Explore the Family Name Morton

The meaning of Morton

1. English and Scottish: habitational name from any of the many places called Mor(e)ton, named with Old English mōr ‘moor’ + tūn ‘farmstead, estate’. There has probably been some confusion with Morten, and perhaps also with Murton. This English name has also been established in Ireland since the 13th century. 2. American shortened and altered form of Swedish Mårtensson or Mortensson (see Martenson and Mortenson), which could also be substituted for the Finnish cognate Marttinen. 3. French: shortened form of Moreton 3. 4. French: habitational name from a place so named in Vienne. 5. Jewish: adopted for one or more like-sounding Jewish names (for example, Mordecai). History: The name Morton was established early in North America. George Morton (1585–1624), one of the Pilgrims, was probably born in Scrooby, Nottinghamshire, England. He and his son Nathaniel (born 1613 in Leiden, the Netherlands) settled in Plymouth in 1623. — John Morton (c.1724–77), one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, was born in PA, of Finnish-Swedish descent. His grandfather, Morten Mortenson (an adaptation of Finnish Martti Marttinen) is said to have been born in Petäjävesi (Finland), in the region once known as Rautalampi (now only the name of a small municipality), and emigrated from Gothenburg, Sweden, in 1654.

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

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

According to the Decennial U.S. Census data, the popularity of the surname Morton has seen a slight decline over the decade from 2000 to 2010. In 2000, Morton was ranked as the 509th most common surname, but by 2010, it had slipped to 568th in rank, representing an 11.59% decrease. However, the actual count of people with this surname marginally increased by 0.72%, from 58,788 in 2000 to 59,213 in 2010. The proportion per 100,000 people also saw a 7.89% reduction over this period.

Proportion per 100k21.7920.07-7.89%

Race and Ethnicity of people with the last name Morton

The ethnic identity linked to the surname Morton also evolved between 2000 and 2010, as revealed by the Decennial U.S. Census data. While those identifying as White held the majority, their percentage decreased by 2.55% to 74%. Those identifying as Black made up the second-largest group and saw a modest increase of 1.44% to 19.74%. The proportion of people identifying as Hispanic experienced the largest growth at 56.05%, reaching 2.45% by 2010. Asian/Pacific Islanders and people identifying as two or more races also increased by 29.41% and 30.11% respectively. The proportion of American Indian and Alaskan Natives also grew by 11.69%.

Two or More Races1.76%2.29%30.11%
American Indian and Alaskan Native0.77%0.86%11.69%
Asian/Pacific Islander0.51%0.66%29.41%

Morton 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 Morton is British & Irish, which comprises 55.3% of all ancestry found in people with the surname. The next two most common ancestries are French & German (20.4%) and Eastern European (3.5%). Additional ancestries include Scandinavian, Nigerian, Italian, Ashkenazi Jewish, and Spanish & Portuguese.

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British & Irish55.3%
French & German20.4%
Eastern European3.5%

Possible origins of the surname Morton

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 Morton have recent ancestry locations all within United Kingdom.

RECENT ANCESTRY LocationPercentage
Greater London, United Kingdom85.40%
Glasgow City, United Kingdom85.30%
Greater Manchester, United Kingdom85.20%
Merseyside, United Kingdom85.20%
West Midlands, United Kingdom85.00%

What Morton 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 Morton is I-L22, which is predominantly found among people with European ancestry. Haplogroup I-L22 is descended from haplogroup I-M170. Other common haplogroups include R-U152 and I-L205.1, which are predominantly found among people with European and European ancestry. Other surnames with similar common haplogroups are: Todd, Summers, Nixon, Nelson, Johnson, Brown, King, Webb, Anderson, Green.

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

mortonPaternal Haplogroup Origins I-M170
Paternal Haplo Image

Your paternal lineage may be linked to many northern European men

If you have haplogroup I1a1b, your paternal line stems from a young branch of I-M253 called I-L22, which likely arose in the last 3,000 years. I-L22 is most common in Northern Europe, but a recent study found that this haplogroup was present in a significant portion of the Partecipanza population living in San Giovanni in Persiceto, Italy. The area of San Giovanni in Persiceto was involved in a migration period in 728 AD, when it became part of the Lombard kingdom, under King Aistulf. San Giovanni in Persiceto was only under Lombard rule for 48 years, after which the Lombards were defeated by King Charlemagne in 776 AD. There are several characteristics of San Giovanni in Persiceto that link it to other Lombard settlements. For instance, some research suggests San Giovanni in Persiceto was the seat of a Lombard Duke between 750 and 800 AD. It is possible that the Lombards who ruled over San Giovanni in Persiceto played an important role in the introduction and growth of haplogroup I-L22 in the region.

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 Morton 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.

"Morton" Surname 40.3%

23andMe Users 41.3%




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

"Morton" Surname 27.6%

23andMe Users 27.9%



Sugary Drink

Drinks one or more sugary drinks per day.

"Morton" Surname 19.3%

23andMe Users 21.1%




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

"Morton" Surname 18.5%

23andMe Users 16.4%

Are health conditions linked to the last name Morton?

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 Morton 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%