Recorded in many forms including Still, Stille and Stillman (English) and Still, Stille, Stiller, Stile, Stiling, Stilling, and Stillmann (German and Dutch), this is a surname of several possible origins. However spelt the origins are pre 7th century. The first possible origin is topographical or occupational for one who lived by or looked after a fish trap, probably on a river. This is a derivative of the German and Anglo-Saxon word 'stiell', Secondly it can be a medieval nickname surname for an (apparently) placid person. Here the derivation is from High German and Olde English word 'still', which does mean calm or quiet. However it should be said that the medieval period is renowned for its robust humour, and it may well be that the actual meaning is the complete reverse of what it may appear to mean! Thirdly the name can be locational for a person from one of the various places called Still or Stille in Europe. Early examples of the surname recordings taken from surviving authentic rolls and registers of the Middle Ages include: Lefwinus Stille in the Pipe Rolls of the county of Sussex, England, in 1166, Heinrich Stille of Mainz, Germany, in the year 1240, Richard le Stille in the Subsidy Rolls of Worcestershire, England, in 1275, and Bernhard Stilling, of Schuttorf, Hanover, in 1496. William Still, who is believed to have been Irish, sailed aboard the ship "Charles Humberton of Liverpool" bound for New York on June 15th 1846. This was at the height of the infamous Potato Famine (1846 - 1848), which brough tragedy to Ireland. The first recorded spelling of the surname anywhere in the world is believed to be of Aluuinus Stilla, which was dated 1086, in the famous Domesday Book of England in 1086. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop", often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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