Explore the Family Name Fell

The meaning of Fell

1. English (mainly northern): from northern Middle English fel(l) ‘fell, hill, mountain’ (Old Norse fell, fjall), a topographic name denoting someone who lived on a fell, or an area of high ground. 2. English, German, and Jewish (Ashkenazic): metonymic occupational name for a furrier, a dealer in hides or skins, from Middle English fel, Middle High German vel, German Fell or Yiddish fel, all of which mean ‘skin, hide’, or ‘pelt’. Yiddish fel refers to untanned hide, in contrast to pelts ‘tanned hide’ (see Pilcher).

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

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

Based on the Decennial U.S. Census data, the surname Fell has experienced an increase in popularity from 2000 to 2010. In 2000, it was ranked 5,481st most common surname, but by 2010, it had climbed to the 5,414th position, reflecting a change of 1.22%. The count of individuals with this surname also increased during this period, from 5,833 in 2000 to 6,429 in 2010, marking a significant rise of 10.22%. This growth is further emphasized by the proportion per 100,000 people, which modestly rose from 2.16 to 2.18.

Proportion per 100k2.162.180.93%

Race and Ethnicity of people with the last name Fell

In terms of ethnic identity, the Fell surname shows interesting trends across various groups between 2000 and 2010 based on the Decennial U.S. Census data. For instance, the percentage belonging to the Hispanic ethnicity saw a significant rise of 59.03%, increasing from 1.44% to 2.29%. Those identifying as two or more races also increased by 28.57%, while the White population remained largely stable, experiencing a minor decrease of 0.44%. However, there were reductions in other ethnicities. The Asian/Pacific Islander group decreased by 12.00%, and the Black population fell by 14.11%. Similarly, the percentage of those identifying as American Indian and Alaskan Native dropped by 24.24%.

Two or More Races0.98%1.26%28.57%
Asian/Pacific Islander0.5%0.44%-12%
American Indian and Alaskan Native0.33%0.25%-24.24%

Fell 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 Fell is British & Irish, which comprises 48.7% of all ancestry found in people with the surname. The next two most common ancestries are French & German (26.0%) and Eastern European (5.9%). Additional ancestries include Italian, Scandinavian, Ashkenazi Jewish, Spanish & Portuguese, and Chinese.

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British & Irish48.7%
French & German26.0%
Eastern European5.9%

Possible origins of the surname Fell

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 Fell have recent ancestry locations all within United Kingdom.

RECENT ANCESTRY LocationPercentage
Tyne And Wear, United Kingdom90.90%
Greater London, United Kingdom90.90%
Glasgow City, United Kingdom90.20%
Greater Manchester, United Kingdom90.20%
Merseyside, United Kingdom89.60%

What Fell 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 Fell is R-CTS241, which is predominantly found among people with European ancestry. Haplogroup R-CTS241 is descended from haplogroup R-M343. Other common haplogroups include R-S1855 and R-L21, which are predominantly found among people with European and European ancestry. Other surnames with similar common haplogroups are: Groom, Pritchard, Lacey, Phillips, Morgan, Davies, Maynard, Rees, Jones, Lloyd.

The most common maternal haplogroups of people with Fell surname are: H1, K1a, H. These most commonly trace back to individuals of European ancestry.

fellPaternal Haplogroup Origins R-M343

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 Fell 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.

"Fell" Surname 37.2%

23andMe Users 41.3%




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

"Fell" Surname 23.8%

23andMe Users 27.9%



Sugary Drink

Drinks one or more sugary drinks per day.

"Fell" Surname 13.5%

23andMe Users 21.1%




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

"Fell" Surname 15.8%

23andMe Users 16.4%

Are health conditions linked to the last name Fell?

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 Fell 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%