Explore the Family Name Fisher

The meaning of Fisher

1. English: occupational name for a fisherman, from Middle English fis(sc)her(e) ‘fisherman’ (Old English fiscere). In North America, this surname has absorbed cognates from many other languages, including German Fischer and its Slavic(ized) variant Fišer (see Fiser), Dutch Visser, Hungarian Halász (see Halasz), Italian Pescatore, Slovenian Ribič (see Ribic), and Croatian Ribić or Ribar. 2. English: in a few cases, possibly a topographic name for someone who lived near a fish weir on a river, from Middle English fis(sc)hwere, fisshyar ‘fish weir’ (Old English fiscwer, fiscgear), or a habitational name from a place so named, such as Fisher in North Mundham, Sussex. 3. Irish: translation into English of Gaelic Ó Bradáin ‘descendant of Bradán’, a personal name meaning ‘salmon’. See Braden. 4. Jewish (Ashkenazic): occupational name for a fisherman, Yiddish fisher (from German Fischer). 5. Americanized form (mistranslation into English) of French Poissant, meaning ‘powerful, strong, vigorous’, but understood as poisson ‘fish’, and assimilated to the more frequent English name. 6. Americanized form (translation into English) of French Poisson ‘fish’, and assimilated to the more frequent English name. 7. Native American (Cheyenne): from a mistranslation into English of the Cheyenne personal name Noma’heškeso ‘Little Fish’, from a diminutive of noma’he ‘fish’. History: Some of the American bearers of the surname Fisher are descendants of either Jacques Poissant dit La Saline from France (see Poissant) or Jean Poisson from France (see Poisson).

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

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

Based on the Decennial U.S. Census data, the surname Fisher saw a slight decrease in popularity between 2000 and 2010. In 2000, Fisher ranked at 100 among all surnames but fell to 112th place by 2010, indicating a 12% drop in rank. However, despite this decline in ranking, the actual count of people with the Fisher surname increased from 210,279 in 2000 to 214,703 in 2010, showing an overall growth of 2.1%. The proportion per 100,000 people also decreased by 6.62, going from 77.95 in 2000 to 72.79 in 2010.

Proportion per 100k77.9572.79-6.62%

Race and Ethnicity of people with the last name Fisher

When looking at the ethnicity distribution for the Fisher surname, the Decennial U.S. Census data presents interesting changes. Between 2000 and 2010, there was a noticeable increase in those identifying as Asian/Pacific Islander (30.95% increase), Two or more races (33.10% increase), Hispanic (53.80% increase), Black (4.52% increase), and American Indian and Alaskan Native (7.04%). On the other hand, people identifying as White decreased by 2.38%, even though they still make up the largest percentage of individuals with the Fisher surname.

Two or More Races1.42%1.89%33.1%
American Indian and Alaskan Native0.71%0.76%7.04%
Asian/Pacific Islander0.42%0.55%30.95%

Fisher 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 Fisher is British & Irish, which comprises 45.3% of all ancestry found in people with the surname. The next two most common ancestries are French & German (27.1%) and Ashkenazi Jewish (6.3%). Additional ancestries include Eastern European, Scandinavian, Italian, Spanish & Portuguese, and Nigerian.

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British & Irish45.3%
French & German27.1%
Ashkenazi Jewish6.3%

Possible origins of the surname Fisher

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 Fisher have recent ancestry locations in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and Ireland.

RECENT ANCESTRY LocationPercentage
Greater London, United Kingdom81.00%
Greater Manchester, United Kingdom80.90%
West Midlands, United Kingdom80.90%
Merseyside, United Kingdom80.70%
Glasgow City, United Kingdom80.40%

What Fisher 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 Fisher is R-L2, which is predominantly found among people with European ancestry. Haplogroup R-L2 is descended from haplogroup R-M343. Other common haplogroups include R-U152 and R-P311, which are predominantly found among people with European and European ancestry. Other surnames with similar common haplogroups are: Miller, Smith, Meyer, Becker, Wagner, Snyder, White, Green, Young, Schneider.

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

fisherPaternal 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 Fisher 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.

"Fisher" Surname 42.9%

23andMe Users 41.3%




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

"Fisher" Surname 26.1%

23andMe Users 27.9%



Sugary Drink

Drinks one or more sugary drinks per day.

"Fisher" Surname 21.0%

23andMe Users 21.1%




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

"Fisher" Surname 17.6%

23andMe Users 16.4%

Are health conditions linked to the last name Fisher?

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 Fisher 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%