Explore the Family Name Wiley

The meaning of Wiley

English: from various places called with Old English wīg, wēoh ‘idol’ + lēah ‘wood, clearing’, such as Whyly in East Hoathly (Sussex), Whiligh in Ticehurst (Sussex), Weeley (Essex), Weoley (Worcestershire), and Willey (Surrey), or from any of the other places called Willey, such as those in Cheshire, Herefordshire, Shropshire, and Warwickshire, named with Old English wilig ‘willow’ + lēah, or from Wylye (Wiltshire), which takes its name from the river Wylye (of uncertain etymology).

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

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

According to data from the Decennial U.S. Census, the surname Wiley has slightly decreased in popularity over the past decade. In 2000, the name was ranked 653rd most popular, but by 2010, it had fallen to 713th place, marking a drop of 9.19%. However, the total count of people with the Wiley surname actually increased during this period from 47,503 to 48,720, showing a growth of 2.56%. Despite this increase in numbers, the proportion of people with the Wiley surname per 100,000 people declined by 6.19% from 17.61 in 2000 to 16.52 in 2010.

Proportion per 100k17.6116.52-6.19%

Race and Ethnicity of people with the last name Wiley

As per data from the Decennial U.S. Census on ethnicity, individuals with the Wiley surname show a diverse ethnic identity. The largest ethnic group remains those identifying as White, albeit with a slight decrease from 67.53% in 2000 to 65.71% in 2010. The second largest group are those identifying as Black, demonstrating minor growth from 28.42% to 28.68% across the same period. The Hispanic community within the Wiley surname holders showed a significant increase of 59.29%, growing from 1.4% to 2.23%. Those identifying as Asian/Pacific Islander and American Indian and Alaskan Native also saw growths of 21.05% and 8.47% respectively. Lastly, individuals identifying with two or more races increased from 1.68% to 2.28%, witnessing a substantial growth of 35.71%.

Two or More Races1.68%2.28%35.71%
American Indian and Alaskan Native0.59%0.64%8.47%
Asian/Pacific Islander0.38%0.46%21.05%

Wiley 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 Wiley is British & Irish, which comprises 49.1% of all ancestry found in people with the surname. The next two most common ancestries are French & German (23.3%) and Nigerian (4.6%). Additional ancestries include Scandinavian, Eastern European, Italian, Ghanaian, Liberian & Sierra Leonean, and Spanish & Portuguese.

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British & Irish49.1%
French & German23.3%

Possible origins of the surname Wiley

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 Wiley have recent ancestry locations in United Kingdom and Ireland.

RECENT ANCESTRY LocationPercentage
Greater London, United Kingdom80.80%
Merseyside, United Kingdom80.60%
Greater Manchester, United Kingdom80.60%
Glasgow City, United Kingdom80.30%
West Yorkshire, United Kingdom80.20%

What Wiley 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 Wiley is I-CTS4922, which is predominantly found among people with European ancestry. Haplogroup I-CTS4922 is descended from haplogroup I-M170. Other common haplogroups include R-DF88 and R-CTS241, which are predominantly found among people with European and European ancestry. Other surnames with similar common haplogroups are: Gates, Stroud, Cassidy, Young, Smith, Grant, Johnson, Brown, Foster, Hunt.

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

wileyPaternal Haplogroup Origins I-M170

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 Wiley 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.

"Wiley" Surname 38.6%

23andMe Users 41.3%




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

"Wiley" Surname 26.3%

23andMe Users 27.9%



Sugary Drink

Drinks one or more sugary drinks per day.

"Wiley" Surname 27.0%

23andMe Users 21.1%




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

"Wiley" Surname 17.4%

23andMe Users 16.4%

Are health conditions linked to the last name Wiley?

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 Wiley 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%