Handy last name popularity, history, and meaning

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

Meaning of Handy

Derived from a nickname for a clever or skillful person, or from various place names meaning "convenient" or "pleasant."

Handy, 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 Handy surname is from the 2010 census data.

Popularity of Handy in America

Handy is the 2482nd most popular name in America based on the data we have collected from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The Handy surname appeared 14,537 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 Handy.

We can also compare 2010 data for Handy 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 2482 2429 2.16%
Count 14,537 13,655 6.26%
Proportion per 100k 4.93 5.06 -2.60%

The history of the last name Handy

The surname HANDY is believed to have originated in England during the medieval period. It is derived from the Old English word "gehende," meaning "near" or "close by." This suggests that the name may have initially referred to someone who lived near a particular landmark or location.

The earliest recorded instances of the HANDY surname can be traced back to the 13th century in various county records and tax rolls from Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire. In 1275, a Richard le Hendy was listed in the Hundred Rolls of Oxfordshire, while a Walter Hendy appeared in the Gloucestershire Subsidy Rolls of 1327.

During the 14th century, the HANDY surname began to appear in various forms, such as Hendi, Hendy, and Hendye, reflecting the variations in spelling common during that era. The name was also found in several manor records and court rolls from various regions, indicating its widespread distribution across England.

One notable early bearer of the HANDY surname was Sir John Handy (c. 1350-1420), a prominent English landowner and knight who served as a Member of Parliament for Gloucestershire in the early 15th century. Another historical figure was Thomas Handy (c. 1590-1655), a Puritan minister and one of the founders of the New Haven Colony in Connecticut, United States.

In the 17th century, the HANDY surname was also associated with several place names, such as Handy Cross in Oxfordshire and Handy Cray in Kent. These place names likely derived from the surname itself, suggesting that the name was well-established in those areas.

Other notable individuals with the HANDY surname include:

  1. William Handy (1873-1958), an American composer and musician known as the "Father of the Blues."
  2. Leonie Handy (1897-1992), an American actress and singer who appeared in numerous films and stage productions.
  3. Rebekah Handy (1784-1868), an American Quaker minister and abolitionist who worked to end slavery and promote women's rights.
  4. John Handy (1933-2017), an American jazz saxophonist and composer known for his innovative musical style.
  5. Olivier Handy (born 1976), a French professional tennis player who achieved a career-high singles ranking of No. 25 in the world.

Throughout its history, the HANDY surname has been found in various regions of England, and its bearers have made significant contributions across various fields, including politics, religion, the arts, and sports.

Race and ethnic origin of people with the last name Handy

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

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 Handy was:

Race/Ethnicity Percentage Total Occurrences
Non-Hispanic White Only 55.47% 8,064
Non-Hispanic Black Only 36.38% 5,289
Non-Hispanic Asian and Pacific Islander Only 0.74% 108
Non-Hispanic American Indian and Alaskan Native 0.54% 78
Non-Hispanic of Two or More Races 2.76% 401
Hispanic Origin 4.12% 599

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 Handy has changed in the 10 years between the two census surveys.

2010 2000 Change (%)
White 55.47% 58.57% -5.44%
Black 36.38% 35.79% 1.64%
Asian and Pacific Islander 0.74% 0.45% 48.74%
American Indian and Alaskan Native 0.54% 0.40% 29.79%
Two or More Races 2.76% 1.73% 45.88%
Hispanic 4.12% 3.07% 29.21%

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 Handy was researched and written by our team of onomatology and genealogy experts.

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

Reference this page

We spend a lot of resources downloading, cleaning, merging, and formatting the data that is shown on the site.

If you found the data or information on this page useful in your research, please use the tool below to properly cite or reference Name Census as the source. We appreciate your support!

"Handy last name popularity, history, and meaning". NameCensus.com. Accessed on July 14, 2024. http://namecensus.com/last-names/handy-surname-popularity/.

"Handy last name popularity, history, and meaning". NameCensus.com, http://namecensus.com/last-names/handy-surname-popularity/. Accessed 14 July, 2024

Handy last name popularity, history, and meaning. NameCensus.com. Retrieved from http://namecensus.com/last-names/handy-surname-popularity/.

Search for a name

Search for a first or last name to learn more about its origin, meaning, and more.

Simple as that.