Explore the Family Name Fox

The meaning of Fox

1. English: nickname from a word denoting the animal (Middle English, Old English fox), widely used to denote a sly or cunning individual. It was also used for someone with red hair. In England this surname absorbed some early examples of surnames derived from the ancient Germanic personal names mentioned at Faulks and Foulks. 2. Irish: part translation of Gaelic Mac an tSionnaigh ‘son of the fox’ (see Tinney). 3. Irish: also adopted for Ó Catharnaigh, see Kearney. 4. Americanized form (translation into English) of surnames meaning ‘fox’ or ‘he-fox’, for example German and Jewish Fuchs and its Central German variant Fochs, Croatian Lisac, Slovenian Lisjak, and Finnish Kettunen. See also Redfox 2. 5. Americanized form of Focks, a North German patronymic from the personal name Fock (see Volk). 6. Native American: translation into English (and shortening) of a personal name based on a word, such as Cheyenne ma’ehoohe, meaning ‘fox’. The cultural significance of the fox to Native Americans is reflected in their traditional personal names, some of which were adopted as surnames (translated into English), e.g. Red Fox (see Redfox 1). History: Adam Fox, ancestor of a Tennessee family called Fox, was born c.1760 in Shenandoah, VA, the son of a German immigrant called Adam Fuchs, who came to VA from Germany c.1752.

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

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

Based on data from the Decennial U.S. Census, the popularity of the surname Fox saw minor shifts between 2000 and 2010. In 2000, it ranked as the 167th most common surname, while by 2010 it had slipped to the 180th position, marking a decrease of 7.78%. Despite this drop in ranking, the actual number of people bearing the surname Fox increased over the decade, with a count of 147,357 in 2000 growing to 152,334 in 2010, showing an increase of 3.38%.

Proportion per 100k54.6251.64-5.46%

Race and Ethnicity of people with the last name Fox

Turning to ethnicity, the Decennial U.S. Census reveals changes in the ethnic identity distribution among those with the surname Fox between 2000 and 2010. White remained the dominant ethnicity, though it decreased slightly from 89.82% to 88.08%. The percentage of Hispanic individuals with the surname Fox experienced the greatest growth, increasing from 1.54% to 2.42%, a change of 57.14%. The proportion of those identifying as Black rose modestly from 5.68% to 6.06%. Meanwhile, the representation of Asian/Pacific Islander remained relatively stable at around 0.56%, and there was no change for American Indian and Alaskan Native at 1.03%. A considerable increase was noted in those claiming two or more races, jumping from 1.39% to 1.84%.

Two or More Races1.39%1.84%32.37%
American Indian and Alaskan Native1.03%1.03%0%
Asian/Pacific Islander0.55%0.56%1.82%

Fox 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 Fox is British & Irish, which comprises 46.9% of all ancestry found in people with the surname. The next two most common ancestries are French & German (25.6%) and Ashkenazi Jewish (7.5%). Additional ancestries include Eastern European, Scandinavian, Italian, Spanish & Portuguese, and Indigenous American.

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British & Irish46.9%
French & German25.6%
Ashkenazi Jewish7.5%

Possible origins of the surname Fox

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 Fox have recent ancestry locations in United Kingdom and Ireland.

RECENT ANCESTRY LocationPercentage
Greater London, United Kingdom84.70%
Greater Manchester, United Kingdom84.40%
West Midlands, United Kingdom84.40%
Glasgow City, United Kingdom84.30%
Merseyside, United Kingdom84.30%

What Fox 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 Fox 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 I-Z58 and R-P311, which are predominantly found among people with European and European ancestry. Other surnames with similar common haplogroups are: Thompson, Smith, Taylor, White, Clark, Brown, Young, King, Green, Cooper.

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

foxPaternal 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 Fox 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.

"Fox" Surname 44.2%

23andMe Users 41.3%




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

"Fox" Surname 29.5%

23andMe Users 27.9%



Sugary Drink

Drinks one or more sugary drinks per day.

"Fox" Surname 23.1%

23andMe Users 21.1%




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

"Fox" Surname 18.6%

23andMe Users 16.4%

Are health conditions linked to the last name Fox?

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 Fox 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%