Last name: Ellis

This ancient surname of many spellings, is a "crusader" import into Europe from the Holy Land. Recorded as Elliss, Elix, Ellice, Eles, Elias, Heelis, and many other forms, it derives from the Greek "Elias", itself from the Hebrew "Eliyahu", and meaning "Jehovah is God". The name became popular among Christians in the Middle Ages partly because of its adoption by various early saints and martyrs including a 7th Century Bishop of Syracuse, but mainly as a reult of soldiers and pilgrims from the 11th and 12th century crusades. These people on their return home, often christened their children with the ancient names of the Old Testament in memory of the father's efforts to free the Holy Land from the Saracens. The fact that there were twelve such expeditions and all were unsuccessful, does not appear to have dimmed their enthusiasm.The earliest of all hereditary surnames and their recording, was in England, and it is here that we find the first examples of the surname. These include in the year 1202, William Elis in the charters relating to the Danelaw of the county of Lincolnshire, and Robert Elys or Helys, who was listed in the Calendar of Documents for the county of Essex, in 1250. One of the first settlers in the New England colonies was Richard Ellis, aged 29 yrs., who left London on the ship "Bonaventure", bound for Virginia in January 1634. The first recorded spelling of the family name anywhere in the world, is believed to be that of William Elyas, which was dated 1200, in the tax returns for the county of Yorkshire. This was during the reign of King John of England , 1199 - 1216. Throughout the centuries surnames in every country have continued to "develop", often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

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Jessica Ellis
What does my last name mean

Cheree Clark

I have traced my ancestry back to Thomas Ellis Yorkshire England ,born 1350. This is a dead end so far for me. Wondering if he came from Ireland ,Whales or some where else. Any help would be appreciated. Surnames : Ellis, Ellisse, Ellison. (My mother 83 yrs old was an Ellison originated from Clay County West Virginia) USA.

Cynthia Ellis

I've discovered so much on I know our name is ancient. Fascinating. We've survived wars pestilence and plagues. I find that mind boggling.

Ethan Ellis


Sedro Woolley, Washington, USA

My maiden name is Ellis. My branch was from Wales, so I always thought that's where the name originated. This is very cool info. Especially considering that my family is Christian. We also tend to be "kind ones". (unless, of course, you cross us) lol

Haley Ellis
My family came over from Ireland during the potato famine. That's really all I know.

Douglas Boyd
My Grandpa was an Ellis. Claude Charles Ellis. I've always been interested in going back as far as I can.

Steve Ellis
Great grandfather came to the US from England and settled in New Jersey with his German wife. Had 14 children, my grandfather (Raymond Sr.) being number 13.

Brian Ellis
Our family originated in Norway. Normandy was next and then to Wales and from there to Ireland with Strongbow. We seem to have taken a liking to the place but still wander a bit. I love the "kind ones" distinction and I believe it's true.

Jeffrey Ellis

I love trying to find out more about my family history so far 4thGen grandfather was a slave in NCarolina and his wife my grandmother was a Mohican spirt healer. And 2nd Gen auntie was a Mohican princess

Owen Ellis
I'm from England. We've traced some history back quite a few generations which are also all from England. I however moved to New Zealand in 1999 and now have 2 sons. Seems like the Ellis name is spreading far and wide!

Javonia Ellis
I didn't know this about my last name very interesting

Richard C. Ellis here. I was a Halloween baby (boooo!) Fascinating history. Nice to hear I'm a namesake of the passenger on "Bonaventure". Don't know the details but we are somehow connected to Mary Queen of Scots (one of my family branches which might not be Ellis).

Jerry Ellis

I'm 34 now and my father's family (early 1900's) is from Northeast Missouri, USA - but historically, traces back to Ellis' who first settled the United States in Virginia. Very interesting last name indeed.

Douglas Boyd
My grandpa Claude Charles Ellis was born in Sulpher Springs Texas in 1895. Any of you folks from there?

James E Ellis
I traced my family name Ellis back to 1800 and it got me to Ireland. My grandfather Robert came over to the US and started the Ellis Family in Pittsburgh, Pa. So I was brought up Irish. in 2004 I attended a wedding in Scotland, I was asked to wear a Kilt in the family name, I got my Kilt and was told I was Welsh. So now I am Welsh. Then I look up the orgin of Ellis and find out it is English. So what does one do??

Venieca Ellis
My grandfather told me that our family come from Ireland. Not much was told other than just that. Im interested in finding more abt my heritage but keep getting road blocks.

Marquita Ellis

wow this is very interesting and im a VA native

Oonagh Sloan
Im originally an Ellis and have found that my family came from Gwaenysgor, Flintshire, North Wales. Trying to trace further back.

sharon ellis
I'm from the Rhondda valley South Wales u.k.And my great grandparents came from North Wales. Some emigrated to America in the 1800's

John Ellis
My family can't from scotland about 6 generations ago I'm the 5th geneatioms to be named John In a row.