This French and Italian surname of MILLIRON is of two fold origin. It was from a personal name, a Roman family name, perhaps derived from AEMULUS (rival), borne by various early saints, and widely used as a given name in the Middle Ages. The name was rendered in ancient documents in the Latin form ARMILIANUS. Other spellings include EMILIAN, EMILION, MILLIEN, MILLION, MILLAN, MILLA and MILLIANI. The name was also an occupational name for a miller. The mill, whether powered by water, wind or (occasionally) animals, was an important centre in every medieval settlement; it was normally operated by an agent of the local landowner, and individual peasants were compelled to come to him to have their corn ground into flour, a proportion of the ground corn being kept by the miller by way of payment. Medieval records disclose a tendency on the part of the millers to substitute grain of poor quality for the good grain they were given to grind. Thus, as a group they were not popular, although many were among the most wealthy of a village. Many of the modern family names throughout Europe reflect the profession or occupation of their forbears in the Middle Ages and derive from the position held by their ancestors in the village, noble household or religious community in which they lived and worked. The addition of their profession to their birth name made it easier to identify individual tradesmen and craftsmen. As generations passed and families moved around, so the original identifying names developed into the corrupted but simpler versions that we recognise today. French, or rather Norman French, was the language of the aristocracy and the upper classes in England at the time fixed surnames were being developed, it is therefore not surprising that many of our well-known family names are derived from French words. Originally only Christian or personal names were used, and although a few came into being during the 10th century, surnames were not widely used until much later, when people began to realize the prestige of having a second name.
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