Explore the Family Name Ely

The meaning of Ely

1. English: habitational name from Ely, a cathedral city on an island in the fens north of Cambridge, so named from Old English ǣl ‘eel’ + gē ‘district’. 2. English, French, and Breton (Finistère): from the Middle English, Old French personal name Elie, Hely (Elijah in the King James Bible); see Ellis and Elias. 3. English: variant of Healey. 4. German: variant of Eley and, in North America, probably also an altered form of this. History: Nathaniel Ely was one of the founders of Hartford, CT, in 1635 (coming from Cambridge, MA with Thomas Hooker).

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

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

Based on the Decennial U.S. Census data, the popularity of the surname Ely experienced a slight decrease between 2000 and 2010. In 2000, Ely was ranked as the 2,583rd most popular surname in the United States with a count of approximately 12,884 individuals bearing the name. This represented a proportion of 4.78 per 100k of the population. By 2010, the rank had dropped to 2,745 with an estimated 13,130 people having this surname, a proportional decrease to 4.45 per 100k. This represented a change of -6.27% in ranking and an increase of 1.91% in count over the decade.

Proportion per 100k4.784.45-6.9%

Race and Ethnicity of people with the last name Ely

The ethnic identity associated with the surname Ely also showed some shifts from 2000 to 2010 according to the Decennial U.S. Census data. The largest ethnic group associated with the surname was White, representing 89.87% and 88.06% of those with the surname in 2000 and 2010 respectively, indicating a decrease by 2.01%. Meanwhile, the Hispanic affiliation increased by 58.62%, from 1.45% to 2.30%. Additionally, the percentage of those who identify as Asian/Pacific Islander and Black also increased to 0.66% and 6.70% respectively. The American Indian and Alaskan Native group saw a decrease from 0.65% to 0.57%. Those identifying as two or more races also grew from 1.36% to 1.71% over the same period.

Two or More Races1.36%1.71%25.74%
Asian/Pacific Islander0.47%0.66%40.43%
American Indian and Alaskan Native0.65%0.57%-12.31%

Ely 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 Ely is British & Irish, which comprises 48.4% of all ancestry found in people with the surname. The next two most common ancestries are French & German (28.2%) and Eastern European (4.9%). Additional ancestries include Scandinavian, Italian, Ashkenazi Jewish, Spanish & Portuguese, and Indigenous American.

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British & Irish48.4%
French & German28.2%
Eastern European4.9%

Possible origins of the surname Ely

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 Ely have recent ancestry locations all within United Kingdom.

RECENT ANCESTRY LocationPercentage
Greater London, United Kingdom84.90%
Greater Manchester, United Kingdom84.90%
Merseyside, United Kingdom84.90%
Glasgow City, United Kingdom84.50%
West Yorkshire, United Kingdom84.50%

What Ely 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 Ely is I-L1286, which is predominantly found among people with European ancestry. Haplogroup I-L1286 is descended from haplogroup I-M170. Other common haplogroups include R-Z282 and R-L48, which are predominantly found among people with European and European ancestry. Other surnames with similar common haplogroups are: Cummins, Jacobs, Marx, Cummings, George, Birch, Carpenter, Martens, Smith, Lang.

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

elyPaternal Haplogroup Origins I-M170

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 Ely 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.

"Ely" Surname 37.9%

23andMe Users 41.3%




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

"Ely" Surname 23.5%

23andMe Users 27.9%



Sugary Drink

Drinks one or more sugary drinks per day.

"Ely" Surname 16.0%

23andMe Users 21.1%




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

"Ely" Surname 18.5%

23andMe Users 16.4%

Are health conditions linked to the last name Ely?

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 Ely 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%