This long-established surname is of European origins. Recorded in its various forms as Bill in England and Germany, Bille in Denmark, Van der Bille in the Netherlands, Billitelli and apparently Billitteri in Italy, it has several possbile sources and origins. Firstly, it may be derived from a Germanic personal name, either a short form of compound names such as Billard (from the Germanic personal name "Bilhard", from "bil", sword", and "hard", brave, hardy, strong), and Billaud (from the Germanic personal name "Bilwald", composed of the elements "bil", sword, and "wald", rule); or it may be a byname "Bill(a)", from the Olde English pre 7th Century "bil", sword, halberd. Bill was not used as a short form of William during the Middle Ages. The second source is from a metonymic occupational name for a maker of pruning hooks and similar implements, from the Olde English word "bil", meaning a sword, in this case with the meaning shifted to a slightly more peaceful agricultural application. The surname in any form was first recorded in England and this was Griffin Bil. This was dated 1188, in the "Pipe Rolls of Warwickshire", during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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