When I started researching the name Jose Mier and as a result the Mier surname I ran into some problems. First off, the name (or spelling) can be found in several cultures and it can be misleading since one word in one language can look exactly like a word in another language but mean something totally different.
As someone with a latin heritage I was initially confused to find Miers in Holland, Belgium and even England going back to the 16th century. Mier is also a derivation or alternate spelling for the name Meyer (Myer, Meier, etc.) which is of German or Hebrew origin. I was pretty sure I didn’t have any German heritage so I was forced to narrow my search to other countries, particularly Spain.
With Spain’s Latin (and by that I mean real Latin, as in Roman Empire) heritage, I began looking for information on the Mier name. What I found (on Ancestry.com) was that the name most likely comes from a place name, specifically a village in Stantander Province which is pretty much directly north of Madrid and borders the Bar of Biscay. Bilbao is a few miles to the West.
If my research was accurate and the Mier surname came from this region of Spain, the name may be of Latin derivation. The word “mies” means something like “harvest” or “ripe grain” and Mier devolved from that.
With Spanish exploration and colonization of Mexico, the name jumped across the ocean and arrived in Mexico (coincidentally where my family comes from). There are records of the founding of a town in Nuevo Santander in Mexico called La Purisma Concepcion de Mier. The town (now just Mier) was founded in 1752. Nuevo Santander has now become the State of Tamaulipas which is north of Mexico City, East of Monterrey and borders the Gulf of Mexico. The fact that it touches a body of water makes me realize that’s probably why they named in Nuevo Santander. The actual Ciudad Mier is very close to the southwestern edge of Texas which is just across the Rio Grande.
Once I discovered this information I was pretty sure I was on the right path and that the Mier name came from Spain to the New World in this way. It wasn’t surprising, then, that the majority of Jose Miers come from Mexico as was my case. A look at the interactive name map on Forbears.com, however, shows that while Mexico has the greatest number of Miers in the world, Uruguay has the highest density, no doubt because it’s a much smaller country than Mexico.
According to Forbears.com, there are a little over 26,000 Mierses in the world and the surname is the 20,872nd most popular name in the world. With only 26,000 of us in the world (relatively few) the odds are that there are only a few thousand Jose Miers in existence.
While I have no data on the number of Joses I’m confident we make up a good part of the worldwide Mier community since the name Jose is so popular. It comes from Spanish as well as Portuguese and its literal meaning is “Jehovah increases.” The name Jose was ranked 89th most popular in the U.S. and continues to be fairly popular although it looks like it’s losing some of its popularity in recent years. That’s only for the United States, however, and the number of Joses worldwide is substantial.
As I said, Mexico leads the world in Miers with over 6,000 but the U.S. comes close with over 4,500. It’s telling because the U.S. has a large Hispanic population. Compare to Canada which has only 43 Miers in the country. Other South American countries come in at roughly 100 each but the Philippines is number two with over 5,000 Miers. Spain boasts a respectable 2,300 (not surprising).
Even non-hispanic Western European countries have their share with 56 Miers in England (one in Scotland) and some are found in France, Germany and Italy. Eastern European countries like Belarus and Russia have a handful as well.
The most surprising thing I found is that the name of Mier has spread even to such places as Ivory Coast, Cameroon and Republic of the Congo. There’s even 4 in China and Japan, respectively.
Since my research showed that Jose Miers could be virtually on any continent, my search for other Jose Miers expanded. I’m not complaining, I’m merely stating that I needed extend my travels to all four corners of the world, which is what I’ve done in my search for the name Jose Mier. Stay tuned and wish me luck!