Project
A group of people who've tested their Y-DNA through Family Tree DNA in an effort to use DNA plus traditional genealogical research to match up various Jefferson lineages.

Ancestry of Thomas Jefferson
A discussion of the ancestry of U.S. President Thomas Jefferson, from the website of his family home, Monticello.

Jefferson's Blood
A discussion of the DNA evidence that supports the theory that Thomas Jefferson fathered at least one of Sally Hemings's children, and quite probably all six. 

Jefferson Family Crest - It's Not What You Think
Contrary to what you may hear, there is no such thing as a Jefferson family crest or coat of arms for the Jefferson surname. Coats of arms are granted to individuals, not families, and may rightfully be used only by the uninterrupted male line descendants of the person to whom the coat of arms was originally granted.

JEFFERSON Genealogy Forum
Search the archives for posts about Jefferson ancestors, or post your own Jefferson query.

FamilySearch - JEFFERSON Genealogy
Explore over 600,000 historical records and lineage-linked family trees posted for the Jefferson surname and its variations on the free FamilySearch website, hosted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

JEFFERSON Surname & Family Mailing Lists
RootsWeb hosts several free mailing lists for researchers of the Jefferson surname.

References: Surname Meanings & Origins

Cottle, Basil. Penguin Dictionary of Surnames. Baltimore, MD: Penguin Books, 1967.

Dorward, David. Scottish Surnames. Collins Celtic (Pocket edition), 1998.

Fucilla, Joseph. Our Italian Surnames. Genealogical Publishing Company, 2003.

Hanks, Patrick and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford University Press, 1989.

Hanks, Patrick. Dictionary of American Family Names. Oxford University Press, 2003.

Reaney, P.H. A Dictionary of English Surnames. Oxford University Press, 1997.

Smith, Elsdon C. American Surnames. Genealogical Publishing Company, 1997.


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Powell, Kimberly. "JEFFERSON Surname Meaning and Origin." ThoughtCo, Aug. 27, 2020, Powell, Kimberly. (2020, August 27). JEFFERSON Surname Meaning and Origin. Retrieved from Powell, Kimberly. "JEFFERSON Surname Meaning and Origin." ThoughtCo. (accessed June 2, 2023).