Explore the Family Name Walsh

The meaning of Walsh

1. English and Irish: ethnic name from Middle English walshe (Old English wælisc) ‘foreign, Welsh’. This form of the name was generally more common than Welsh, especially in Ireland, where it originally denoted a Welsh-speaking immigrant, in particular any of the Welshmen who arrived in the wake of Strongbow’s Anglo-Norman invasion of 1170. In Ireland it is sometimes also a translation of Breathnach ‘Briton’. 2. English: in Yorkshire and Lancashire the name is sometimes a shortened form of Walshaw. Some characteristic forenames: Irish Brendan, Aileen, Dermot, John Patrick, Kieran, Declan, Eamonn, Colm, Donal, Seamus, Siobhan, Brennan.

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

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

Based on the Decennial U.S. Census data, the surname Walsh has seen some changes in its popularity over the years. In 2000, Walsh was ranked as the 265th most popular surname, but by 2010, it had slipped to the 295th position, marking an 11.32% decrease. Despite this slip in rank, the actual count of individuals with the Walsh surname increased from 103,216 in 2000 to 105,079 in 2010, a modest growth of 1.8%. However, when looking at the proportion per 100,000 people, there was a decline of 6.9%, dropping from 38.26 in 2000 to 35.62 in 2010.

Proportion per 100k38.2635.62-6.9%

Race and Ethnicity of people with the last name Walsh

In terms of ethnic identity, the Decennial U.S. Census reveals some shifts among those carrying the Walsh surname between 2000 and 2010. The majority of individuals identified as White, although this percentage decreased slightly from 95.90% in 2000 to 94.48% in 2010. Meanwhile, the proportion of those identifying as Hispanic saw the most significant increase—rising from 1.41% in 2000 to 2.20% in 2010, a change of 56.03%. Other increases were observed among those identifying as Asian/Pacific Islander (from 0.49% to 0.65%), those claiming two or more races (from 1.04% to 1.35%), and Black ethnicity (from 0.96% to 1.11%). Lastly, a modest increase was noted among those identifying as American Indian and Alaskan Native, growing from 0.20% to 0.23%.

Two or More Races1.04%1.35%29.81%
Asian/Pacific Islander0.49%0.65%32.65%
American Indian and Alaskan Native0.2%0.23%15%

Walsh 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 Walsh is British & Irish, which comprises 62.0% of all ancestry found in people with the surname. The next two most common ancestries are French & German (13.9%) and Eastern European (6.5%). Additional ancestries include Italian, Scandinavian, Spanish & Portuguese, Ashkenazi Jewish, and Greek & Balkan.

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British & Irish62.0%
French & German13.9%
Eastern European6.5%

Possible origins of the surname Walsh

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

RECENT ANCESTRY LocationPercentage
Greater London, United Kingdom86.20%
Greater Manchester, United Kingdom86.00%
Merseyside, United Kingdom85.90%
West Midlands, United Kingdom85.80%
Glasgow City, United Kingdom85.80%

What Walsh 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 Walsh 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-Z255, which are predominantly found among people with European and European ancestry. Other surnames with similar common haplogroups are: Welch, Morgan, Evans, Hughes, Jones, Lewis, Phillips, Morris, Owens, Mcdonald.

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

walshPaternal 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 Walsh 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.

"Walsh" Surname 45.0%

23andMe Users 41.3%




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

"Walsh" Surname 28.2%

23andMe Users 27.9%



Sugary Drink

Drinks one or more sugary drinks per day.

"Walsh" Surname 17.1%

23andMe Users 21.1%




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

"Walsh" Surname 17.7%

23andMe Users 16.4%

Are health conditions linked to the last name Walsh?

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 Walsh 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%