Explore the Family Name Waddell

The meaning of Waddell

1. Scottish: habitational name from Wedale near Galashiels (Selkirkshire). This was also the old name of the parish of Stow in Midlothian. The placename may be from Old English wēoh ‘heathen shrine’ (and if so, an example which is unusually far north, and therefore Old English wēod ‘weed, herb’ might be preferred) + dæl ‘hollow, dell’. 2. English: habitational name from Wadden Hall in Waltham (Kent). The placename may derive from an Old English personal name Wæda (genitive Wæden) or Old English wāden ‘growing with woad’ + Old English halh ‘nook, corner of land’. 3. English: perhaps a habitational name from Woodhill Park in Clyffe Pypard (Wiltshire). The placename derives from Old English wād ‘woad’ + hyll ‘hill’. Alternatively, this name might derive from a hypothetical Middle English personal name Wadel (Old English Wædel). 4. English: habitational name occasionally perhaps from Odell (Bedfordshire), which is recorded as Wadehelle in 1086; see O’Dell.

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

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

According to the Decennial U.S. Census data, the popularity of the surname Waddell has seen a slight decline from 2000 to 2010. In the year 2000, Waddell was ranked as the 1,576th most popular surname in the United States, but by 2010 it had dropped to the 1,691st spot, marking a decrease of 7.3%. Despite this fall in rank, the total count of individuals bearing the Waddell name actually increased during this period from 20,885 to 21,301, showing a growth of 1.99%. However, when considering the proportion per 100,000 people, there was a decrease of 6.72% from 7.74 to 7.22.

Proportion per 100k7.747.22-6.72%

Race and Ethnicity of people with the last name Waddell

On the ethnic identity front, the data from the Decennial U.S. Census shows some interesting shifts between 2000 and 2010. The largest portion of individuals with the Waddell surname identified as White, however, there was a slight decrease in this group, from 82.81% in 2000 to 80.85% in 2010. Those identifying as Black made up the second-largest group and saw a small increase of 4.61%, from 13.87% to 14.51%. Notably, those identifying as two or more races experienced the largest percentage increase, jumping 52.63% from 1.14% to 1.74%. The Hispanic population also saw significant growth of 35.95%, although they make up just 2.08% of the Waddells in 2010. Meanwhile, Asian/Pacific Islander and American Indian and Alaskan Native groups also saw increases, although they still represent small proportions of the overall Waddell population.

Two or More Races1.14%1.74%52.63%
Asian/Pacific Islander0.38%0.47%23.68%
American Indian and Alaskan Native0.28%0.36%28.57%

Waddell 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 Waddell is British & Irish, which comprises 56.6% of all ancestry found in people with the surname. The next two most common ancestries are French & German (21.5%) and Italian (3.4%). Additional ancestries include Scandinavian, Nigerian, Eastern European, Ghanaian, Liberian & Sierra Leonean, and Spanish & Portuguese.

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British & Irish56.6%
French & German21.5%

Possible origins of the surname Waddell

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 Waddell have recent ancestry locations in United Kingdom and Ireland.

RECENT ANCESTRY LocationPercentage
Greater Manchester, United Kingdom87.30%
Greater London, United Kingdom87.30%
Glasgow City, United Kingdom87.10%
Merseyside, United Kingdom86.90%
West Midlands, United Kingdom86.90%

What Waddell 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 Waddell is R-S3933, which is predominantly found among people with European ancestry. Haplogroup R-S3933 is descended from haplogroup R-M343. Other common haplogroups include R-CTS241 and J-L26, which are predominantly found among people with European and European ancestry. Other surnames with similar common haplogroups are: Kirby, French, Daniel, Gregory, Pickett, Griggs, Parker, Holley, Bolton, Austin.

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

waddellPaternal Haplogroup Origins R-M343
Paternal Haplo Image

Your paternal lineage may be linked to King Louis XVI

The rule of France by men of the House of Bourbon began with King Henri IV in 1589 C.E. and continued until the beheading of his direct paternal descendant King Louis XVI in 1793. Several years ago, researchers analyzed a mummified head and a blood-soaked cloth that they believed might belong to the two kings, and concluded that the royal paternal line belonged to haplogroup G. In a more recent study, however, a different set of researchers tested three living men who are direct descendants of the Bourbon kings. Their efforts revealed that the male lineage of the House of Bourbon is actually a branch of haplogroup R-M405.

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 Waddell 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.

"Waddell" Surname 46.5%

23andMe Users 41.3%




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

"Waddell" Surname 30.8%

23andMe Users 27.9%



Sugary Drink

Drinks one or more sugary drinks per day.

"Waddell" Surname 25.6%

23andMe Users 21.1%




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

"Waddell" Surname 19.7%

23andMe Users 16.4%

Are health conditions linked to the last name Waddell?

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 Waddell 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%