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Surname Stillwell - Meaning and Origin

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Exploring the Serene Origins and Historic Odyssey of my Surname, Stillwell through iGENEA DNA

My iGENEA DNA test results established a fascination with my lineage, revealing the historical and cultural journey of my surname, Stillwell. Originally rooted in the Anglo Saxon period in England, my ancestors possibly lived by still waters, suggesting peaceful origins. Tracing the historical migration of my ancestors from northwestern Germany to England, I discovered that my DNA connects me to broader historical events than I ever imagined.

T. Stillwell

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Stillwell: What does the surname Stillwell mean?

The last name Stillwell is of Anglo-Saxon origin and is derived from when families resided near a well, spring, or stream that moved slowly or was still. The name may also be derived from an old English word "still" which was used to describe a calm and pacific individual. The suffix "well" often denoted someone who lived by a spring or a well. So, essentially, the name Stillwell could reflect either characteristics of the person or a geographical feature near their dwelling. As such, it's considered a topographic surname, which is a type of hereditary surname that was given to a person who resided near a physical feature such as a hill, stream, church, or type of tree. The Anglo-Saxon culture of the past largely used these physical and topographic features in deriving their surnames.

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Stillwell: Where does the name Stillwell come from?

The last name Stillwell is most common in the United States, particularly in the south. As of 2018, the states with the most occurrence of the last name Stillwell were Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas, Georgia, Oklahoma, and North Carolina.

According to the U.S. popular census, the Stillwell family originated in Hampshire, England in 1635 and came to the American colonies in the late 17th century. As they moved through the states, the surname began to spread across the South.

The surname Stillwell is present in America in many different variations, including Stilwell, Stillwill, Stilwill, Steelwell, Stelwell, and Steelwel. It is likely that many of the variations of Stillwell are derived from various spellings used by native families in both England and America over the years.

Today, the Stillwell surname is still alive and well in America. The stillwells in the US are mainly linked to their southern roots, though they can still be found throughout the country. It is likely that the Stillwell family will continue to spread through the states for many generations to come.

Variations of the surname Stillwell

The surname Stillwell is a habitational name derived from a place in Devon, England called Stilwell. It can be found listed in various spelling variants, particularly during the Middle Ages when a single given name could be spelled variously by different scribes. Common spellings of the surname Stillwell include Stillwill, Stillwell, Stillrell, and Styallwell.

In many cases, the surname Stillwell can be linked to Scottish heritage. For example, a common variation of Stillwell was Stiall, which was a popular Scottish spelling. Sometimes, the prefix “Mac” appears before the variant, which creates an entirely new surname, such as MacStiall.

In some cases, foreign spellings of the name have been adopted, such as Stillwaill and Staelle, both of which originated in Germany. Given the surname's origin in England, some English variants are sometimes seen, such as Stowerll, and Stirwill.

Surnames that share a common origin with Stillwell include Stowell, Steeple, Stillman, Stileman, and Steppleton. In some cases, the surname Stillwell may also be found in the form of variants such as Tyler, Toller, and Tylander.

Famous people with the name Stillwell

  • Tony Stillwell: Former professional soccer player, one of only 4 players to ever play in all Divisions of English Football.
  • Bobby Stillwell: Former professional baseball player. He became a coach and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1980.
  • Jodie Foster- American actress, director and producer, won two Academy Awards for The Accused in 1988 and The Silence of the Lambs in 1991.
  • Moses Stillwell- Businessman and author, best known for his book on business success, A Manual of Success for the Merchant.
  • Charles Stillwell- Businessman and philanthropist, founder of the Shipping company COSCO, which continues to operate today.
  • Sam Stillwell- Actor who appeared in a number of films since 1930, most notably guest roles in The Waltons and Little House on the Prairie.
  • Melitza Stillwell- Professional Dancer from the Dominican Republic who appeared on the 2018 show Dancing with the Stars.
  • Bruce Stillwell- American actor and film producer who is best known for his role in the film Speed 2: Cruise Control.
  • Stella Stillwell- British actress, best known for her leading role in the 1990 British television drama series Widows.
  • Jeremy Stillwell- Canadian actor, known for his roles in the films The Wild Card, The Recruit, and X-Men 2.

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