Origin, Meaning and Family History of the Silver Name
Surname Name Meaning, Origin, and Etymology
This English/German last name has three different origin theories. First, it may have derived from a nickname for a rich person (who owned much silver, once used as currency and money). Second, it may have derived from a nickname given to someone who had gray/silvery hair or complexion. Third, it could be an metonymic occupational name for a person who worked as a silversmith (a person who crafts using the metal silver such as cups, jewelry, bowls, plates, urns, and candlesticks) or a person who was a silver miner or dealer. Fourth, it could have referred to a person who lived near a silvery stream based on the word seolfre. It derives from the Old English word silfor. There are also several places bearing this name in England (ex. Silverdale in county Lancashire and Silverley in Cumbria).
Some spelling variants and names with similar origins and etymologies include Silvers, Silber, Silbermann, Silvermann, Silverman, Silvertop, Silversmid, Zylberdik, Zylberman, Suelber, Suelver, Silbert, Silberer, Sylver, Syler, Silvernail, and Sylverman(n). Other foreign equivalents are Silfver (Danish) and Silva (Dutch). Silfra was a Norse nickname and Silver was a Flemish personal (first) name. There is also a surname Silverlock, that derives from the nickname from the complexion of a persons hair (similar to Blacklock and Whitlock). Other names with Silver as the root are Silverstone, Silverton, and Silvertown.
Popularity & Geographic Distribution
The last name ranks Montgomery 1,489th in popularity in terms in the United Status as of the 2000 Census. The name is highest rank in the following eight states: New York, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, Florida, Maryland, and New Jersey. The name is also common in the rest of the English speaking world: England (1,339th), Canada (1,300th), Australia (1,871st), and South Africa (2,308th). In England, it ranks highest in the following counties: Berkshire, Kent, and Oxfordshire. In Germany, it was first found in Hessen (Hessia). In England, the family first took root in Herfordshire where they were Lords of Manor.
Early Bearers of the Surname
The earliest known bearer of this last name was Lucas Siuer, who was recorded in the Book of Seals in Lincolnshire on 1205 AD. A person with the last name Silberer was borne by a German living in Esslingen in 1279 AD. A Michel Silber was documented in Breslau in 1389 AD. Thomas atte Sleure and Thomas del Silvere were both listed in the Subsidy Rolls of county Worcestershire in 1327 and 1332 AD, respectively.
History, Genealogy, and Ancestry
Thomas Silver II was born in 1622 in Newbury, Massachusetts. He married Katherine Coker and had numerous issue with her: Mary (Robinson), Sarah (Alley), Elizabeth, Martha, Thomas, Hannah, John, and Samuel. His son Thomas was born in 1653 in the same town. In 1681, he married Mary Williams Boynton and had the following children with her: Sarah, Mary, John, Thomas, Mary (Stapleton), Mary (Hale), and Peter. His son John was born in 1687 in Haverhill, MA. He married Sarah Keyser in 1711 and had a son named Thomas. Thomas was born in 1725 in the same town. He married Judith Lancaster and together they had a son named Samuel. Samuel was born in 1760 in Salem, New Hampshire. He married Abigail B. Bushwell and had a son with her named Arad Silver. Arad was born in 1793 in Concord, NH. He married Sophia Emily Nichols and had a son named Albert Allen. Albert was born in 1834 in Bloomfield, Vermont and married Sarah Warren Jenney. They had a son named Edgar Oscar who was born in 1860. He married Susan Florence Maine. Prior to his death in 1909 in New Jersey, he had a daughter named Blanche, who was born in 1902 and married Frederick Dorsey Montgomery Jr. in 1925.
James Silver was born in 1808 in Badentoy Devenick. He married Agnes Thomson and had a son named Alexander. Alexander was born in 1842 in Fetteresso Kincardineshire and he married Margaret McKay. They had numerous issue: James Charles, Alexander, John, William, George, Margaret Donaldson, and Francis. His son William was born in 1876 in Aberdeen and died in 1950 in Vancouver, Canada.
Early American and New World Settlers
The earliest settlers in Colonial America bearing this name were Thomas Silver (Ipswich, MA 1637), Mary Silver (Virginia 1643), Nicholas Silver (Maryland 1674), John Silver (Virginia 1743), Isaac Silver (Maryland 1760), and James Silver (Boston 1765).
The Silver family motto is nil desperandum, meaning “Never despair”.
We have three coats of arms for the Oakes surname depicted here. These three blazons are from Bernard Burke’s book The General Armory of England, Ireland, and Scotland, which was published in 1848. The bottom of this page contains the blazons, and in many instances contains some historical, geographical, and genealogical about where coat of arms was found and who bore it.
Famous people with this last name include: 1) Joel Silver (1952) who is an American film producer (Lethal Weapon, Die Hard, Predator, The Matrix), 2) George Silver (1550-1620) who was a gentlemen in England who was known as a swordsman and for fencing, and 3) Sheldon Silver (1944) who was a lawyer that was the Speaker of the New York State Assembly. Long John Silver was a fictional character (pirate) and the main villain in Robert Louis Stevenson’s famous book/novel Treasure Island.