Explore the Family Name Harris

The meaning of Harris

1. English (southern England and south Wales): from the personal name Harry + genitival -s. This surname is also established in Ireland, taken there principally during the Plantation of Ulster. However, in some cases, particularly in families coming from County Mayo, Harris can be an Anglicized form of Gaelic Ó hEarchadha. This surname is also very common among African Americans. 2. American shortened and altered form of Greek surnames begining with Cha(r)-, such as Chasandrinos (variant of Kassandrinos, a habitational name from the Kassandra peninsula of Chalkidiki), and various patronymics from the personal name Charalampos (see Charos). In North America, the surname Harris may possibly also originate from a transferred use of the Greek personal (given) name Charis or Harris (shortened forms of Charalampos) as a surname (i.e. as a replacement of the original surname). 3. Americanized form of various like-sounding Jewish surnames. History: John Harris, a black man from VA, was free by 1667 when he purchased land in York County.

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

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

Based on the Decennial U.S. Census, the surname "Harris" has maintained its popularity in the United States over the years. In 2000, it ranked as the 24th most common surname, with a count of 593,542 representing 220.02 per 100,000 people. By 2010, while it had dropped slightly to the 25th rank, the number of individuals with the Harris surname increased to 624,252, indicating a growth rate of 5.17%. This represents a proportion of 211.63 per 100,000 people, showing a minor decline of 3.81% compared to the previous decade.

Proportion per 100k220.02211.63-3.81%

Race and Ethnicity of people with the last name Harris

The Decennial U.S. Census also provides interesting data about the ethnic identities associated with the surname "Harris". The largest groups identifying with this surname are White at 51.40% and Black at 42.39% as of 2010. Both groups saw changes from 2000, with Whites decreasing by 4.60% and Blacks increasing by 1.83%. Other ethnic identities include Hispanic (2.26%, up by 55.86%), two or more races (2.80%, up by 38.61%), Asian/Pacific Islander (0.47%, up by 30.56%) and American Indian and Alaskan Native (0.67%, up by 3.08%). These patterns reflect the diverse range of ethnic backgrounds that can be associated with the Harris surname in America.

Two or More Races2.02%2.8%38.61%
American Indian and Alaskan Native0.65%0.67%3.08%
Asian/Pacific Islander0.36%0.47%30.56%

Harris 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 Harris is British & Irish, which comprises 48.0% of all ancestry found in people with the surname. The next two most common ancestries are French & German (19.1%) and Nigerian (6.4%). Additional ancestries include Ashkenazi Jewish, Ghanaian, Liberian & Sierra Leonean, Eastern European, Scandinavian, and Italian.

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British & Irish48.0%
French & German19.1%

Possible origins of the surname Harris

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 Harris have recent ancestry locations all within United Kingdom.

RECENT ANCESTRY LocationPercentage
Greater London, United Kingdom75.70%
Merseyside, United Kingdom75.30%
Greater Manchester, United Kingdom75.20%
Glasgow City, United Kingdom75.00%
West Midlands, United Kingdom74.50%

What Harris 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 Harris is R-P311, which is predominantly found among people with European ancestry. Haplogroup R-P311 is descended from haplogroup R-M343. Other common haplogroups include I-P109 and R-CTS241, which are predominantly found among people with European and European ancestry. Other surnames with similar common haplogroups are: Carter, Brown, Taylor, Smith, Wilson, Johnson, Young, Green, Williams, Hill.

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

harrisPaternal 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 Harris 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.

"Harris" Surname 40.7%

23andMe Users 41.3%




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

"Harris" Surname 28.3%

23andMe Users 27.9%



Sugary Drink

Drinks one or more sugary drinks per day.

"Harris" Surname 24.2%

23andMe Users 21.1%



Cat Allergy

An allergic reaction to cats, characterized by symptoms such as sneezing, itching, and difficulty breathing.

"Harris" Surname 36.8%

23andMe Users 36.7%

Are health conditions linked to the last name Harris?

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 Harris 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%