6    Mar 20130 comments

Surname of the Week: Churchill

Welcome back to our weekly edition of the history of English surnames.

Today we look at CHURCHILL, in honor of Sir Winston Churchill’s famous Iron Curtain speech made on March 5, 1956.

Churchill, an ancient Norman name that arrived in England after the Norman conquest of 1066, derives from the town Curcelle, which became confused with the English name “Churchill.”

This geographical surname comes from various towns named Churchill (in Oxfordshire, Somerset and Worcestershire).  The name goes back to pre-7th century Old English for cyrice (church) and hyll (hill). The surname means “the church on the hill.”

There is one known case where the name's translation is different.

In the town of Churchill in Devon, in 1201, it was recorded as Curcheswille, from the words cruc (hill) and wiella (spring).

The first recorded spelling is that of John de Chirchehul in 1221. The addition of de (from or of) indicates the name's location-based origin.

Today, at MyHeritage, there are 45,904 people with the surname Churchill. The most popular given names of those individuals are Elizabeth, John, Hannah, Mary and William.

Of MyHeritage members with that name, 45% are from the US, 31% from the UK and 17% from Canada. There are also some Churchill family members in China, Algeria, Yemen and Spain.

Do you have Churchill in your family tree? Where are they from? With 1,642,836 historical records on MyHeritage referencing the surname, you can search even deeper into your family’s heritage.

Have a surname you would like to learn more about? While we are initially looking at more common surnames, we'd like to have your input as well. Send us your names, and let us help you unravel your family origins. Share comments below, on Facebook, Twitter or Google +.

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