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Saunders Family History
This famous surname of either English or Greek derivation has truly ancient origins. The name in its various spellings has long been accepted as being a derivative of the Greek personal name 'Alexander' which was recorded from 2000 B.C., but it is now certain that for many nameholders, the origin is Olde English and locational from Sanderstead in Surrey. This latter place was recorded in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles of the year 871 a.d as 'Sondenstede' - the house on the sandy land. The Grecian 'Alexander' translates as "Defender of Men", a meaning which contributed greatly to its world wide popularity...
Saunders (Variants: Sanders, Sandars)
From medieval personal name, Saunder. The Scottish surname is a representative of English Sanderson.
Derived from the name of an ancestor ‘the son of saunder’ abbreviation for 'the son of Alexander’. Alexander describing ‘helper of mankind’.
Early bearers of the surname include: Henry Sandres, 1275 in Subsidy Rolls (Worcs); Anna Saunders, 1538 in IGI (Bayford, Herts); Gulielmus Saunders, 1538 in IGI (Hanley Castle, Worcs); Katherine Saunders, 1540 in IGI (East Knoyle, Wilts); Robert Saunders, 1540 in IGI (Saint Peter Cornhill, London); Thomas Saunders, 1540 in IGI (Bradfield, Berks).
The noted Thomas Harry "T.H." Saunders (1813-1870) was a British philanthropist and paper-maker, best known especially for his watermarks and a Member of the Royal Society of Arts.
Joseph Saunders, English convict from Hertfordshire, who was transported aboard the "America" on 4 April 1829, settling in New South Wales, Australia.
In 1881, the surname was prevalent in South England, especially Surrey and Kent. Hertfordshire was also reported as a top county of the surname with 640 occurrences.
In 1891, the surname was recorded in England and Wales with 28,254 occurrences and a fewer 685 in Scotland.
In 1881, the most common Saunders occupation in the UK was Agricultural Labourer, along with Labourer and Farmer as the top 3 reported jobs worked by Saunders. A less common occupation for the Saunders family was Carpenter.
The noted Jennifer Saunders, famous British comedian, screenwriter, actress and singer. Well known for writing and playing her role as Edina Monsoon in the BBC sitcom Absolutely Fabulous, alongside her co-star Joanna Lumley, playing Edina’s best friend and partner in crime, Patsy Stone. She also received a BAFTA in 2008 along with comedy partner Dawn French, for their comedy sketch show French and Saunders.
1881, 1891 Census
1881 Census in Hertfordshire
Dictionary of American Family Homes, P Hanks OUP 2003
Homes of Family Names in Great Britain, H.B. Guppy, London 1890
The Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain and Ireland, P.Hanks, Coats, McClure OUP 2016
1860 Lower, Mark A Patronymica Britannica: a dictionary of the family names of the United Kingdom, London: J.R Smith. Public Domain
1857 Arthur, William An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names. New York: Sheldon, Blakeman. Public Domain
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