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

Alternate Surname Spellings: MILLAR, MILLS, MULLAR, MAHLER, MUELLER, MOELLER

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.

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.