HILL - Name Meaning and Origin

The surname Hill most commonly derived from a word meaning "hill," denoting someone who lived on or near a hill.
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There are several possible origins for the common HILL surname.

  1. The most common origin of the surname Hill is as a topographic or place name for one who lives on or near a hill, derived from the Old English hyll.
  2. A corruption of the German hild, meaning "battle."
  3. From the medieval given name Hill, a short form of the personal name Hilary, from the Latin hilaris, meaning "cheerful" or "glad."

Hill is the 31st most popular surname in the United States and the 19th most common surname in Scotland.

Surname Origin: English


Where in the World Do People with the HILL Surname Live?

According to surname distribution data from Forebears, Hill is most prevalent in the United States, where one in 699 people bears the name (ranking it 37th most common). Hill is also a common last name in England (36th), Australia (35th), New Zealand (34th), Wales (32nd), Canada (70th) and Scotland (89th).

WorldNames PublicProfiler identifies the Hill surname as especially common in Nova Scotia, Canada, as well as New Zealand, and the West Midlands district of the United Kingdom. Within England, Hill is found most prevalently in Birmingham, Worchestershire, Herefordshire, Derbyshire and Somerset.

Famous People with the HILL Last Name

  • James J. Hill - Railroad magnate responsible for expanding railways into the U.S. Northwest during the late 19th century.
  • Benny Hill - British actor and comedian
  • Steven Hill - Jewish-American actor best known for his roles in Mission Impossible and on Law & Order.
  • Sir Geoffrey William Hill - British poet

Genealogy Resources for the Surname HILL

Meanings of Common English Surnames
Uncover the meaning of your English last name with this tutorial on how English surnames were originally formed, along with meanings and origins of the most common last names in England today.

How to Research English Ancestors
Learn how to research your English family tree with this guide to genealogical records in England and Wales. Includes information on both online and offline records including birth, marriage, death, census and church records.

Hill Family Crest - It's Not What You Think
Contrary to what you may hear, there is no such thing as a Hill family crest or coat of arms for the Hill surname. Coats of arms are granted to individuals, not families, and may rightfully be used only by the uninterrupted male line descendants of the person to whom the coat of arms was originally granted. 

HILL Family Genealogy Forum
Search this popular genealogy forum for the Hill surname to find others who might be researching your ancestors, or post your own Hill genealogy query.

FamilySearch - HILL Genealogy
Explore over 9 million historical records which mention individuals with the Hill surname and variants, as well as online Hill family trees.

HILL Surname & Family Mailing Lists
RootsWeb hosts several free mailing lists for researchers of the Hill surname.

DistantCousin.com - HILL Genealogy & Family History
Free databases and genealogy links for the last name Hill.


References: Surname Meanings & Origins

Cottle, Basil. Penguin Dictionary of Surnames. Baltimore, MD: Penguin Books, 1967.

Dorward, David. Scottish Surnames. Collins Celtic (Pocket edition), 1998.

Fucilla, Joseph. Our Italian Surnames. Genealogical Publishing Company, 2003.

Hanks, Patrick and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford University Press, 1989.

Hanks, Patrick. Dictionary of American Family Names. Oxford University Press, 2003.

Reaney, P.H. A Dictionary of English Surnames. Oxford University Press, 1997.

Smith, Elsdon C. American Surnames. Genealogical Publishing Company, 1997.

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