ELLIS Surname Meaning and Family History

The Ellis surname derives from the given name Elijah, meaning Jehovah is God.
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One of several popular names in medieval England derived from the Hebrew personal name "Elijah," or the Greek "Elias" (Hebrew "Eliyyahu"), meaning "my God is Yahweh." In Old English the name was often spelled Elis or Elys.

In Wales the Ellis surname derived from the Welsh personal name Elisedd, a derivative of elus, meaning "kindly, benevolent."

Surname Origin: English, Welsh


Famous People With the ELLIS Surname

  • Albert Ellis - American psychologist
  • Alton Ellis - Jamaican singer-songwriter
  • Nelsan Ellis - American theater and television actor
  • Perry Ellis - American fashion designer
  • C. P. (Claiborne Paul) Ellis - American Ku Klux Klan leader turned civil rights activist
  • Donald Johnson "Don" Ellis - American jazz trumpeter, drummer, composer and bandleader
  • George James Welbore Agar-Ellis - 1st Baron Dover; British politician
  • William Ellis - English missionary and author

Where Is the ELLIS Last Name Most Common?

Ellis, according to surname data from Forebears, is the 1,446th most common surname in the world. It is most prevalent in the United States, where it ranks 113th, but it is used by a greater percentage of the population in Wales (45th), England (75th), and Jamaica (66th). Within Wales, the Ellis surname is found most frequently in the North, especially Flintshire (where it ranks 12th), Denbigshire (14th) and Caernarfonshire (16th). In England, it is most common in Devon (17th).

WorldNames PublicProfiler has the Ellis surname as most commonly found in the United Kingdom, with the greatest numbers of individuals clustered in northern Wales and Yorkshire and Humberside, England.

Genealogy Resources for the Surname ELLIS

English Surname Meanings and Origins
Uncover the meaning of your English last name with this guide to English surname meanings and origins.

How to Research English Ancestry
Learn how to research your English family tree with this guide to genealogical records in England and Wales, including birth, marriage, death, census, military and church records.

Ellis Surname DNA Project
A central site for individuals with the Ellis or variant surname who want to participate in Family Tree DNA testing to learn about their Ellis ancestors and where and who they came from.

Ellis Family Crest - It's Not What You Think
Contrary to what you may hear, there is no such thing as an Ellis family crest or coat of arms for the Ellis surname. Coats of arms are granted to individuals, not families, and may rightfully be used only by the uninterrupted male-line descendants of the person to whom the coat of arms was originally granted.

ELLIS Family Genealogy Forum
Free message board is focused on descendants of Ellis ancestors around the world.

FamilySearch - ELLIS Genealogy
Explore over 4.5 million historical records which mention individuals with the Ellis surname, as well as online Ellis family trees on this free website hosted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

ELLIS Surname Mailing List
Free mailing list for researchers of the Ellis surname and its variations includes subscription details and a searchable archives of past messages.

GeneaNet - Ellis Records
GeneaNet includes archival records, family trees, and other resources for individuals with the Ellis surname, with a concentration on records and families from France and other European countries.

The Ellis Genealogy and Family Tree Page
Browse family trees and links to genealogical and historical records for individuals with the last name Ellis from the website of Genealogy Today.

References: Surname Meanings & Origins

  • Cottle, Basil. Penguin Dictionary of Surnames. Baltimore, MD: Penguin Books, 1967.
  • Dorward, David. Scottish Surnames. Collins Celtic (Pocket edition), 1998.
  • Fucilla, Joseph. Our Italian Surnames. Genealogical Publishing Company, 2003.
  • Hanks, Patrick and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford University Press, 1989.
  • Hanks, Patrick. Dictionary of American Family Names. Oxford University Press, 2003.
  • Reaney, P.H. A Dictionary of English Surnames. Oxford University Press, 1997.
  • Smith, Elsdon C. American Surnames. Genealogical Publishing Company, 1997.


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Your Citation
Powell, Kimberly. "ELLIS Surname Meaning and Family History." ThoughtCo, Aug. 27, 2020, thoughtco.com/ellis-surname-meaning-and-origin-4080312. Powell, Kimberly. (2020, August 27). ELLIS Surname Meaning and Family History. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/ellis-surname-meaning-and-origin-4080312 Powell, Kimberly. "ELLIS Surname Meaning and Family History." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/ellis-surname-meaning-and-origin-4080312 (accessed June 8, 2023).