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CANTILLON Family History

Recorded as Cantillion, Cantillon, and Chantillion, this is a medieval surname of French origins. It originates from the word 'chantille' which has two possible explanations. The first origin is from the early word 'chanter', and as such it would have described a professional singer, perhaps one who toured between cities, the second is from 'chantier' which means a builder, or perhaps a person who lived at a builders yard. Over the centuries the two origins seem to have become fused, and according to the Dictionary of French Surnames, it maybe that the name should be regarded as a nickname for a singing builder! Occupational surnames were amongst the earliest to be created, but they did not usually become hereditary until a son followed the father into the same line of business.

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