The surname Sage has English, French, Irish, and German variations. The English French variation, Sage, derives from the Latin “sagus” which translates to perceptive. The Irish, Savage, is an Anglicized form of the Gaelic name “Sabhaois”. The Germanic variation is derived from the word “sege” which translates to reed.
Surnames in Europe prior to the mid-sixteenth century were largely unheard of outside of the noble class. In the small settlements and villages which existed during earlier times, residents found little need for surnames as everyone in these communities new each other and a given name would usually suffice. However, with the passage of time, population growth and expansions of communities as villages gave way to towns and cities, it became necessary to add a qualifier to a people's names to distinguish them, one from another. Therefore one person may have been identified by their given name plus their occupation while another may have been identified by their given name and one of their parent's names. The introduction of surnames after the medieval era seemed to be the next logical step in this evolution. There was a boundless supply from which surnames could be formed, in addition to the use of patriarchal/matriarchal names or reference to the individuals occupation, there were things such as defining physical traits, a familiar geographical location or a topographical landmark found near the individuals home or birthplace, the name of the village in which the person lived. Surnames also served an additional role by allowing governments a more effective way of keeping records for census, taxation, and immigration records.
These official records often contained variations in spelling of many surnames. The variation in spelling during this time period can be attributed to a lack of continuity regarding guidelines for spelling which was compounded by the diversity of languages in use in European countries at this time. The variations in the spelling of the surname include but not limited to; Sage; Saege; Sagge; and Sayge among others.
An early record of any variation of this surname is that of Robert le Sage which appears in the Shropshire tax rolls dated 1185. These rolls, were a series of census and tax records kept by the English Treasury by order of King Henry II, with the oldest dating back seven hundred years to the 12th century. They hold the distinction of being the oldest consecutive set of records detailing English governance in the United Kingdom.
With the discovery of the Americas and the addition to the British Common Wealth of countries such as Canada, Australia, and New Zealand immigration to these new worlds was inevitable. Some of the first settlers on record to America bearing this surname were Jan Sage, his wife, and six children who landed in 1621 and settled in Virginia. Gregory Sage arrived in 1638 and settle in Virginia. One of the earliest records of a Sage migrating to Canada was Charles Sage who arrived in 1830 and settled in St. John's, Newfoundland. Mary Sage was one of the early settlers to Australia, landing in 1848 in South Australia. George and Agnes Sage along with their children, John and Mary arrived and settled in Auckland, New Zealand in 1881.
Worldwide, the highest concentration of people with the surname Sage are found in the United Kingdom, France, New Zealand, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States. State by state, the largest percentile of those with the surname Sage live in Vermont, New York, New Hampshire, Iowa, Oklahoma, and Virginia.
There are a number of persons of note who bear the surname such as American born philanthropist, Margaret Olivia Slocum Sage. Her contributions included educational and progressive causes.
English born, Thomas Henry Sage, was a recipient of the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry, the Victoria Cross. He saved his comrades by throwing himself upon a hand grenade in an engagement outside of Ypres France during WWI. Sage survived, despite being grievously wounded.
American born United States Army major general, William Hampden Sage, served in World War I and was a Medal of Honor recipient.
American born, Leland Livingston Sage was professor emeritus of history at the University of
Northern Iowa. He also authored two books on Iowa history, winning national recognition from the American Association for State and Local History.
American born Andrew Patrick Sage who was an Emeritus Professor and Founding Dean Emeritus at George Mason University's School of Information Technology and Engineering.