The Story of the Eiland Surname
as researched by Tyrrell J. Eiland
The German surname of Eiland was originally from a medieval given name, composed of the elements AGIL (edge, point of a weapon) and HARD (brave, hardy and strong). It was a given to a warrior or a soldier.
The first hereditary surnames on German soil are found in the second half of the 12th century, slightly later than in England and France. However, it was not until the 16th century that they became stabilized. The practice of adopting hereditary surnames began in the southern areas of Germany, and gradually spread northwards during the Middle Ages.
Spelling variations of the Eiland name include: Eland, Elland, Elan, Elon, Elande, Eylend, Eylandt, Eylan, Ehlen, Eilander and Weiland.
When European immigrants first arrived to the new country, it was often the immigrant inspectors who decided whether or not to change a new arrival's name. Each immigrant's name had to be checked against the ship's manifest by officials before the new arrival could be released to start a new life. Oftentimes it was the immigrants themselves who chose to change their names, because they sounded "too ethnic". For the Eiland name, early settlers espcially in New York ( formally New Amsterdam) would discover their name was a major part of the settled landscape.
In 1609 Henry Hudson name "Staaten Eiland" (Staaten Eylandt- State's Island ) which is presently Staten Island (named officially changed in 1975) and then in 1645 settled and named "Konijn Eiland" (Conye Eylandt- Rabbit's Island) which is present day Coney Island both part of the City of New York.
Some of the first settlers of the Eiland family in were: Adam Eland (Eiland), who settled in Virginia in 1690, Robert Eiland, who emigrated from Kent to Maryland in 1737, and James Eiland, who arrived in New York in 1823 and whose descendants married and migrated south to Mississippi for agricultural opportunities. Other members of the Eiland family remained in present day Germany and others settled in Palestine or present day Israel.
To date, the Eiland family spans the continental United States, Hawaii, Alaska, Germany, Israel, the Netherlands, Canada, and other foreign countries.
The Eiland legacy continues to grow and build upon its strong and long heritage.