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Surname Merrill - Meaning and Origin

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Journeying Through Time: Unearthing the Origin and History of Merrill Surname with iGENEA DNA Test

Want to journey through your genetic past? That's just what I did with iGENEA. Over the past few months, I've been tracing back through my genealogy, using a simple DNA test to unlock the rich history behind my surname - Merrill. The results were surprising, revealing roots in Western Europe, and a connection to the sea that still echoes in me today.

A. Merrill

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Merrill: What does the surname Merrill mean?

The surname Merrill is of Anglo-Saxon origin and is derived from the ancient English personal name "Muriel", which is composed of elements meaning "bright" and "sea." Some claim it also signifies someone who lived near a boundary. It's spread through England following the Norman conquest in the 11th century. As surnames began to be utilized more often to differentiate people, the name Muriel metamorphosed into numerous variations, one of which was Merrill. The surname Merrill itself was first found in Somerset. The name also travelled to America and Canada with English migrants. Famous bearers of this surname include the former CEO of Mother Merrill, Charles Merrill, and renowned poet James Ingram Merrill. Over the years, it has become a relatively common surname in the western world. Like many surnames, Merrill has multiple possible meanings depending on the cultural and historical context, but its overarching theme points to the brilliant, vivacious spirit of the ocean or the delineation of a boundary.

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Merrill: Where does the name Merrill come from?

The surname Merrill is of Anglo-Saxon origin, deriving from the Old English name "Merrill," a diminutive form of the personal name "Muriel" or "Meriel". The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be dated around 1269 in Cambridgeshire, England.

In some cases, Merrill is also an English topographical surname for someone who lived by a boundary post, from Middle English merel. It has been used as a given name in the United States from the 19th century, influenced by poet James Merril (1926-95).

Today, the Merrill surname is most common in the United States, particularly in the states of Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire. Despite its English origins, the name is less commonly found in England and Wales in the current era. It is also seen, albeit less commonly, in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. The Merrill surname has many variations including Merill, Merrills, Meryell, Merryll, and Merrell, amongst others.

Variations of the surname Merrill

The surname Merrill is of English origin, with sources tracing it back to the Norman Conquest of England in 1066. Variations of the surname Merrill can include Merill, Merril, Meryll, Merryll, Merrell, Merrall, and Merrull.

In addition, the surname could have been altered through the centuries depending on regional dialects and phonetic spelling. For example, in French, the surname may be spelled as Morel or Merel. Anglicised versions could include Murrell or Murral. In some cases, double-barreled surnames such as Merrill-Lynch can also occur. And it is important to note that spellings and variants of surnames may also differ even within the same country and language due to regional differences, immigration and cultural influences.

The Merrill surname is the English version of the Old French "merel", meaning blackbird. It became a nickname for a crafty or clever person.

It’s also possible that the Merrill surname was derived from the personal name Merle. This would suggest that those bearing the Merrill surname are descendants of an ancestor named Merle.

It must be noted that variations of a surname can tell a lot about the history, place of origin, ancestral occupations and characteristics.

Famous people with the name Merrill

  • Ernie Merrill: American former Major League Baseball pitcher.
  • Bridget Merrill: American figure skater.
  • Lionel Merrill: Academy Award-winning American film composer, conductor, and musical director.
  • Charles Merrill: American co-founder of Merrill Lynch.
  • Dr. Stanley E. Merrill: American urologist and board certified surgeon.
  • Lewis Merrill: American army general.
  • Jared Merrill: American author and professor of anatomy at Boston University.
  • Eddie Merrill: American blues musician.
  • Jane Merrill: American stage and film actress of the silent era.
  • Robert Merrill: American operatic baritone.
  • Steve Merrill: American attorney and politician in the state of New Hampshire.
  • Merle Merrill: American Olympic basketball player.
  • Clement L. Merrill: American architect and university professor.
  • David C. Merrill: American clinical psychologist.
  • Charles T. Merrill: American lawyer and mayor of New York City.
  • Dorothy Merrill: American talent agent and child actress.
  • Peggy Merrill: American writer and professor of creative writing.
  • Richie Merrill: American photojournalist.
  • Kathryn A. Merrill: American Episcopal girsl school founder.
  • William Merrill: American former mayor and industrialist.

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