259,330 MILLS members around the world
Stay informed about MILLS Family online & offline events!
See our recent family gatherings
MILLS Family History
This name is a medieval English or Scottish topographical surname, given originally to someone who lived near a mill, and is derived from the Middle English "mille, milne", mill, a development of the Olde English pre 7th Century "mylen(e)", itself from the Latin "molina", a derivative of "molere", to grind. The final "s" indicates a patronymic, i.e., "son of". The surname gradually came to be used as an occupational name for a worker at a mill, and indeed sometimes for the miller himself, a respected and important position in medieval communities, where the mill was a central part of the settlement...
Mills (Variants: Milles, Mylles, Millis)
In English, a relationship name variant of Miles. Also a variant of Myhill (i.e. Michael). A French equivalents of the surname include relationship names Mullins and Milne.
In Ireland, it may also be adopted for the Gaelic topographic byname an Mhuilinn ‘of the mill’.
In rare cases, Middle English *atte Milles ‘at the mills’.
Early bearers of the surname include: John Mills, 1541 in IGI (Wonersh, Surrey); John Mills, 1544 in IGI (Saint Lawrence Pountney, London); Thomas Mills, 1546 in IGI (Wootton Wawen, Warwicks); Joan Mills, 1559 in IGI (South Somercotes, Lincs); Hellen Mills, 1577 in IGI (Aldborough, WR Yorks); John Mills, 1578 in IGI (Southill, Beds); Robert Mills, 1580 in IGI (Exeter, Devon); Mary Mills, 1613 in IGI (Flixton by Bungay, Suffolk); Robart Mills, 1615 in IGI (Newcastle upon Tyne, Northumb); William Mills, 1608 in IGI (Leigh, Lancs).
Sarah Mills, am English convict from Lancaster, was transported aboard the "America" on 30 December 30 1830, settling in Van Diemen's Land, Australia.
In 1891, the surname was recorded in England and Wales with 37,298 occurrences and a further 1,283 in Scotland.
In 1881, the surname was widespread in England, especially Lancashire and Lanarkshire in Scotland. It was a top surname in the south-eastern county of Kent with 2,003 occurrences. Within the county, it was reported as a top surname in Hastingleigh, Sutton at Hone and Kingsnorth.
In 1881, Agricultural Labourer, Labourer and Coal Miner were the top 3 reported jobs worked by Mills. The most common Mills occupation in the UK was Agricultural Labourer. A less common occupation for the Mills family was Farmer.
Scott Mills (b.1974), British radio and television presenter, best known for presenting his show on BBC Radio 1.
Another noted, Dylan Kwabena Mills (b.1984), British recording artist and producer and a pioneer of modern day grime music, best known by his stage name Dizzee Rascal.
1881, 1891 Census
1881 Census in Kent
Dictionary of American Family Homes, P Hanks OUP 2003
Homes of Family Names in Great Britain, H.B. Guppy, London 1890
The Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain and Ireland, P.Hanks, Coats, McClure OUP 2016
1860 Lower, Mark A Patronymica Britannica: a dictionary of the family names of the United Kingdom, London: J.R Smith. Public Domain
1857 Arthur, William An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names. New York: Sheldon, Blakeman. Public Domain
Who have we missed?
Tell us about any famous MILLS (or surname variant) you think we should add here. We will get our genealogists to check them out and add them to the list. Thanks!
Join the conversation with the MILLS tribe
- Find your MILLS ancestor
- Tell us about your MILLS Family
- Tell us about your MILLS ancestors
- Ask a question about the MILLS history
- Leave a message for MILLS family members
Invite more MILLS family members!
Write an email address and click 'Invite' to share this page with more members of the MILLS tribe.
Family Coat of Arms Generator
Why not see what your family crest could look like based on your own family characteristics?Create Crest