What is the origin of the last name Ellis?

The last name Ellis has English and Welsh origins, deriving from the personal name "Elijah" in English, which itself originates from the Hebrew name "Eliyahu," meaning "my God is Yahweh." In Welsh, the name Ellis is derived from "Elisedd," which means "kind" or "benevolent." The surname Ellis gained popularity in medieval times as both a given name and a surname, and variations of the name can be found throughout England and Wales.

Countries of origin for the last name Ellis

The last name Ellis is derived from the given name Elias, which in turn comes from the biblical name Elijah. As an English surname, Ellis emerged during the medieval period and had variations such as Elys and Elis. It is classified as a patronymic surname, indicating that it was originally used to denote the descendants of someone named Ellis.

The surname Ellis has multiple origins. One origin can be traced back to the Hebrew name Elijah, meaning “Yahweh is God.” This biblical name, commonly used in the Middle Ages, was anglicized to Elias and eventually transformed into Ellis as a surname. The popularity of the name Ellis in England can be attributed to the spread of Christianity and the influence of the Bible.

Another origin of the surname Ellis is from the Welsh personal name Elisedd, meaning “kind” or “benevolent”. This Welsh origin is particularly prevalent in Wales and may have contributed to the popularity of the surname among Welsh immigrants to the United States.

The Ellis surname experienced significant migration to the United States during the 19th and early 20th centuries. Many Ellis families settled in states such as New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. This migration was primarily driven by economic opportunities and the promise of a better life in America.

Within the United States, the Ellis surname has become relatively widespread, with notable concentrations in states such as Texas, California, and Florida. This distribution reflects the historical patterns of immigration and population movements across the country.

There are numerous individuals with the last name Ellis who have achieved prominence in various fields, including politics, literature, and entertainment. Notable figures with the surname Ellis include British author and essayist Havelock Ellis, American actor and comedian Bretton James Ellis, and American football player and coach Tommie Ellis.

Overall, the last name Ellis carries a rich and diverse heritage, originating from both Hebrew and Welsh roots. Its prevalence in the United States is a testament to the history of immigration and the contribution of Ellis families to the country’s cultural fabric. While the specific origins and meanings of some variations of the surname may remain elusive, the significance of the Ellis name remains firmly embedded in history.

Interesting facts about the last name Ellis

  • The surname Ellis is of English and Welsh origin.
  • It is derived from the medieval given name Elias, which comes from the Greek name Elias.
  • The name Ellis can be traced back to the time of the Crusades, when it was brought to England by knights returning from the Holy Land.
  • The Ellis surname is particularly common in Wales, where it is one of the top Welsh surnames.
  • In England, the surname Ellis was most commonly found in the county of Yorkshire.
  • The name Ellis has various spelling variations, including Ellys, Elyas, Elice, and Ellice.
  • Ellis Island in the United States is named after the Welsh surname Ellis, as many immigrants with that surname passed through the island upon arriving in America.
  • Famous individuals with the surname Ellis include American author Bret Easton Ellis, archaeologist Stephen J. Ellis, and actress Sophie Ellis-Bextor.
  • The surname Ellis has different meanings in different languages. In English, it means “Jehovah is God,” while in Welsh, it means “benevolent.”

Name Rank


There are around 188968 people with the last name Ellis in the US

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