Explore the Family Name Lewis

The meaning of Lewis

1. English: from the Middle English, Old French personal name Lewis, Leweis, Lowis, from ancient Germanic (originally West Frankish) Hludwig (itself from hlōd- ‘fame, famous’ + wīg- ‘battle’). This was Latinized as Ludovicus and Chlodovisus, which were gallicized as Clovis or Clouis, French Louis. The name may also appear as Lawis, Laweys, Lawes, by unrounding of the vowel of Lowis on the analogy of the variation between Low and Law as pet forms of Middle English Lourence alias Laurence. This surname is also very common among African Americans. See Laws 2 and compare Lawrence. 2. Welsh: adopted for the Welsh personal name Llywelyn (see Llewellyn). 3. Irish: shortened Anglicized form of Gaelic Mac Lughaidh ‘son of Lughaidh’. This is one of the most common Old Irish personal names. It is derived from Lugh ‘brightness’, which was the name of a Celtic god. 4. Americanized form of French Louis. 5. Americanized form of various like-sounding Jewish surnames. 6. Chinese: variant Romanization of the surnames 廖 (see Liao), 羅 (see Luo 1), 劉 (see Liu 1). History: This name was brought independently to New England by many bearers from the 17th century onward. William Lewis was one of the founders of Hartford, CT, in 1635 (coming from Cambridge, MA, with Thomas Hooker). The explorer Meriwether Lewis (1774–1809) was a native of Albemarle County, VA, where he was a neighbor of the Jeffersons, Randolphs, and other prominent families. His family also had plantations on the Broad River in Oglethorpe County, GA. The Lewis family in VA date back to Robert Lewis, a native of Brecon, Wales, who settled in what is now Gloucester County, VA c.1635. Another early bearer of this very common British surname is Francis Lewis, a New York merchant and signer of the Declaration of Independence, who was born in 1713 in Llandaff, Glamorganshire, Wales. — This surname (see 4 above) is listed along with its original form Louis in the (US) National Huguenot Society’s register of qualified Huguenot ancestors.

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

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

Based on the Decennial U.S. Census data, the popularity of the surname Lewis has experienced a slight decline in rank between 2000 and 2010. In 2000, Lewis was the 26th most popular surname, but the ranking fell to 29th in 2010, representing an 11.54% decrease. However, the total count of individuals with the Lewis surname increased by 4.29% over the same period, from 509,930 to 531,781. The proportion per 100k also showed a drop of 4.63%, moving from 189.03 in 2000 to 180.28 in 2010.

Proportion per 100k189.03180.28-4.63%

Race and Ethnicity of people with the last name Lewis

When it comes to ethnic identity associated with the surname Lewis, the Decennial U.S. Census data shows some shifts between 2000 and 2010. The largest proportional increase was seen within the Hispanic community, surging by 57.32%. The percentage of those identifying as Asian/Pacific Islander and those reporting two or more races also rose, by 24.44% and 30.96% respectively. The white population reported the biggest decrease, falling by 4.49%, yet still represented a significant majority at 58.23%. Those identifying as Black saw a modest increase of 2.99%, while the American Indian and Alaskan Native category experienced a slight growth of 5.26%.

Two or More Races1.97%2.58%30.96%
American Indian and Alaskan Native1.14%1.2%5.26%
Asian/Pacific Islander0.45%0.56%24.44%

Lewis 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 Lewis is British & Irish, which comprises 49.2% of all ancestry found in people with the surname. The next two most common ancestries are French & German (20.3%) and Nigerian (4.9%). Additional ancestries include Ashkenazi Jewish, Eastern European, Scandinavian, Ghanaian, Liberian & Sierra Leonean, and Italian.

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British & Irish49.2%
French & German20.3%

Possible origins of the surname Lewis

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 Lewis have recent ancestry locations in United Kingdom and Ireland.

RECENT ANCESTRY LocationPercentage
Greater London, United Kingdom80.40%
Greater Manchester, United Kingdom80.30%
West Midlands, United Kingdom80.30%
Merseyside, United Kingdom80.10%
Glasgow City, United Kingdom80.00%

What Lewis 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 Lewis 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-L21 and R-P311, which are predominantly found among people with European and European ancestry. Other surnames with similar common haplogroups are: Thomas, Jones, Evans, Davis, Morgan, Phillips, James, Morris, Price, Williams.

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

lewisPaternal 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 Lewis 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.

"Lewis" Surname 40.1%

23andMe Users 41.3%




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

"Lewis" Surname 26.5%

23andMe Users 27.9%



Sugary Drink

Drinks one or more sugary drinks per day.

"Lewis" Surname 23.0%

23andMe Users 21.1%



Cat Allergy

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

"Lewis" Surname 36.3%

23andMe Users 36.7%

Are health conditions linked to the last name Lewis?

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 Lewis 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%