Explore the Family Name Ellison

The meaning of Ellison

1. English: from the Middle English personal name Ellis (Old Testament Elijah) + -son. In the US, this surname (in any of the three possible senses; see also 2 and 3 below) is also established among African Americans. 2. English: from the Middle English, Old French female personal name Elissent, Elisant, ancient Germanic Elisind. 3. Scottish: sometimes a post-medieval variant of Allison, which is mainly concentrated in northern England and southwestern Scotland. There is a similar Scottish variation between Alison and Elison as female personal names. 4. Americanized form of some original Jewish (Ashkenazic) surname (most likely, based on Yiddish form of the Biblical personal name Elijah).

Dictionary of American Family Names, 2nd edition, © Oxford University Press, 2022.

How common is the last name Ellison in the United States?

Based on the Decennial U.S. Census, the popularity of the surname Ellison showed a slight decrease in rank from 2000 to 2010, moving from rank 756 to 809, marking a change of -7.01. However, despite the drop in rank, the actual count of people with the Ellison surname increased by 3.3 percent over the decade, growing from 41,459 in 2000 to 42,827 in 2010. The proportion of this surname also decreased per 100,000 people, from 15.37 to 14.52, reflecting a -5.53 percent change.

Proportion per 100k15.3714.52-5.53%

Race and Ethnicity of people with the last name Ellison

Looking at the ethnic identity of those with the Ellison surname, data from the Decennial U.S. Census shows quite a few changes between 2000 and 2010. The percentage of Asian/Pacific Islander individuals with this surname rose by 47.5 percent, while those identifying as two or more races saw an increase of 48.7 percent. The Hispanic population with this surname grew significantly too, experiencing a surge of 71.43 percent. Meanwhile, the white population registered a slight decrease of -3.76 percent, and American Indian and Alaskan Native individuals saw a decrease of -10.94 percent. The black population using this surname experienced a modest increase of 2.57 percent.

Two or More Races1.54%2.29%48.7%
Asian/Pacific Islander0.4%0.59%47.5%
American Indian and Alaskan Native0.64%0.57%-10.94%

Ellison ancestry composition

23andMe computes an ancestry breakdown for each customer. People may have ancestry from just one population or they may have ancestry from several populations. The most commonly-observed ancestry found in people with the surname Ellison is British & Irish, which comprises 53.5% of all ancestry found in people with the surname. The next two most common ancestries are French & German (19.3%) and Scandinavian (4.8%). Additional ancestries include Nigerian, Ashkenazi Jewish, Eastern European, Ghanaian, Liberian & Sierra Leonean, and Italian.

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British & Irish53.5%
French & German19.3%

Possible origins of the surname Ellison

Your DNA provides clues about where your recent ancestors may have lived. Having many distant relatives in the same location suggests that you may all share common ancestry there. Locations with many distant relatives can also be places where people have migrated recently, such as large cities. If a large number of individuals who share your surname have distant relatives in a specific area, it could indicate a connection between your surname and that location, stemming from either recent ancestral ties or migration.

Based on 23andMe data, people with last name Ellison have recent ancestry locations in United Kingdom and Ireland.

RECENT ANCESTRY LocationPercentage
Greater London, United Kingdom83.60%
Greater Manchester, United Kingdom83.30%
Merseyside, United Kingdom83.20%
West Midlands, United Kingdom82.80%
Glasgow City, United Kingdom82.70%

What Ellison haplogroups can tell you

Haplogroups are genetic population groups that share a common ancestor on either your paternal or maternal line. These paternal and maternal haplogroups shed light on your genetic ancestry and help tell the story of your family.

The top paternal haplogroup of people with the surname Ellison is R-CTS6889, which is predominantly found among people with European ancestry. Haplogroup R-CTS6889 is descended from haplogroup R-M343. Other common haplogroups include R-Z16539 and R-P311, which are predominantly found among people with European and European ancestry. Other surnames with similar common haplogroups are: Allison, Morrison, Lyons, Henderson, Brown, Miller, Clark, Smith, Patterson, Taylor.

The most common maternal haplogroups of people with Ellison surname are: H1, H, T2b. These most commonly trace back to individuals of European ancestry.

ellisonPaternal Haplogroup Origins R-M343
Paternal Haplo Image

Your paternal lineage may be linked to Niall of the Nine Hostages

The spread of haplogroup R-M269 in northern Ireland and Scotland was likely aided by men like Niall of the Nine Hostages. Perhaps more myth than man, Niall of the Nine Hostages is said to have been a King of Tara in northwestern Ireland in the late 4th century C.E. His name comes from a tale of nine hostages that he held from the regions he ruled over. Though the legendary stories of his life may have been invented hundreds of years after he died, genetic evidence suggests that the Uí Néill dynasty, whose name means "descendants of Niall," did in fact trace back to just one man who bore a branch of haplogroup R-M269.The Uí Néill ruled to various degrees as kings of Ireland from the 7th to the 11th century C.E. In the highly patriarchal society of medieval Ireland, their status allowed them to have outsized numbers of children and spread their paternal lineage each generation. In fact, researchers have estimated that between 2 and 3 million men with roots in north-west Ireland are paternal-line descendants of Niall.

Your maternal lineage may be linked to Marie Antoinette

Because it is so dominant in the general European population, haplogroup H also appears quite frequently in the continent's royal houses. Marie Antoinette, an Austrian Hapsburg who married into the French royal family, inherited the haplogroup from her maternal ancestors. So did Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, whose recorded genealogy traces his female line to Bavaria. Scientists also discovered that famed 16th century astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus traced his maternal lineages to haplogroup H.

Maternal Haplo Image

What do people with the surname Ellison have in common?

Spoiler alert: it's complicated. People with the same last name are usually no more genetically similar than a randomly sampled group of people from the same population. That said, people with the same surname are more likely to have similar ancestries than randomly sampled individuals. The reason is the tendency of people with similar cultural or geographical backgrounds to preferentially mate with one another. That's why people who share a surname may be more likely to share traits and tendencies in common than people within the general population. Check out the percentages below to see the prevalences of tastes, habits, and traits of people with your surname compared with prevalences among 23andMe users.



Chocolate Ice Cream

Prefers chocolate flavored ice cream over other flavors.

"Ellison" Surname 40.6%

23andMe Users 41.3%




When sounds made by others, like the sound of chewing or yawning, provoke strong emotional reactions in an individual.

"Ellison" Surname 28.9%

23andMe Users 27.9%



Sugary Drink

Drinks one or more sugary drinks per day.

"Ellison" Surname 26.1%

23andMe Users 21.1%




A severe headache characterized by intense pain, sensitivity to light and sound, and often accompanied by nausea and vomiting.

"Ellison" Surname 18.4%

23andMe Users 16.4%

Are health conditions linked to the last name Ellison?

The short answer is that, if there is an association between surname and health, it's usually more about your ancestry than your name. Individuals with a given surname are no more genetically similar than the general population but often have similar ancestries. The populations of people associated with those shared ancestries often have sets of genetic variations, also known as alleles, in common. Some of those alleles are associated with a greater likelihood of developing certain diseases.

Disease variant frequency by ancestry

Disease allele frequencies in populations associated with the surname Ellison are shown below. Important Note: not everyone with a disease allele will develop these health condition

Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Y402H variant

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the most common cause of irreversible vision loss among older adults. The disease results in damage to the central part of the retina (the macula), impairing vision needed for reading, driving, or even recognizing faces. The 23andMe Health + Ancestry DNA test includes the two most common variants associated with an increased risk of developing the condition: the Y402H variant in the CFH gene and the A69S variant in the ARMS2 gene. Learn more about Age-Related Macular Degeneration

British & Irish 62.1%

23andMe Users 57.2%