The Miles family name first appears in the family tree with Matilda Miles, the wife of William Brown. They married in 1850 at St. Mary’s Church, Lambeth, in what would have then been the county of Surrey but part of the wider London Metropolis. This marriage record tells us that Matilda’s father was John Miles, a shoemaker.

It appears that the family name could have been spelled Miles or Myles, as they’re both given about an equal amount of times in records. There’s probably no correct answer to which name is correct as adult illiteracy wouldn’t have been uncommon in the area during this period and names often evolved in spelling.

I have not yet managed to trace the Miles line very far past the point when civil registration began in 1836. I do have a baptism record for Matilda Myles, at Holy Trinity Church, Newington in 1833. This is important as it gives the father’s name, John, but also states Mary as the mother’s name, which a marriage certificate wouldn’t give me. This 1833 baptism record is the earliest mention I have so far of the Miles family.

My next step is to look among parish records for a marriage between Mary and John Miles. This task will prove difficult until websites such as digitise more English parish records, which they’re slowly doing on a county by county basis. I’ve looked through all available online parish records for John Miles and Mary and also through London and Middlesex baptism records with parents as John and Mary Miles that could match as Matilda’s siblings. 

The origins of the name are unclear. Looking at early birth records, the Miles family name seems pretty evenly spread out throughout England and Wales, with areas such as Sussex, Surrey, Hampshire and Dorset having a slightly higher amount of entries than elsewhere.

On the other hand, the Myles family name is evenly spread throughout the country with concentrations in the north of England, in Lancashire and Yorkshire, and also many in London, which isn’t much of an indicator of a surname origin with a far more mobile population. (updated December 2014)

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