Show ContentsBill History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The many generations and branches of the Bill family can all place the origins of their surname with the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture. Their name reveals that an early member worked as a maker of polearms or halberds and billhooks as these were common weapons in early times. The name could also be a baptismal name derived from son of William, although this latter origin is less likely.

Early Origins of the Bill family

The surname Bill was first found in Somerset, where they held a family seat from ancient times, long before the Norman Conquest in 1066.

Early records of the name mention Walter Nicholas Bile who was documented in the year 1185 in London and Robert atte Byle appears in 1327 in County Surrey. 1

William Byle of County Somerset, was documented during the reign of Edward III (1327-1377) 2 and Thomas Biles of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. 3

Early History of the Bill family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bill research. Another 76 words (5 lines of text) covering the years 1320, 1500, 1501, 1505, 1533, 1535, 1547, 1548, 1551, 1553, 1558, 1560, 1561, 1667 and 1890 are included under the topic Early Bill History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Bill Spelling Variations

Before the last few hundred years, the English language had no fast system of spelling rules. For that reason, spelling variations are commonly found in early Anglo-Saxon surnames. Over the years, many variations of the name Bill were recorded, including Bill, Bills, Billes and others.

Early Notables of the Bill family

Distinguished members of the family include

  • William Bill (d. 1501), Dean of Westminster, son of John Bill of Ashwell, Hertfordshire, and brother of Thomas Bill, M.D., of the same place, and of St. Bartholomew's, London, physician to Henry VIII...
  • Another William Bill (c. 1505-1561), was Master of St Johns College, Cambridge (1547-c.1551), Vice-Chancellor of University of Cambridge (1548), twice Master of Trinity College, Cambridge (1551-1553)...

Bill Ranking

In the United States, the name Bill is the 6,281st most popular surname with an estimated 4,974 people with that name. 4 However, in France, the name Bill is ranked the 8,749th most popular surname with an estimated 500 - 1,000 people with that name. 5

Ireland Migration of the Bill family to Ireland

Some of the Bill family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 57 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Bill migration to the United States +

To escape oppression and starvation at that time, many English families left for the "open frontiers" of the New World with all its perceived opportunities. In droves people migrated to the many British colonies, those in North America in particular, paying high rates for passages in cramped, unsafe ships. Although many of the settlers did not make the long passage alive, those who did see the shores of North America perceived great opportunities before them. Many of the families that came from England went on to make essential contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Research into various historical records revealed some of first members of the Bill family emigrate to North America:

Bill Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Jo Bill, aged 13, from Derbyshire, who landed in New England in 1635 aboard the ship "Hopewell" 6
  • Marie Bill, aged 11, who arrived in New England in 1635 aboard the ship "Planter" 6
  • Walter Bill, who arrived in Virginia in 1636 6
  • John Bill, who landed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1638 6
  • James Bill who settled in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1638, and was made a freeman in that year
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Bill Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • James Bill, who arrived in New York, NY in 1812 6
  • Thomas Bill, who landed in New York, NY in 1812 6
  • E L Bill, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851 6
  • J Bill, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851 6
  • Samual Bill, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1852 6
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Bill Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Oscar Bill, who landed in Wisconsin in 1921 6

Australia Bill migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Bill Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. William Bill, (Blundell, Beale), (b. 1804), aged 30, English convict who was convicted in Worcester, Worcestershire, England for 14 years for stealing, transported aboard the "Bengal Merchant" on 27th September 1834, arriving in New South Wales, Australia 7
  • Mr. John Bill (John Hodson Bill), (b. 1815), aged 22, British Labourer born in Bilston, Staffordshire, who was convicted in York, England for life forhorse theft, transported aboard the "Asia" on 20th July 1837, arriving in New South Wales, Australia, he died in 1887 8
  • Eliza Bill, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Bussorah Merchant" in 1848 9
  • J. Bill, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Sir Charles Forbes" in 1849 10

New Zealand Bill migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Bill Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Bill, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Duke of Roxburgh" arriving in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840 11

West Indies Bill migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. 12
Bill Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Willen Bill, aged 28, who arrived in St Christopher in 1634 6

Contemporary Notables of the name Bill (post 1700) +

  • Alfred Hoyt Bill (1879-1964), American writer
  • Tony Bill (b. 1940), American director, actor, and screenwriter
  • Robert Bill (1754-1827), English mechanician and inventor who was descended from an old Staffordshire family, the Bills of Farley Hall 13
  • Ingraham Ebenezer Bill (1805-1891), Canadian author, journalist, and minister from Billtown, Nova Scotia
  • Charles Bill (1843-1915), British Conservative Party Member of Parliament (MP) Leek (1892 to 1906)
  • Max Bill (b. 1908), Swiss writer, architect, and politician
  • Robert L Bill, Associate Professor of Basic Medical Sciences, Director of Veterinary Technology at the School of Veterinary Medicine, Purdue University
  • Curtis Bill Pepper (1917-2014), American journalist and author, Newsweek's Mediterranean bureau chief in Rome from 1957 to 1969
  • "Banjo" Bill Cornett (b. 1890), American traditional folk singer and banjo player
  • Bill Daily (1927-2018), American comedian and dramatic actor, known for his sitcom work as Major Roger Healey on I Dream of Jeannie, and Howard Borden on The Bob Newhart Show 14

The Bill Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Omne solum patria
Motto Translation: Every land is a man's country.

  1. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  2. Dickinson, F.H., Kirby's Quest for Somerset of 16th of Edward the 3rd London: Harrison and Sons, Printers in Ordinary to Her Majesty, St, Martin's Lane, 1889. Print.
  3. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  4. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  6. Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  7. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 7th October 2020). Retrieved from
  8. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 7th February 2020). Retrieved from
  9. State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) BUSSORAH MERCHANT 1848. Retrieved from
  10. State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) SIR CHARLES FORBES originally CHARLES FORBES 1849. Retrieved from
  11. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from
  13. Wikisource contributors. "Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900." Wikisource . Wikisource , 4 Jun. 2018. Web. 20 Jun. 2019
  14. Bill Daily. (Retrieved 2011, January 21) Bill Daily. Retrieved from on Facebook