My husband's family name is Hillers. His grandfather, John Bernard Hillers (b. 20 Mar 1852 ), is said to be from Bremen or Oldenburg, Germany.He later settled near Galveston, Texas and started a family there.
We've never understood how the letter "s" was tacked onto the name until recently. I received amessage from a fellow named Dennis Hillers who told me his line had come through Brooklyn to Illinois and then Nebraska. He told me the the following:
He has traced the name to a "single ancestor, who lived in Hezel, Bremen (then a Hanseatic city state) in 1597...we had a particular family Lutheran church, that has survived...and left us our records... that is were the family Heimat (home place) is, and where the German families still pretty much call home. Why we are so few, is because we would have one surviving male for several generations, then finally more than one man would survive to have children...lots of daughters.
We have some leads that the family can still be traced back to the 1100's, changing names was a mark of coming out economically then - a mark of being middle class, and the reason we have an "s" on the end of the name, is because we owned 3 small hills, in land that is as flat as the land down there along the Texas coast."
Dennis told me that he went to Hezel when he was stationed in Germany, and it was odd seeing so many people who looked just like him.