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Surname Tillen - Meaning and Origin

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Tillen: What does the surname Tillen mean?

The last name Tillen is believed to be of Germanic origin. As a patronymic name, it is derived from the personal name "Till," which is derived from a short form of Germanic names beginning with the element "Thiel," meaning "people, nation." This surname dates back several centuries before the Norman Conquest and was first recorded in Germany.

The name Tillen was brought to Britain by Norman settlers and can be found mainly in Lancashire and Yorkshire in the 12th century. Over subsequent centuries, it spread to other parts of the UK, including Scotland, and by the 19th century it was also recorded in Ireland and the United States.

Tillen is a rare name, with under 500 people registered to have the surname in the UK in 2020. Far from being limited to any particular social class, the name featured prominently in noble families, such as the Duke of Buckingham's sister, Lady Tillen.

Today, the Tillen name is likely to have been provided to those who are descended from parents or grandparents who emigrated to another country, possibly making it a relatively rare name outside of the native countries where it originated.

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Tillen: Where does the name Tillen come from?

The last name Tillen is most commonly found in the United States, England, Germany, Netherlands, and Poland. In the United States, it is found most commonly in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and New York.

In Pennsylvania, Tillen is considered one of the most common and oldest surnames in the region. The earliest records of the surname appear around1610 and it was popular among German, Pennsylvania Dutch, and English settlers. This indicates that the Tillen name originated in either the German or Dutch regions.

In England, the name Tillen is found mainly in southern parts of the country and is listed as being one of the top surnames in Hampshire, Kent, and London according to the 1881 and 1891 censuses.

In Germany, the surname is found most commonly in the Baden-Württemberg area in the southwest of the country and in the Hamburg region in the north.

In the Netherlands, the surname Tillen is mainly found in Noord-Brabant, Limburg, and Gelderland region and Stadsregio Amsterdam regions. It is considered one of the most popular surnames in the Netherlands.

In Poland, Tillen is found mainly in the greater Mazovian area in the east of the country. It is also found in Podlaskie and Silesian regions.

Overall, it is clear that the Tillen surname is very popular and common throughout the United States, England, Germany, Netherlands, and Poland.

Variations of the surname Tillen

The surname Tillen originates from the Old English word 'tillen' which means to ‘cut timber’ or ‘to hew wood’. As a result, the surname can be spelled and pronounced in various ways, including: Tyllan, Tillon, Tillion, Tyler, Tillman, Tylman, Tillin, Tillyn, Tilling, and Tiley. It is also common to find variant spellings of Tillen in records.

The surname Tillen is most likely of patronymic origin, where a son taken on his father's name as an additional form of identification. Early records of the surname include Robert Tillen in 1202 and Michael Tillyn in 1246.

Tillen is also loosely associated with the names Tyler, Tiller, and Tilley, which can also be derived from the same term as Tillen. For instance, the name Tyler may imply that the originator of the name was a tiller of soil, which is derived from the root word ‘tillen’.

Tillen is a common surname in Scotland, Ireland, England, Germany, and the United States, with many spelling variations.

As the surname spread to different locations, each region adopted a new version of the name, and you can find different spellings of Tillen in various regions. It is not uncommon for a family to adopt a new spelling of their name as well. Thus, the surname Tillen may also take on several different spellings within the same family.

Famous people with the name Tillen

  • Benjamin Tillen: an American actor known for roles in a variety of television shows such as “ER”, “Law & Order”, and “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”.
  • John Tillen: a cinematic director and special effects artist known for his work in "The Avengers" and "Pirates of the Caribbean".
  • Elise Tillen: a French chess master who has reached grandmaster status, competed in tournaments all around the world, and holds multiple national titles.
  • Zane Tillen: a British singer-songwriter who has released a handful of albums and toured extensively in the United Kingdom.
  • Walt Tillen: a Dutch-American wildlife photographer and environmental activist who has captured photos for National Geographic and the World Wildlife Fund.
  • Ulli Tillen: a German classical musician and conductor who has served as the principal conductor of various symphonies in Berlin, Frankfurt, and Hamburg.
  • Anthea Tillen: an Australian entrepreneur and investor who has founded successful businesses in the finance and technology industries.
  • Chloe Tillen: a New Zealand fitness blogger and aspiring figure competitor who runs a successful Instagram page.
  • Amber Tillen: an American author known for her series of mystery novels set in the Midwest region.
  • Patsy Tillen: a Canadian hockey player who played for the Vancouver Canucks and has since gone on to coaching.

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