Nelson (surname)

Nelson is a family name. Within the United States, it is ranked as the 39th-most common surname of 88799 listed.[1]

It is in origin a patronymic meaning "son of Nels" (Scandinavian) or "son of Nell" (Irish). Many derived from Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson, also known as Lord Nelson, a British admiral known for his participation in the Napoleonic Wars.

Notable persons named Nelson

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  • Larry Nelson, American professional golfer
  • Lauritz Nelson, American Medal of Honor recipient
  • Lee Nelson (disambiguation), several people
  • Leonard Nelson, German mathematician and philosopher


  • Matthew Nelson, American singer/songwriter/musician
  • Melody Nelson, fictional character
  • Michael Nelson (disambiguation), several people including those named "Mike Nelson"
  • Morley Nelson, falconer and educator





  • Ralph Nelson, American movie and television director, producer, writer, and actor
  • Ray Nelson, science fiction author and cartoonist
  • Rebecca J. Nelson, Associate Professor of Plant Pathology, Plant Breeding and International Agriculture at Cornell University
  • Richard Nelson (author), anthropologist and writer
  • Ricky Nelson, American singer-songwriter, instrumentalist, and actor
  • Ricky Nelson (baseball)
  • Rob Nelson (born 1964), former Major League Baseball first baseman
  • Rob Nelson (reporter), American news reporter
  • Rob Nelson (talk show host), American talk show host
  • Robert Nelson (disambiguation)
  • Rocky Nelson, American professional baseball player
  • Roger D. Nelson, director of the Global Consciousness Project
  • Ron Nelson, classical and popular music composer
  • Rosemary Nelson, Irish Human Rights Lawyer
  • Russ Nelson, American computer programmer
  • Russell M. Nelson, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles
  • Ruth Nelson, women’s volleyball coach at University of Iowa






  1. ^ U.S. Census Bureau; "Frequently Occurring First Names and Surnames From the 1990 Census, (Table) Name Files dist.all.last"; published May 9, 1995; <>

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