In 1820, the first two milichiid species, Madiza glabra and M. sordida (= Desmometopa sordida) were described by Fallén. In 1823 he described the third species, Phyllomyza securicornis. Fallén had earlier established the genera Madiza and Phyllomyza in 1810, but without species descriptions. He placed Madiza in the Oscinides (the modern Chloropidae) and Phyllomyza in Ochtidiae (the modern Chamaemyiidae). The next species were described by Meigen in 1830. One of these species, which he placed in the family Muscidae, is Milichia speciosa, and from this the family-name Milichiidae is derived. The other species were described in the genus Agromyza, the modern Agromyzidae.
Hendel (1903) was the first to recognise the taxon Milichiidae almost in its modern sense. He distinguished two subgroups, which represent the subfamilies Milichiinae and Madizinae. Hendel also added to the Madizinae the genus Meoneura Rondani, 1856. Meoneura is now placed in the Carnidae (Click here for a review of the relationship between Milichiidae and Carnidae).
The first extensive study of the Milichiinae was by Becker (1907). This paper includes several keys and descriptions of genera and species. The largest and most important paper on the Milichiidae was by Hennig (1937). This comprises keys and descriptions of the Palaearctic Milichiidae and a discussion of the development, geographic distribution and phylogeny of the family. A recent phylogenetic treatment of the family was published by Brake (2000).
Important deceased milichiid researchers were especially Sabrosky, who decribed 59 species and 2 genera (1 still valid), and revised the genus Desmometopa (Sabrosky, 1983), Becker, who described 37 species and 4 genera (2 valid), and Hendel, who described 31 species and 6 genera (1 valid). Current most prolific milichiid taxonomists are Papp with 25 species and 1 genus, and Brake with 85 species and 1 genus (2009).