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920,140 WHITE members around the world

Family spelling variants includes Whyte, Whites, Whitt, Whitta, Witte, Witt, Witts, Wythe, Whiteson, Wight

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WHITE Family History

This surname has two main origins. The first relates to the nickname of an ancestor, and comes from the Old English 'wit' or Anglo-Saxon 'hwit', and would mean in this context someone who had fair hair or a pale complexion.

The second derivation has a topographical root, and in this sense would refer to an ancestor who lived by a bend or curve in a river or road, as the Old English 'wiht' meant 'bend'. This is the origin of the place name Great Whyte near Ramsey in Cammbridgeshire.

Early bearers of the surname include Alestanus hwit and Alwin Wit of Hampshire who are both named in the Domesday Book of 1086; Lewinus Wite of Staffordshire who, in 1114, was named in the Burton Chartulary; and Hugo Wit who in 1190 was living in Bury Saint Edmunds, Suffolk.

It is a surname that is fairly popular in Scotland, where it also derives from the Old English 'hwit' although in some cases it also stems from an anglicisation of the Gaelic M'Illebhàin (MacChillebhilin). Early records name Adam Quhyt who was granted the charter of the lands of Stayhar in Ayrshire by Robert I (1274–1329), Gilbert Qwhyt who was bailie of the burgh of Rutherglen in 1376, and Thome White who held land in Irvine in 1426.

It is less frequently seen in Wales on the old records, however there are nevertheless late 16th and early 17th century references to it on the registers of parishes near to the border with England, in particular in the counties of Flintshire, Montgomeryshire and Monmouthshire, as well as in some market and port towns elsewhere in the country, including in the county of Glamorgan.

In 1891 census, there were 94,312 occurrences in England and Wales and a further 8,939 in Scotland.

In 1881, the surname was widespread across England. In Kent for example there were 3,926 occurrences of the surname on that year's census.

In 1881, White family members primarily worked as agricultural and general labourers, and farmers.

Today there are approximately 920,140 White family members around the world. It is estimated that the largest group lives in the USA with 660,491 (71.8%) members, followed by England with 98,791, Canada with 52,381, Australia with 51,916, South Africa with 27,122, Ireland with 9,513, Scotland with 8,191, New Zealand with 6,565, and Wales with 5,170 members.



1881, 1891 Census

Dictionary of American Family Homes, P Hanks OUP 2003

Homes of Family Names in Great Britain, H.B. Guppy, London 1890

The Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain and Ireland, P.Hanks, Coats, McClure OUP 2016

1860 Lower, Mark A Patronymica Britannica: a dictionary of the family names of the United Kingdom, London: J.R Smith. Public Domain

1857 Arthur, William An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names. New York: Sheldon, Blakeman. Public Domain

The Surnames of Scotland (1946) by George Fraser Black (1866-1948)

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Why are William and Suzanna White and sons Resolved and Peregrine(first Northern European born in America)of the Mayflower voyage not included here.

jacquelyn stokes

Looking for any information on William White born 9/12/1819 Ireland- died 1898 Westport N.Y. USA. His father was also William White born around 1780.

Anthony Barrett

(Part 1 of 3) The White name has a long history in British Isles, but now DNA and some recorded history says their origin is from the Emerald Island. The White story [dominated by DNA tribal marker R1b-L513, Subgroup B2] can trace their origins to the Finn Valley in Donegal, Ireland from 50 BCE. Perhaps the journey begins with the Clanna Dedad; Deda, son of Sen or Deda Mac Sin. The White surname origin is from Clan Domnaill [DNA Tribe R1b-L513, Subgroup B1] and relations who remain in Ireland take the modern surname (O’)Donnelly, McDonald and Donohue in Ireland.

Anthony Barrett

(Part 2 of 3) According to research, the Domnaill name is also found in Brittany, France. It is a very old name which appears in the 5th century Roman inscriptions as Dumnovellaunos in Brittany meaning “Deep Valour” equivalent to Irish Domhnaill. But how could this be? Recent discoveries from DNA testing are unlocking the migration patterns of Celtic tribes as late as 800 CE to 1200 CE. The Traylor story begins in pre-history Ireland then moves to Wales where the family can be traced back to their Welsh tribe Cydifor Fawr. Many of his kin will then move to Brittany, France during the Dark Ages.

Anthony Barrett

(Part 3 of 3) Discover their newly found untold story and how forgotten texts bring their story back to life. From the ebook, “The Tribe Within” learn how DNA unfolds this amazing tale and if you look in the right places, how history narrates this evidence. There is another written account of their story, but it is camouflaged in smoke and myth – it will become the tales of King Arthur. Come follow in the footsteps of Deda Mac Sin and visit


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