Shields, Sheilds A Scottish surname, also spelt Shiel (see immediately below). Originally a border surname of local origin from the Middle English schele meaning ‘ shepherd’s summer-hut’, and later ‘a small house’. An English surname derived from Old English scild, or sceld meaning ‘shield’ probably for a maker of shields. Also from the Old English meaning dweller ‘by the shelter’ or ‘by the shallow place’. Difficult to distinguish from the surname below. In 1890 the surname was principally found in Antrim and Down, and the estimated number of bearers was 2,465 (including variants). In the United States Shields is the 580th most numerous surname with an estimated 55,000 bearers.
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