Explore the Family Name Wessels

The meaning of Wessels

Dutch and North German: patronymic from the personal name Wessel 1. This surname is also established in South Africa. History: One of the most prominent fur traders in New Netherland (now NY) in the 1660s was Dirck Wessels(e) (1637–1717), who probably came to New Netherland before 1650 with his father, Wessel Wesselse, a West India Company employee. He also bore the surname Ten Broeck.

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

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

According to data from the Decennial U.S. Census, the popularity of the surname Wessels has seen a slight decrease over the years. In 2000, Wessels was ranked at 8541 but by 2010, it had slipped 100 spots to 8641, reflecting a negative change of 1.17%. Despite this drop in rank, the actual count of people with the Wessels surname increased from 3551 in 2000 to 3805 in 2010, an increase of 7.15%. However, the proportion per 100k of this surname decreased slightly by 2.27%.

Proportion per 100k1.321.29-2.27%

Race and Ethnicity of people with the last name Wessels

In terms of ethnic identity, the Decennial U.S. Census data shows some changes for individuals with the surname Wessels between 2000 and 2010. The majority of Wessels identify as White, with percentages remaining fairly stable at 94.37% in 2000 and slightly decreasing to 94.17% in 2010. Those identifying as Hispanic saw an increase from 1.97% to 2.39%, while those identifying as Black remained relatively unchanged at approximately 1.39%. Populations identifying as Asian/Pacific Islander and those of two or more races saw decreases, down 17.65% and 10.14% respectively. The percentage of individuals identifying as American Indian and Alaskan Native remained constant at 0.39%.

Two or More Races1.38%1.24%-10.14%
Asian/Pacific Islander0.51%0.42%-17.65%
American Indian and Alaskan Native0.39%0.39%0%

Wessels 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 Wessels is French & German, which comprises 39.4% of all ancestry found in people with the surname. The next two most common ancestries are British & Irish (35.7%) and Scandinavian (7.9%). Additional ancestries include Eastern European, Spanish & Portuguese, Italian, Ashkenazi Jewish, and Indigenous American.

Ready to learn more about your ancestry? Get the most comprehensive ancestry breakdown on the market by taking our DNA test. Shop 23andMe

French & German39.4%
British & Irish35.7%

Possible origins of the surname Wessels

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 Wessels have recent ancestry locations in United Kingdom and Ireland.

RECENT ANCESTRY LocationPercentage
Merseyside, United Kingdom76.60%
West Yorkshire, United Kingdom76.60%
Tyne And Wear, United Kingdom76.60%
Greater Manchester, United Kingdom76.60%
Greater London, United Kingdom76.60%

What Wessels 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 Wessels is R-M417, which is predominantly found among people with European ancestry. Haplogroup R-M417 is descended from haplogroup R-M420. Other common haplogroups include R-M405 and R-L48, which are predominantly found among people with European and European ancestry. Other surnames with similar common haplogroups are: Nilsson, Johansen, Otte, Sander, Heuer, Mortensen, Hartwig, Ehlers, Evers, Christiansen.

The most common maternal haplogroups of people with Wessels surname are: H1, H, J1c. These most commonly trace back to individuals of European ancestry.

wesselsPaternal Haplogroup Origins R-M420

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 Wessels 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.

"Wessels" Surname 59.0%

23andMe Users 41.3%




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

"Wessels" Surname 36.7%

23andMe Users 27.9%



Sugary Drink

Drinks one or more sugary drinks per day.

"Wessels" Surname 18.6%

23andMe Users 21.1%




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

"Wessels" Surname 14.4%

23andMe Users 16.4%

Are health conditions linked to the last name Wessels?

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 Wessels 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

French & German 60.8%

23andMe Users 57.2%