Young surname and history

Young genealogy indicates that this surname was given to distinguish between generations of the same family, such as father and son. Young can also be of Chinese or Korean origin in the form of Yong or Yang.

Origin and Meaning of the Young surname

The surname Young has several origins.

In some cases — particularly in England, Northern Ireland, and Scotland – the surname is derived from the Middle English yunge, yonge (“young”) or the Old English geong. This particular surname usually originated to distinguish a younger son.

In other cases, the surname is an Americanization of any number of like-sounding, or cognate surnames in other languages. For example: the German Jung and Junk; the Dutch Jong; and the French Lejeune and Lajeunesse. The surname can also be a form of the French Dion or Guyon.

In yet other cases, it is a romanization of Chinese Yang (楊/ 杨) or Korean surnames Yong.

Clan Young is a Scottish clan, but the clan does not currently have a clan chief.

Soundex Code

The Soundex Code for the Young surname is Y520. Other names that share this soundex code are YANCEY, YANCY, YANOSH, and YOUNGS.

Early examples of the Young name

The Young surname is of Anglo-Saxon pre 7th century origin, and as such is one of the earliest known name origins. Curiously children of the same sex in a medieval family were often given the same name, and to differentiate them a byname would be created and given (usually) to the younger bearers of the name.

Early recordings include that of Wilferd seo Iunge, (Wilfred the son of Young) in the 744 a.d. Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, although this is not as a surname, whilst Richard le Yunge of Lichfield, Staffordshire, in 1301, strongly suggests a descriptive nickname which may not have become hereditary.

Walter Yonge, was recorded in 1296 in the Subsidy Rolls of Sussex, during the reign of King Edward 1, known as ‘The Hammer of the Scots’, 1272 – 1307.

In 1439 Alexander Young was chaplain to the House of the Holy Trinity in Aberdeen.

Peter Young became assistant preceptor to the three-year-old James VI of Scotland, upon the recommendation of the Regent Moray in 1569. He was knighted at Whitehall in 1605. Sir Peter Young had a large family and many of them rose to enjoy royal patronage. One of his sons, another Peter, was part of the Embassy in 1628 to Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden.

Sir Peter Young was succeeded by his eldest son, Sir James Young, who held extensive grants of land in Ireland. As a result, the surname Young has become common in the counties of Antrim, Tyrone, Down and Londonderry. The descendants of Peter Young married into numerous prominent families.

Later recordings taken from the church registers include the marriage of Edmond Young and Katharyn Wendover on September 14th 1568, at Sudbury, and the christening of George, son of William and Frances Young on October 17th 1652 at St. James, Clerkenwell, London.

American Young Immigrants

One of the earliest settlers in the colonies of ‘New England’ was Nathaniell Young, who sailed from the Port of London, aboard the the ship ‘Constance’ bound for ‘Virginea’ on October 15th 1635.

Richard Young and his wife, settled in Virginia in 1623. Joseph and Margaret Young, immigrated to New England with their two sons in 1635. Harford Young, aged 20, arrived in Barbados in 1635. Marmaduke Young, aged 24, arrived in Virginia in 1635 and Martha Young landed in Bermuda the same year.

Nicho Young, landed in Virginia in 1701, Eliz Young in 1704, and Anne Young in 1714.  Tebald Young, landed in New York in 1715-1716.

John Tatem Young arrived in Charleston, South Carolina in 1802. Noble Young, aged 22, Jas Young, aged 21, and Sarah Young, aged 50, arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1804.

Young is the 31st most common surname in the United States, 22nd in Scotland, the 19th most common in the United Kingdom, and 11th in New Zealand.

Young is a very common surname in the United States. When the United States Census was taken in 2000, there were about 465,948 individuals with the last name “Young,” ranking it number 31 for all surnames, or 0.193% of last names in the US are Young.

Historically, the name has been most prevalent in the Southeast, though North Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin also have a lot of residents named Young. The name is actually most common in Hawaii. Young is least common in the midwestern states.

Famous people with the Young surname

Young family history includes such famous people as Robert Young, who played the wise father in the 50s television series Father Knows Best, as well as Brigham Young, founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, commonly known as the Mormons.

Young Ethnic Distribution

The ethnic breakdown of the surname “Young” as reported by the US Census Bureau in 2000 was Caucasian: 68.91%, Hispanic: 1.69%, African-American: 23.79%, Native American: 0.73%, Asian: 2.95%, and Mixed Race: 1.93%.

Popular Given Names

The ten most popular first names  historically given to Young babies are William, James, Robert, John, Mary, Charles, George, Helen, Dorothy, and Margaret.

Young Military Records


YOUNG Surnames on this website.

Other websites researching the YOUNG surname:

Clan Young of the United States – All things Scottish, particularly the “Youngs” of Scotland.