Cheney last name popularity, history, and meaning

Find out how popular the last name Cheney is in the United States and learn more about the meaning, history, and race and ethnic origin of people in America who are named Cheney.

Meaning of Cheney

From the Old French chesne, chesnai, or chesnaye, referring to an oak tree or a grove of oak trees.

Cheney, like all of the last names we have data for, is identified by the U.S. Census Bureau as a surname which has more than 100 occurrences in the United States in the Decennial Census survey. The most recent statistics we have for the Cheney surname is from the 2010 census data.

Popularity of Cheney in America

Cheney is the 2655th most popular name in America based on the data we have collected from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The Cheney surname appeared 13,573 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 5 people would have the surname Cheney.

We can also compare 2010 data for Cheney to data from the previous census in 2000. The table below contains all of the statistics for both years in a side-by-side comparison.

2010 2000 Change (%)
Rank 2655 2563 3.53%
Count 13,573 12,970 4.54%
Proportion per 100k 4.60 4.81 -4.46%

The history of the last name Cheney

The surname Cheney has its origins in England and dates back to the 11th century. It is derived from the Old English word "c├Žne," meaning bold or brave, and the suffix "-eg," signifying an enclosed area or island. The name was likely given to someone who lived in a small, courageous community or on a fortified island.

The earliest recorded instance of the surname Cheney appears in the Domesday Book of 1086, where it is spelled "Cheni." This historical manuscript, commissioned by William the Conqueror, documented landholders and their properties across England.

During the Middle Ages, the name was often spelled various ways, including Cheny, Cheneye, and Cheyne. Some notable individuals bearing this surname from this period include Sir John Cheney (c. 1310-1374), a distinguished English soldier and diplomat, and Sir Thomas Cheney (c. 1485-1558), a statesman and Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports under King Henry VIII.

In the 16th century, the surname was associated with several prominent figures, such as Sir Henry Cheney (c. 1550-1587), an English soldier and Member of Parliament, and Sir John Cheney (c. 1530-1589), a naval commander and explorer who served under Sir Francis Drake.

As the name spread across England, it became linked with various place names, including Cheney Court in Wiltshire and Cheney Longville in Shropshire. The latter was once the ancestral home of the Cheney family.

In the 17th century, Richard Cheney (1609-1692) was a notable English clergyman and academic who served as the Bishop of Gloucester and later the Bishop of Chichester. Another significant figure was John Cheney (c. 1650-1715), a wealthy London merchant and philanthropist who funded the construction of several churches in the city.

As the surname traveled beyond England's borders, it gained a foothold in other parts of the world, including the United States. One of the earliest recorded instances of the name in America was Benjamin Cheney (1706-1798), a prominent colonist and early settler of New Hampshire.

Race and ethnic origin of people with the last name Cheney

We also have some data on the ancestry of people with the surname Cheney.

The below race categories are the modified race categories used in the Census Bureau's population estimates program. All people were categorized into six mutually exclusive racial and Hispanic origin groups:

  1. White only
  2. Black only
  3. American Indian and Alaskan Native only
  4. Asian and Pacific Islander only
  5. Hispanic
  6. Two or More Races

For the most recent 2010 census data, the race/ethnic origin breakdown for Cheney was:

Race/Ethnicity Percentage Total Occurrences
Non-Hispanic White Only 90.17% 12,239
Non-Hispanic Black Only 3.16% 429
Non-Hispanic Asian and Pacific Islander Only 0.83% 113
Non-Hispanic American Indian and Alaskan Native 1.51% 205
Non-Hispanic of Two or More Races 1.93% 262
Hispanic Origin 2.40% 326

Note: Any fields showing (S) means the data was suppressed for privacy so that the data does not in any way identify any specific individuals.

Since we have data from the previous census in 2000, we can also compare the values to see how the popularity of Cheney has changed in the 10 years between the two census surveys.

2010 2000 Change (%)
White 90.17% 92.18% -2.20%
Black 3.16% 2.84% 10.67%
Asian and Pacific Islander 0.83% 0.61% 30.56%
American Indian and Alaskan Native 1.51% 1.15% 27.07%
Two or More Races 1.93% 1.42% 30.45%
Hispanic 2.40% 1.80% 28.57%

Data source

The last name data and ethnic breakdown of last names is sourced directly from the Decennial Census survey, conducted every 10 years by the United States Census Bureau.

The history and meaning of the name Cheney was researched and written by our team of onomatology and genealogy experts.

If you have a correction or suggestion to improve the history of Cheney, please contact us.

Reference this page

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"Cheney last name popularity, history, and meaning". Accessed on July 13, 2024.

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