Miller Surname Genealogy

comes from the occupation of a miller, who was usually one of the most
important men in the village.  The root of the name is the Old
English milne,
from the Latin molere meaning “to grind.”
Miller, for various reasons, only ranks as
the 53rd most common surname in England – although its counterpart in
Mueller, is up there as number one in that country.  Miller is the
most common Jewish surname in America, after Cohen and Levy.  Miller was in fact sometimes the preferred
of a Jewish name that did not even resemble Miller.

Miller Resources on

The first recording
of the surname was Ralph Muller in the 1296 Sussex tax rolls.  Millers were to be found in London,
and Frome, Dorset in the 16th century.  Henry
Miller started a Miller family fishing dynasty in
1678 near Lulworth Cove in
which has continued until the present day.

Another Miller line began with the birth of John Miller,
Meller, in Long Melford, Suffolk in 1734.
The Miller family of booksellers and book publishers came from
in Norfolk.

However, Miller as a surname has tended to be found more in
the north of England, particularly in Lancashire.  The prominent
Miller family in Liverpool
during the 19th century had come originally from Kendal in
the Lake
District.  Meanwhile Thomas Miller, born
in Bolton, ran the principal cotton works in Preston in the early
1800’s.  He was the town’s mayor three
times between
1820 and 1836.  His son Thomas developed
the Singleton estate near Blackpool.
Another Miller family were coal miners in the Wigan area whose
descendants emigrated to New Zealand in the 1870’s

names for the miller – such as Milner
and Millward – emerged elsewhere in England; while surnames such as
Mill and
Mills also developed.  

Scotland.  Both Miller and Millar are
Scottish surnames.

Miller has been very
much a Border name, to be found around Dumfries.  When the Border
was pacified, many of these Millers moved to Scottish plantations
across the
Irish Sea in Ulster.  Patrick Miller, a
successful businessman from Edinburgh, bought the Dalswinton estate
Dumfries in 1785.  However, his son
squandered his fortune and the estate soon left family hands.

There was said to have been a small Millar
clan from Morayshire that had settled in the Glasgow area by the 15th
century.  One Glasgow Millar history
began with the Millars of Hamilton near Glasgow around 1700.  John Millar was an 18th century Scottish
philosopher and professor at the University of Glasgow.
William Miller, born in Glasgow in 1810, was
best known as the poet who wrote the nursery rhyme Wee
Willie Winkie

Millar from Perth was a successful 19th century timber merchant at
Montrose on
Scotland’s East Coast.  His family
acquired Rossie castle there.

Ireland.  Scottish
Millers were recorded in the city of
Londonderry as early as 1630 when Robert Miller was said to possess
“musket and
bandoleers” in its defense.  Millers were
in fact prominent in its defense at the siege of Londonderry in 1689.

Later Millers were Mayors of Londonderry on
various occasions and made their home at Braehead House outside the
city.  Henry Miller departed Londonderry
Lancaster county, Pennsylvania in 1745.
Another Henry Miller, a veteran of Waterloo, brought his family
Australia in 1823.  His son Henry, known
as “Money Miller,” prospered there as an industry financier.

The largest number of Millers in Ireland,
just over 50% according to the 1890 birth index, were recorded in
nearby county

America.  There were early Millers in Pennsylvania.  Pennsylvania accounted for 25% of all Millers in America in
the 1840 census.

Many of them were Mennonite Muellers from
Switzerland escaping persecution.  Jacob
Mueller was in Lancaster county as early as 1710.  Around
1740 a number of Amish Muellers
arrived; as did Muellers from Alsace.
Abraham Mueller was a preacher in Conestoga township in 1793.  Mueller had generally become Miller by the
time of the Revolutionary War.  Afterwards,
many Millers migrated west to Ohio.
Today Miller is the most common family name in the Mennonite

Other Millers in Pennsylvania were Scots
Irish.  Henry Miller from Londonderry had
come to Lancaster county by 1745.  Oliver
Miller from county Antrim was in western Pennsylvania by 1772, having
the Alleghany mountains from Maryland on a packhorse.
His descendants remained at Mansfield,
Pennsylvania until 1927 when their stone manse, built in 1808, was made
into a

For some in Pennsylvania, such as Abraham Miller the innkeeper in
Bloom township in the early 1800’s, it has not been possible to
identify whether the roots were German, Scots Irish, or even possibly

Not all Millers came to Pennsylvania.  Friedrich Muller arrived in
Milwaukee in 1855 from Germany as Frederick Miller.  He had
learnt the brewing business at home and quickly embarked on beer
brewing in America.  He acquired what became the Miller Brewing
Company in 1856.  One of the leading beer brands in America today,
it had stayed in family hands until 1966.

Many Millers in America have Jewish roots, from the
Yiddish Miller.  One line originated with Avrolum Aba Miller in
the 1750’s
in what is now Slovakia.  Other Millers
came from Lithuania and Ukraine.  Saul Miller from Dobromil in
emigrated to New York in 1909.  Another
family from Dobromil was Mehler who became Miller in America. 

Notable among the Jewish Millers in America was the playwright
Arthur Miller, born in New York City in 1915 to a father who ran a
company there. 

Canada.  There were early Millers
in Newfoundland.  John Millar arrived in
St. John’s from Scotland in 1705.  Samuel
Miller came in 1766 from Dorset and founded the village of Trinity Bay.  His descendants were fishermen there.  Edwin Miller’s home there has been preserved
as a heritage site.

Lewis Miller was a
Scottish timber baron from Perthshire who came to Newfoundland in 1900
to start
a sawmill there.  The new town where the
sawmill was built was called Millertown.

Miller Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for
further stories and accounts:

Select Miller Names

was an 18th century Scottish philosopher.
was one of the leading English publishers of the early
19th century.
Frederick Miller was the
founder of the Miller Brewing Company in 1856.
Charles Miller is considered
the English
father of Brazilian football.
Keith Miller was an exciting
Australian cricketer of the 1940’s and 1950’s.
Arthur Miller was an acclaimed
century American playwright.

Select Millers Today

  • 109,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in Essex)
  • 450,000 in America (most numerous in Pennsylvania)
  • 100,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada)

Miller is the #6 ranked surname in America.



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