YOUNG Surname Meaning and Origin

What Does the Last Name Young Mean?

Young was a surname often given to the younger of two men with the same name, similar to the suffix Junior today.
Michael Orton/Photographer's Choice/Getty Images

Derived from the Middle English yunge or yonge (Old English word geong), meaning "young," the Young surname was used as a descriptive name to distinguish father from son or to the younger of two relatives with the same first name (similar to the usage of Junior). In many cases, Young can also be an Anglicization of one of several like-sounding surnames, such as the German Jung, Dutch Jong, and French Lejueune.

Young is the 31st most popular surname in the United States and the 19th most common surname in Scotland.

Surname Origin: English, Scottish

Alternate Surname Spellings: YOUNGE, YOUNGE, YONG

Famous People with the Surname YOUNG

  • Neil Young - American folk-rock singer/songwriter
  • John Young - American astronaut
  • Brigham Young - second prophet and president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
  • Lester Young - American jazz saxophonist
  • Whitney Young Jr. - Civil rights activist
  • Paul Young - English singer
  • - Swiss psychiatrist and psychotherapist

Where Do People With the Young Surname Live?

Young is the 590th most common surname in the world, according to surname distribution data from Forebears, and is found in the greatest numbers in the United States. It is most prevalent based on percentage of population, however, in the Pitcairn Islands, where it ranks 3rd, and is borne by 1 of every 10 residents. Young also ranks highly in Belize (4th), New Zealand (11th), Australia (22nd), Scotland (22nd), Canada (23rd), England (49th) and Wales (58th).

WorldNames PublicProfiler identifies the Young surname as being most common in Australia and New Zealand, followed by the United Kingdom, United States and Canada. The world region with the largest population of Youngs is Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, followed by Clutha District, New Zealand, and then Scotland. Within the United States, Young is most common in the state of Hawaii. Within Scotland, the name is most prevalent in the Scottish Borders, followed by East Ayrshire and Midlothian.

Genealogy Resources for the Surname YOUNG

100 Most Common U.S. Surnames & Their Meanings
Smith, Johnson, Williams, Jones, Brown... Are you one of the millions of Americans sporting one of these top 100 common last names from the 2000 census?

Young Family Crest - It's Not What You Think
Contrary to what you may hear, there is no such thing as a Young family crest or coat of arms for the Young 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. 

Young Family Genealogy Forum
Search this popular genealogy forum for the Young surname to find others who might be researching your ancestors, or post your own Young query.

FamilySearch - YOUNG Genealogy
Access over 9 million free historical records and lineage-linked family trees posted for the Young surname and its variations on this free genealogy website hosted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

GeneaNet - Young Records
GeneaNet includes archival records, family trees, and other resources for individuals with the Young surname, with a concentration on records and families from France, Spain, and other European countries.

YOUNG Surname & Family Mailing Lists
RootsWeb hosts several free mailing lists for researchers of the Young surname. - YOUNG Genealogy & Family History
Explore free databases and genealogy links for the last name Young.

The Young Genealogy and Family Tree Page
Browse family trees and links to genealogical and historical records for individuals with the last name Young from the website of Genealogy Today.


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.

>> Back to Glossary of Surname Meanings & Origins