Select Hill Surname Genealogy

Hill is mainly a locational surname, from the Old English hyll and describing one who lives by the hill.   An alternative origin, the medieval personal name Hille (short for Hilary or Hildebrand), has also been suggested.  This may be true in a few cases.  The patronymic Hills surname (son of) also exists.

Select Hill Resources on The Internet

England.  Hill has been a west country name, in a line from the southwest running north to Lancashire.  The name is less to be found in areas where there are few hills (such as East Anglia) or where hills are called by different names (such as the downs in Sussex and Kent).

The first record of Hill as a surname was a Simon Hille in Worcestershire in 1273.  These Hills claimed a Norman origin back to 1100 and became an important medieval family.  Droitwich records in Worcestershire showed a William atte Hille in 1379.  Early Hills were also in Shropshire and Staffordshire.

Another old Hill family, dating from the early 1300’s, came from Kilminton near Axminster in Devon.  Sir Robert Hill of Shilston was appointed Justice of the Common Pleas in 1409.  He was in possession of Shilston Manor by that time, which his descendants held until 1614.  The family was described as follows in a 1540 document:

“Hill, a gentleman, lives in Modbury parish – this name by a lawyer and judge that left unto his heirs 300 marks of land.”

From this family are thought to have come:
  • Thomas Hill, a grocer who was Lord Mayor of London in 1484
  • Sir Moses Hill, who ventured to Ireland in the 1590’s
  • and Richard Hill, a London merchant in the 1640’s.
The Hill (originally Hull) family at Burford in Shropshire may date from the 14th century.  Rowland Hill found fame and fortune in London in the early 16th century and became the first Protestant Lord Mayor of London in 1549.  From him came the Hill family of Hawkestone House and Park in Shropshire.

Waldron and Thomas Hill were successful glassmakers in Stourbridge, Worcestershire.  During the 1780's Waldron's son Thomas was instrumental in setting up a new ironworks at Blaenavon in south Wales, at the time the largest iron-producing plant in the world.  Around the same time John Hill moved to Ireland where he established the world-renowned Waterford glassworks.

  The surname Hill was brought to Ireland by Sir Moses Hill who served under the Earl of Essex in suppressing Irish revolts in the 1590's.  The town of Hillsborough in county Down was named after his family who maintained a strong presence in the area.

  William Hill from Devon arrived in Boston harbor on the William & Francis in 1632; while William Hills from Essex came in the same year on the Lion.  Both later settled in Connecticut, William Hill in Fairfield and William Hills one of the founders of Hartford.

There were early Hills from Somerset at Jamestown in Virginia.  Edward and William Hill arrived there in 1621 and survived the Indian massacre two years later.  Edward Hill was living at Basse's Choice at that time. 
The fourth Edward Hill built his home Shirley on the northern shore of the James river above Williamsburg.  It still stands today.

One Hill family from the west country was Catholic and sought refuge in Lord Baltimore’s Maryland.  Clement Hill settled there in St. Mary’s county, Maryland in 1662. 
A line of this family under Isaac Hill moved to northern Georgia and the town of Hilsboro, named after him.  From his brother John came Senator Benjamin Harvey Hill, a silver-tongued orator who was one of the leaders of the Confederacy during the Civil War.

Irish Hills produced some American Hill politicians:
  • Nathaniel Hill came from Ulster around 1725 and settled in New York state.  His house in Orange county, the Brick House, remained with the family until 1975 and is now a museum.  A great grandson, also named Nathaniel, migrated to Colorado in 1865 and became its Senator in 1879. 
  • Abram Hill from Derry also came to New York, around 1764.  From his line came David Hill, Governor of New York in 1885.
Australia.  William Hill was transported to Australia as a convict in 1797 on a life sentence.  He was, however, the first of what became a very prominent Victorian family in NSW.  One son George, who started out like his father as a butcher, later entered politics and became a horseracing patron.  Another son Richard also began as a butcher and later succeeded as a farmer and horticulturist.    

Select Hill Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for further stories and accounts:

Select Hill Names

Sir Rowland Hill  was the first Protestant Lord Mayor of London.
Fanny Hill was the first erotic novel, written by John Cleland in 1748.
Rowland Hill was the Victorian postal reformer who pioneered the postage stamp.
James Hill was a  19th century American railroad tycoon, known as the "Empire Builder."
William Hill founded William Hill, one of the UK’s largest firms of bookmakers, in 1934.
Benny Hill was a popular British TV comic.
Faith Hill is an American country singer.

Select Hills Today

  • 146,000 in the UK (most numerous in Hampshire)
  • 156,000 in America (most numerous in Texas)
  • 89,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada)

Select Surname List

Adams Ellis Johnson O'Connor
Allen Evans Jones O'Sullivan Shaw
Anderson Fisher
Kelly Parker Simpson
Bailey Foster Kennedy Perry Smith
Baker Fox King Peterson Stevens
Barnes Fraser 
Lee Phillips Stewart
Bell Graham Lewis Powell Taylor
Bennett Gray Marshall Price Thomas
Brown Green Martin Reed
Griffiths Mason      
Reynolds Turner
Campbell Hall McDonald Richards
Carter Hamilton Miller  Richardson Walsh
Chapman Harris Mitchell Roberts Ward
Clark Harrison
Moore Robertson Watson
Collins Henderson Morgan Robinson White
Cook Hill Morris Rogers Williams
Cooper Howard Murphy Ross Wilson
Cox Hughes Murray Russell Wood
Davis Jackson Nelson Ryan Wright
Edwards James O'Brien 

For other surnames check the surnames2 page where there are to be found the history and genealogy for more than 800 surnames.

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