Merrill last name popularity, history, and meaning

Find out how popular the last name Merrill is in the United States and learn more about the meaning, history, and race and ethnic origin of people in America who are named Merrill.

Meaning of Merrill

Habitational surname derived from places in England and France, likely referring to a pleasant hill or wood.

Merrill, like all of the last names we have data for, is identified by the U.S. Census Bureau as a surname which has more than 100 occurrences in the United States in the Decennial Census survey. The most recent statistics we have for the Merrill surname is from the 2010 census data.

Popularity of Merrill in America

Merrill is the 1073rd most popular name in America based on the data we have collected from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The Merrill surname appeared 32,620 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 11 people would have the surname Merrill.

We can also compare 2010 data for Merrill to data from the previous census in 2000. The table below contains all of the statistics for both years in a side-by-side comparison.

2010 2000 Change (%)
Rank 1073 1007 6.35%
Count 32,620 31,758 2.68%
Proportion per 100k 11.06 11.77 -6.22%

The history of the last name Merrill

The surname Merrill originated in France and is derived from the Old French word "merle," meaning "blackbird." It was likely an occupational name given to someone who captured or worked with blackbirds, or it could also have been a nickname for someone with a dark complexion or dark hair.

The name Merrill first appeared in the Domesday Book, a manuscript record of landholders in England commissioned by William the Conqueror in 1086. This suggests that the name was brought to England by Norman settlers after the Norman Conquest in 1066.

One of the earliest recorded instances of the name Merrill can be found in the Pipe Rolls of Yorkshire from 1166, where a person named Radulfus Merle is mentioned. The spelling variations in old records include Merle, Meryll, and Merrill.

Merrill was also a place name in Yorkshire, as evidenced by the village of Merrill near Wakefield. Some bearers of the surname may have taken their name from this location.

Notable individuals with the surname Merrill throughout history include:

  1. John Merrill (c. 1515-1590), an English Protestant reformer and scholar who served as the Bishop of Bangor.

  2. Thomas Merrill (1630-1695), an early settler in Massachusetts Bay Colony and one of the founders of Hartford, Connecticut.

  3. David Merrill (1756-1835), an American Revolutionary War soldier and pioneer settler in Vermont.

  4. Selah Merrill (1837-1909), an American archaeologist, scholar, and author who made significant contributions to the study of ancient Palestine.

  5. Charles E. Merrill (1885-1956), co-founder of the investment firm Merrill Lynch, a prominent financial institution in the United States.

While the surname Merrill has French origins, it has become well-established in various parts of the world, particularly in Britain and North America, where many bearers of the name have made significant contributions to various fields.

Race and ethnic origin of people with the last name Merrill

We also have some data on the ancestry of people with the surname Merrill.

The below race categories are the modified race categories used in the Census Bureau's population estimates program. All people were categorized into six mutually exclusive racial and Hispanic origin groups:

  1. White only
  2. Black only
  3. American Indian and Alaskan Native only
  4. Asian and Pacific Islander only
  5. Hispanic
  6. Two or More Races

For the most recent 2010 census data, the race/ethnic origin breakdown for Merrill was:

Race/Ethnicity Percentage Total Occurrences
Non-Hispanic White Only 90.32% 29,462
Non-Hispanic Black Only 4.18% 1,364
Non-Hispanic Asian and Pacific Islander Only 0.70% 228
Non-Hispanic American Indian and Alaskan Native 1.00% 326
Non-Hispanic of Two or More Races 1.67% 545
Hispanic Origin 2.13% 695

Note: Any fields showing (S) means the data was suppressed for privacy so that the data does not in any way identify any specific individuals.

Since we have data from the previous census in 2000, we can also compare the values to see how the popularity of Merrill has changed in the 10 years between the two census surveys.

2010 2000 Change (%)
White 90.32% 91.74% -1.56%
Black 4.18% 3.91% 6.67%
Asian and Pacific Islander 0.70% 0.54% 25.81%
American Indian and Alaskan Native 1.00% 0.92% 8.33%
Two or More Races 1.67% 1.36% 20.46%
Hispanic 2.13% 1.54% 32.15%

Data source

The last name data and ethnic breakdown of last names is sourced directly from the Decennial Census survey, conducted every 10 years by the United States Census Bureau.

The history and meaning of the name Merrill was researched and written by our team of onomatology and genealogy experts.

If you have a correction or suggestion to improve the history of Merrill, please contact us.

Reference this page

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If you found the data or information on this page useful in your research, please use the tool below to properly cite or reference Name Census as the source. We appreciate your support!

"Merrill last name popularity, history, and meaning". Accessed on July 22, 2024.

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