Ellis was born in London on 27 January 1800 and died there on 18 February 1881. He was the fourth Child of Andrew Ellis de Vezian, whose father emigrated from France, and Sophia Fazio. Ellis's father, an underwriter of marine insurance, dropped the name De Vezian after William's birth, becoming known as Mr Andrew Ellis. Little is known about William Ellis's early life except that he attended boarding school in Bromley from age six until thirteen, when he entered his father's business.
From The Biographical Dictionary of British Economists in Oxford Reference.