This surname of DEMILLE was a French baptismal name meaning 'the descendant of Mile' a pet form of Emile. It was a popular font name in the north of England since the 12th Century. The name was brought into England by the Normans during the Invasion of 1066, and early documents render the name in the Latin MILONIS. The name was also an occupational name used for a servant or retainer, probably a soldier, since the Latin for a warrior or armed man was Miles. The names introduced into Britain by the Normans during and in the wake of the Invasion of 1066, are nearly all territorial in origin. The followers of William the Conqueror were a pretty mixed lot, and while some of them brought the names of their castles and villages in Normandy with them, many were adventurers of different nationalities attached to William's standard by the hope of plunder, and possessing no family or territorial names of their own. Those of them who acquired lands in England were called by their manors, while others took the name of the offices they held or the military titles given to them, and sometimes, a younger son of a Norman landowner, on receiving a grant of land in his new home dropped his paternal name and adopted that of his newly acquired property. Most of the European surnames in countries such as England, Scotland and France were formed in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The process had started somewhat earlier and had continued in some places into the 19th century, but the norm is that in the tenth and eleventh centuries people did not have surnames, whereas by the fifteenth century most of the population had acquired a second name. Early records of the name mention William filius Milon of the County of Bedfordshire in 1273. Milo le Messer, 1273 ibid. William filius Miles was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Alex Miles of the County of Northampton, registered at Oxford University in 1584. Cecil Blount DE MILLE (1881-1959) was the American film director, born in Ashfield, Massachusetts. He acted on the stage and wrote unsuccessful plays before discovering Hollywood with Samuel Goldwyn. He also organized the first commercial passenger airline service in the United States in 1917. In 1938 he declined nomination to the US Senate.
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