Explore the Family Name Morris

The meaning of Morris

1. English and Scottish: from Maurice, an Old French personal name introduced to Britain by the Normans. It is derived from Latin Mauritius, a derivative of Maurus (see Moore). This was the name of several early Christian saints. In some cases it may be a nickname of the same derivation for someone with a swarthy complexion. 2. Irish: Anglicized form of Gaelic Ó Muirghis, a variant of Ó Muirgheasa (see Morrissey). 3. Welsh: Anglicized form of the personal name Meurig (from Latin Mauritius), which was gradually superseded in Wales by Morus, Morys, a derivative of the Anglo-Norman French form of the name (see 1 above). 4. German: variant of Moritz and, in North America, (also) an altered form of this. 5. Americanized form of French Maurice, a cognate of 1 above. 6. Americanized form of various like-sounding Jewish surnames (see Morse). History: Morris was the name of an extensive and powerful family in colonial North America, whose members played a leading part in the emergence of the nation. They were descended from Richard Morris (died 1672), who fought in Oliver Cromwell’s army and then became a merchant in Barbados. His son Lewis (1671–1746) established the manor of Morrisania in NY. His grandson, Lewis (1726–98), third owner of that manor, was a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Two other grandsons, Richard and Gouverneur, were also key figures in the American Revolution. Their half-brother Staats Morris (1728–1800) was a general in the British army who was appointed governor of QC. Another signer of the Declaration, Robert Morris (1734–1806), had emigrated to North America from Liverpool at the age of 13. He became known as the “Financier of the Revolution” and was the founder of the Bank of North America. Despite his reputation, he was personally ruined by unwise (or unfortunate) speculation.

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

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

According to data from the Decennial U.S. Census, the popularity of the surname Morris saw a slight dip between 2000 and 2010. The rank of the surname fell from 56th most popular in 2000 to 62nd in 2010, marking a decrease of 10.71%. However, despite this drop in ranking, the actual count of individuals bearing the surname Morris increased by 2.29% during this period, rising from 311,754 people in 2000 to 318,884 people in 2010. Consequently, the proportion of individuals with this surname per 100,000 people also decreased slightly, falling from 115.57 to 108.1.

Proportion per 100k115.57108.1-6.46%

Race and Ethnicity of people with the last name Morris

With regard to ethnicity, data from the Decennial U.S. Census indicates shifts in the ethnic identity associated with the surname Morris between 2000 and 2010. The percentage of individuals identifying as Asian/Pacific Islander, those identifying with two or more races, Hispanic, Black, and American Indian and Alaskan Native all saw increases. Asian/Pacific Islander rose by 32.56%, two or more races saw an increase of 31.76%, Hispanic identification grew by 47.40%, Black identification increased by 4.10% and American Indian and Alaskan Native identification witnessed a rise of 5.38%. However, the percentage of individuals identifying as White and carrying the surname Morris decreased by 3.07%, from 75.92% in 2000 to 73.59% in 2010. This shows a growing diversity in the ethnic identities associated with the surname Morris.

Two or More Races1.7%2.24%31.76%
American Indian and Alaskan Native0.93%0.98%5.38%
Asian/Pacific Islander0.43%0.57%32.56%

Morris 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 Morris is British & Irish, which comprises 54.1% of all ancestry found in people with the surname. The next two most common ancestries are French & German (21.2%) and Eastern European (3.6%). Additional ancestries include Scandinavian, Ashkenazi Jewish, Nigerian, Italian, and Spanish & Portuguese.

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British & Irish54.1%
French & German21.2%
Eastern European3.6%

Possible origins of the surname Morris

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

RECENT ANCESTRY LocationPercentage
Greater London, United Kingdom86.40%
Merseyside, United Kingdom86.20%
Greater Manchester, United Kingdom86.20%
West Midlands, United Kingdom86.00%
Glasgow City, United Kingdom85.90%

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

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

morrisPaternal 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 Morris 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.

"Morris" Surname 42.1%

23andMe Users 41.3%




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

"Morris" Surname 27.0%

23andMe Users 27.9%



Sugary Drink

Drinks one or more sugary drinks per day.

"Morris" Surname 24.3%

23andMe Users 21.1%



Cat Allergy

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

"Morris" Surname 37.1%

23andMe Users 36.7%

Are health conditions linked to the last name Morris?

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 Morris 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%