Humanities › History & Culture The Meaning and Origin of the Surname Jenkins Share Flipboard Email Print Geraint Rowland Photography/Getty Images History & Culture Genealogy Surnames Basics Genealogy Fun Vital Records Around the World American History African American History African History Ancient History and Culture Asian History European History Inventions Latin American History Medieval & Renaissance History Military History The 20th Century Women's History View More By Kimberly Powell Genealogy Expert Certificate in Genealogical Research, Boston University B.A., Carnegie Mellon University Kimberly Powell is a professional genealogist and the author of The Everything Guide to Online Genealogy. She teaches at the Genealogical Institute of Pittsburgh and the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy. our editorial process Kimberly Powell Updated March 23, 2019 Jenkins is a double diminutive of John, literally meaning "little John." It derives from the medieval given name Jenkin, which itself is a diminutive of the given name John, meaning "God has graced me with a son." The Jenkins surname most commonly originated in Cornwall, England, but became quickly popular in Wales. Jenkins is the 95th most popular surname in the United States and the 97th most common surname in England. Origin English, Welsh Alternate Surname Spellings JENKIN, JENKYN, JENKING, JENCKEN, JINKIN, JUNKIN, JENKYNS, JENCKENS, JINKINS, JINKINS, JUNKINS, JENKENS, JENNISKENS, SIENCYN (Welsh), SHINKWINN (Irish) Famous People with the Surname Jenkins Albert Gallatin Jenkins, American politician and Confederate soldierElla Jenkins, American folk singer Source: Cottle, Basil. Penguin Dictionary of Surnames. Baltimore, MD: Penguin Books, 1967. Menk, Lars. A Dictionary of German Jewish Surnames. Avotaynu, 2005. Beider, Alexander. A Dictionary of Jewish Surnames from Galicia. Avotaynu, 2004. Hanks, Patrick and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford University Press, 1989. Hanks, Patrick. Dictionary of American Family Names. Oxford University Press, 2003. Smith, Elsdon C. American Surnames. Genealogical Publishing Company, 1997.