Miller (name)

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Region of originUnited Kingdom (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland)
Meaningderived from the occupation of a miller
Footnotes: [1][2][3][4][5][6]

Miller and Millar are surnames of English language, Old English or Scottish origin. There are two homonymous forms of Miller, one that began as an occupational surname for a miller[1][2][3][4] and another that began as a toponymic surname for people from a locale in Glasgow. Miller of the occupational origin may also be translated from many cognate surnames from other European languages,[5][6] such as Mueller, Müller, Mühler, Moller, Möller, Møller, Myller, and others. There is also a form in the early English lingusitics as Milleiir.

The standard modern word represents the northern Middle English term, an agent derivative of mille ‘mill’, reinforced by Old Norse mylnari (see Milner). In southern, western, and central England, Millward (literally, ‘mill keeper’) was the usual term.[5]

The origin of the Scottish surname is from a burn (rivulet) in Glasgow, namely the molindinar (Mo-lynn-dine-are), and the name has evolved over the years to molindar Mo-lynn-dar and to molinar mo-lynn-ar and to Millar and finally to Miller. The first record of the name was in Dumfriesshire, Scotland.[7] If the surname has Highland Scottish origins, the bearers are associated with Clan MacFarlane.[8] In 1995, Miller was the 22nd most common surname on the birth, death and marriage registers in Scotland; Millar was 77th.[4]

The name Miller also has a long history in Northern Ireland, notably County Antrim where many migrants from Northern England and Scotland settled in the 16th and 17th centuries.[9]

Amongst the earliest recordings of the surname is Reginald Miller in the Subsidy Tax Rolls of Sussex, South East England in 1327.[10]

In North America[edit]

The surname Miller in Canada and the United States can also be the result of anglicization of:

Miller is also the third most common surname among Jews in the United States (after Cohen and Levy), from the Yiddish cognate of Müller, which would be Miller (מיללער) or Milner (מילנער).[11]

According to the 1990 U.S. Census, Miller was the 7th most common surname in the United States by 1990, accounting for 0.424% of the population.[12]

In 2007, about 1 in every 25 Americans were named Smith, Johnson, Williams, Brown, Jones, Miller or Davis. Miller was the seventh most common surname.[13]


  1. ^ a b World Family Names: Miller
  2. ^ a b "Great Britain Family Names - Public Profiler". Retrieved 8 March 2014.
  3. ^ a b British Surnames - Miller
  4. ^ a b c 100 Most Common Surnames - General Register Office for Scotland Archived 25 September 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ a b c d, Miller Name Meaning and Origin "The American surname has absorbed many cognate surnames from other European languages"
  6. ^ a b c H.L. Mencken, American Language, 2012, p. 477 "A large proportion of our Millers would be more exactly known as Müller, Mühler or Möller, and another substantial group as Millar"
  7. ^ Sample History: Miller - Knowledge Base, House of Names
  8. ^ Clan Miller: Electric Scotland
  9. ^ E. MacLysaght, The surnames of Ireland, 1973
  10. ^ Surname Database: Miller last name origin
  11. ^
  12. ^ United States Census Bureau (9 May 1995). s:1990 Census Name Files dist.all.last (1-100). Retrieved on 2008-07-04.
  13. ^ Roberts, Sam (17 November 2007). "In U.S. Name Count, Garcias Are Catching Up With Joneses". The New York Times. Retrieved 8 March 2014.