Explore the Family Name Whaley

The meaning of Whaley

English (northern): habitational name from Whalley (Lancashire) or Whaley in Bolsover (Derbyshire). The Lancashire placename may derive from Old English hwæl ‘hill’ + lēah ‘wood, woodland clearing’. The Derbyshire placename may derive from Old English wall ‘wall’, walh ‘Welshman, foreigner’ (genitive plural wala), or wælla ‘well, spring, stream’ + lēah.

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

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

Based on the Decennial U.S. Census, the surname Whaley has seen a slight decrease in popularity from 2000 to 2010. In 2000, the surname was ranked 1,484th most popular in the United States, but by 2010 it had dropped to the 1,575th spot, marking a decline of 6.13 percent. However, the census data also shows that the actual count of people with the Whaley surname increased by 3.79 percent during that same period, rising from approximately 22,000 in 2000 to around 22,833 in 2010.

Proportion per 100k8.167.74-5.15%

Race and Ethnicity of people with the last name Whaley

The ethnicity of individuals bearing the Whaley surname saw various changes between 2000 and 2010, according to the Decennial U.S. Census. The proportion of Whaleys of Asian/Pacific Islander descent saw a significant increase of 66.67 percent, while the percentage identifying as Hispanic rose by 47.37 percent. Additionally, those reporting as having two or more ethnic identities increased by 38.46 percent. Conversely, the proportion of Whaleys identifying as White decreased by 2.20 percent, and those identifying as American Indian and Alaskan Native fell by 8.33 percent. Lastly, there was a small rise of 4.18 percent in the proportion of Whaleys who identify as Black.

Two or More Races1.3%1.8%38.46%
Asian/Pacific Islander0.36%0.6%66.67%
American Indian and Alaskan Native0.48%0.44%-8.33%

Whaley 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 Whaley is British & Irish, which comprises 55.7% of all ancestry found in people with the surname. The next two most common ancestries are French & German (22.9%) and Eastern European (3.9%). Additional ancestries include Scandinavian, Italian, Nigerian, Spanish & Portuguese, and Ghanaian, Liberian & Sierra Leonean.

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British & Irish55.7%
French & German22.9%
Eastern European3.9%

Possible origins of the surname Whaley

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 Whaley have recent ancestry locations all within United Kingdom.

RECENT ANCESTRY LocationPercentage
Greater London, United Kingdom88.40%
Greater Manchester, United Kingdom88.20%
Glasgow City, United Kingdom88.20%
Lancashire, United Kingdom87.90%
Merseyside, United Kingdom87.50%

What Whaley 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 Whaley 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 I-Z58 and R-M405, which are predominantly found among people with European and European ancestry. Other surnames with similar common haplogroups are: Dodd, Lowe, Shaw, Paterson, Lund, Croft, Jarvis, Stephenson, Blake, Pedersen.

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

whaleyPaternal 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 Whaley 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.

"Whaley" Surname 49.4%

23andMe Users 41.3%




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

"Whaley" Surname 27.2%

23andMe Users 27.9%



Sugary Drink

Drinks one or more sugary drinks per day.

"Whaley" 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.

"Whaley" Surname 19.6%

23andMe Users 16.4%

Are health conditions linked to the last name Whaley?

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 Whaley 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%