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Wallace Last Name Meaning


Choosing a name for your child is a big decision, and many parents look to their family history and heritage for inspiration. If you have the last name Wallace, you may be curious about its meaning and origin. In this article, we'll explore the fascinating history and genealogy behind the last name Wallace, as well as notable figures who bear the name.

Meaning and Origin of the Last Name Wallace

The last name Wallace is of Scottish origin, and is derived from the Gaelic word 'bhalla' which means 'a stranger' or 'foreigner'. The name was originally given to those who were not native to Scotland, and may have been used to refer to immigrants or settlers from other parts of the British Isles or Europe. Another theory is that the name may have been used to refer to those who lived near a wall or fortification, as the word 'bhalla' can also mean 'a wall' or 'rampart'.

Early History of the Wallace Family

The earliest recorded use of the last name Wallace dates back to the 12th century, when a man named Richard Walensis was listed as a witness in a charter from the Abbey of Kelso in Scotland. The name became more common in the following centuries, and was associated with several notable figures in Scottish history. One of the most famous was William Wallace, a Scottish knight who led a rebellion against English rule in the late 13th century. Wallace became a national hero in Scotland, and his story was immortalized in the epic poem 'The Wallace' by Blind Harry.

Genealogy of the Wallace Family

If you are interested in tracing your family history and genealogy, there are several resources available to help you learn more about your Wallace ancestors. One of the best places to start is with census records, which can provide information about where your ancestors lived, their occupations, and other details about their lives. You can also search for birth, marriage, and death records, which can help you build a more complete picture of your family tree. Online genealogy websites like and can be valuable tools for researching your family history, as they offer access to a wide range of historical records and other resources.

Notable Figures with the Last Name Wallace

Over the centuries, many notable figures have borne the last name Wallace. In addition to William Wallace, there have been several other famous Wallaces throughout history. Some of the most notable include:

1. Alfred Russel Wallace

Alfred Russel Wallace was a British naturalist and explorer who is best known for his work on the theory of evolution. He independently developed the concept of natural selection around the same time as Charles Darwin, and the two men jointly presented their findings to the scientific community in 1858. Wallace went on to make significant contributions to the study of biogeography, and his work helped to establish the field of evolutionary biology.

2. George Wallace

George Wallace was an American politician who served as the Governor of Alabama from 1963 to 1967, and again from 1971 to 1979. He was known for his staunch opposition to desegregation and civil rights, and famously declared in his 1963 inaugural address that he would defend 'segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever'. Wallace ran for president several times, but was never successful in his bids for the White House.

3. Lew Wallace

Lew Wallace was an American author and Civil War general who is best known for his novel 'Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ'. The book was a bestseller when it was published in 1880, and has since been adapted into several films and stage productions. Wallace also served as the governor of the New Mexico Territory, and was instrumental in negotiating a peace treaty with the Navajo people.


Whether you are a Wallace yourself, or simply interested in the history and meaning behind last names, the story of the Wallace family is a fascinating one. From its origins in Scotland to its association with famous figures throughout history, the name Wallace has a rich and complex history that is worth exploring. By learning more about your family history and genealogy, you can gain a deeper understanding of your own roots and heritage, and pass that knowledge on to future generations.