MILLER Surname Meaning and Origin

Getty / Duncan Davis

The common Miller surname is usually occupational, but there are also other possibilities.

  1. Miller is usually an occupational surname referring to a person who owned or worked in a grain mill.
  2. The Miller surname also possibly be derived in some instances from the Gaelic words meillear, meaning "having large lips"; malair, or "merchant"; or maillor, a man wearing armor or a soldier.
  3. In ancient times the Miller surname originated from the Molindinar (mo-lynn-dine-are), a Scottish burn (rivulet) that still flows under the streets of modern Glasgow.

Surname Origin: English, Scottish, German, French, Italian


Fun Facts About the Miller Surname:

The popular Miller surname has absorbed many cognate surnames from other European languages, for example, the German Mueller; the French Meunier, Dumoulin, Demoulins, and Moulin; the Dutch Molenaar; the Italian Molinaro; the Spanish Molinero, etc. This means that the surname alone doesn't really tell you anything about your distant family origins.

Famous People with the Surname MILLER:

  • Arthur Miller (1915-2005) - American playwright best-known for his Pulitzer Prize-winning play "Death of a Salesman."
  • Shannon Miller - American gymnast and Olympic gold medalist
  • Alice Duer Miller - American woman's suffrage activist, journalist, and writer
  • William Miller - author of "Wee Willy Winkie" and other nursery rhymes (1810-1872)
  • Reggie Miller - American basketball player

Genealogy Resources for the Surname MILLER:

  • 100 Most Common U.S. Surnames & Their Meanings: Smith, Johnson, Williams, Jones, Brown... Are you one of the millions of Americans sporting one of these top 100 common last names from the 2000 census?
  • Miller Family History: Gary Miller offers information on his Miller families of Chester and Columbia counties in Pennsylvania, along with some transcribed Miller records from Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York.
  • Miller Genealogy of Western North Carolina: Marty Grant has provided a huge amount of information on his three Miller lines in Western North Carolina, along with links and information on other Miller families around the world.
  • Miller DNA Study: This large DNA surname study includes over 300 tested members of the Miller family with the goal of untangling 5,000+ distinct Miller lines in the world today.
  • Miller Family Genealogy Forum: Search this popular genealogy forum for the Miller surname to find others who might be researching your ancestors, or post your own Miller query.
  • FamilySearch - MILLER Genealogy: Explore over 22 million historical records, digital images and lineage-linked family trees posted for the Miller surname and its variations on this free website of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
  • MILLER Surname & Family Mailing Lists: RootsWeb hosts several free mailing lists for researchers of the Miller surname.
  • - MILLER Genealogy & Family History: Free databases and genealogy links for the last name Miller.

References: Surname Meanings & Origins

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

Menk, Lars. A Dictionary of German Jewish Surnames. Avotaynu, 2005.

Beider, Alexander. A Dictionary of Jewish Surnames from Galicia. Avotaynu, 2004.

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

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

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

mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Powell, Kimberly. "MILLER Surname Meaning and Origin." ThoughtCo, Aug. 27, 2020, Powell, Kimberly. (2020, August 27). MILLER Surname Meaning and Origin. Retrieved from Powell, Kimberly. "MILLER Surname Meaning and Origin." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 21, 2023).