Hill Surname Soundex, Meaning, and Ranking

The Soundex Code for the Hill surname is H400. Hill is the 33rd most numerous surname in the United States. Hill is a surname of English origin, meaning (no surprise here) “a person who lived on a hill.” Here is a list of other names that share this soundex code.


Origin and Meaning of the Hill surname

The Hill surname  is of Olde English pre 7th century derivation. It has two completely distinct possible origins. The first and most obvious being a topographical name from residence by or on a hill. The derivation is from the word “hyll”, and requires no further explanation.

These topographical surnames, which in their early forms were accompanied by a preposition such as ”ate” or ”del”, were among the earliest created, as natural and man-made features in the landscape provided easily recognisable distinguishing names in the small communities of the Middle Ages.

Early examples of the Hill name

William Attehil of Cambridge is mentioned in the 1260 Subsidy Rolls and Thomas del Hill of Yorkshire in the 1379 Poll Tax rolls.

However recent research indicates that many name holders may derive from the medieval personal and baptismal name “Hille”. This is a semi nickname or short form of one of the many Anglo-Saxon compound names with the first element “hild”, meaning battle or war, such as Hildebrand and Hilliard or the French ”hilaire” from the Latin ”hilaris” meaning ”cheerful.” These are all surnames and personal names in their own right.

One of the ”first” of all Americans was Elizabeth Hill, recorded as born in ”Elizabeth Cittie, Virginia” before 1620.

The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Gilbert del Hil, which was dated 1191, in the “Pipe Rolls of Norfolk”, during the reign of King Richard I, known as “The Lionheart,” who reigned from 1189 – 1199.

American Hill Immigrants

Between 1840 and 1920, 2,876 Hill individuals immigrated to the US from England, 1,076 from Ireland, 449 from Great Britain, 414 from Scotland, 358 from Germany, and 32 from Russia.

Hill is the 41st most numerous surname in the United States.

Hill is a very common surname in the United States. When the United States Census was taken in 2000, there were about 411,770 individuals with the last name “Hill,” ranking it number 41 for all surnames. Historically, the name has been most prevalent in the Southeast. However, it is especially popular in the District of Columbia. Hill is least common in the midwestern states.

They settled primarily in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York. Later they spread out to every state in the continental US by 1920, with the largest concentrations in the three original states plus Texas, Illinois, Missouri, Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Michigan, and California.

World wide, there are approximately 694,906 Hill surnames, making it the 7464th most common surname in the world.

Famous people with the Hill surname

Faith Hill  (1967–) – Country Singer.

Clint Hill (1932–) – Secret Service agent who jumped into the presidential limo and shielded Jackie Kennedy in the moments after President John F. Kennedy was shot.

James J. Hill (1838–1916) – Railroad magnate responsible for greatly expanding railways into the U.S. Northwest during the late 19th century.

Henry Hill (1943–2012) – Was a member of the Lucchese crime family who became a federal informant, inspiring the Martin Scorsese movie Goodfellas.

Steven Hill (1922–) – TV actor known for his role on Law & Order and in Mission Impossible.

George Roy Hill (1921–2002) – Director and produced some of the most popular films of the 1960s and 1970s, including Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

Benny Hill  (1924–1992) – Actor and comedian.

Tom Hill aka: Tom Chelson (18??-1878) – An outlaw and gunfighter, he went by the name of Tom Chelson when he was rustling cattle in Texas. He soon made his way to New Mexico and became Jesse Evans’ right-hand man. In October, 1877, Hill and Evans, along with several other outlaws raided the Tunstall and Brewer ranches in Lincoln County, New Mexico. Aggressively pursued by the local authorities they were soon captured and placed in the Lincoln County Jail. However, they escaped when more than 30 of their cohorts busted them out of jail. Hill was said to have been one of the instigators in the killing of John Tunstall in February, 1878, which ignited the Lincoln County War. However, Hill would not live long enough to fight in much of the “war,” as he was killed on March 13, 1878 while robbing a sheep camp.

Family Crest / Coat of Arms

The Hill surname has at least seventy-five Coats of Arms.   The earliest coat of arms, that of Sir Robert Hill in the time of King Henry VI in 1430, was silver, with a black chevron between three water bouchets.

Hill Ethnic Distribution

As reported by the US Census Bureau in 2000, the Hill surname represented themselves as Caucasian: 66.83%, African-American: 28.42%, Hispanic: 1.64%, Asian:  0.91%, Native American: 0.91%, and Mixed Race: 1.78%.

Popular Given Names

The ten most popular first names historically given to babies with a last name of Hill are James, William, John, Mary, Robert, Charles, George, Thomas, Willie, and Dorothy.

Hill Military Records

10,629 Hill individuals served in the US Civil War. 6,071 fought on the Union side and 4,558 were Confederates.

A Hill was one of the primary instigators in the famous Boston Tea Party in protest of high taxes on tea. He was one of the men who dressed up to look like an Indian, and threw the tea into the bay.

21,163 Hill men and women enlisted in World War II.

93 were casualties of the Korean War. 150 Hill soldiers died in the Vietnam War, 2 in the Gulf War, 13 in the US War on Terror, and 124 were Peacetime Military Casualties.

Eleven soldiers with the Hill surname have received the Medal of Honor, ranging from two during the Indian Wars, 2 during naval ship wrecks in the late 1800s, 1 in the Spanish-American War, one in a Mexican Campaign, 3 in the civil war, and one each in World War I and II.

Hill Surnames on this website.


Other websites researching the Hill surname:

H. Edgar Hill family of Kentucky