The Meaning and Origin of the Surname Jenkins

Flag of England
Geraint Rowland Photography/Getty Images

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 soldier
  • Ella 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.