Surname Name Meaning, Origin, and Etymology
This Scottish and English is a patronymic or baptismal surname meaning “Alexander’s Son”, deriving from the nickname or reduced form Sander. The personal (first) name Alexander is an ancient Greek masculine given name (or Hittite name dating as far as back as 1300 BC) popularized by Alexander the Great (356-323 BC) who was King of Macedonia who went on to conquer and consolidate a large empire throughout the Middle East and surrounding areas. The name Alexander means “defender of the people” or “protector of men”, which may have been a name given to a person showing prowess in battle while holding back an enemy line of troops. The name was popular throughout Christendom and the Holy Roman Empire during medieval times and the Middle Ages, and was born by eight Catholic Popes, and sever kinds of Scotland, Yugoslavia, and Poland.
One source claims the family descended from a Norman Knight named Alexander de Bedick (born 1280?), who received lands in Waslington, Durham, England and whose son bore the names James Saunderson. The family was seated at Whorlton, which, according to the book A Topographic Dictionary of England, “formed part of the forfeited estates of the Earl of Westmorland, and was purchased from the commissioners of the crown landsl and the manor subsequently became the property of the Sanderson family”. Further, the same book asserts the family lived at Saxby, in county Lincolnshire for generations, stating “This place has long been in the possession of the Saundersons, now represented by the Earl of Scarborough”. Alexander married Jane Cacellari and had four sons: Thomas, James, Robert, and Richard.
Common spelling variants or names with similar etymologies include Saunderson, Sander, Sanders, Saunders, Sandeson, Sandison, and Sandersson.
Popularity & Geographic Distribution
The last name Sanderson ranks 1,384th in popularity in terms in the United Status as of the 2000 Census. The name ranks particularly high in the following ten states: Alabama, Michigan, Washington, Mississippi, Utah, Montana, South Dakota, Vermont, Wyoming, and North Dakota.
The surname Sanderson frequency/commonness ranks as follows in the British Isles: England (386th), Scotland (595th), Wales (1,163rd), Ireland (4,527th) and Northern Ireland (1,508th).
In England, it ranks highest in Westmorland and Durham. In Scotland, it ranks highest in the Sanderson surname ranks highest in popularity/commonness in county Selkirkshire. In Wales, it ranks highest in Denbighshire. In Ireland, it ranks highest in county Monaghan. In Northern Ireland, it ranks highest in county Fermanagh.
The name is also present throughout the remainder English speaking world: Canada (770th), New Zealand (841st), Australia (612nd), and South Africa (2,172nd).
The 1890 book Homes of Family Names by H.B. Guppy, states the following in regard to this surname: “Sanders & Saunders: The two varieties of this name are confined south of a line drawn from the Humber to the Dee, being well scattered over the part of England thus defined. The name is best represented in Devon, and after that in Dorset, Bucks, and Cambridgeshire. In the north of England its place is taken by Sanderson, which is most numerous in the counties of Durham and Northumberland”.
Early Bearers of the Surname
One of the earliest known bearers of this surname was John Sanderson who purchased the Lands of Athindy (Athol) in 1472 AD. A one William Sanderisson was summoned to Parliament in Scotland in 1479 AD. A one Johannes Sandrison was documented in Kincardine in 1434 AD.
History, Genealogy, and Ancestry
The famous genealogist Bernard Burke’s book “The Landed Gentry” discusses two branches of this family: Sanderson of West Jesmond and Sanderson of Cloverhill. His other book, “Peerage and Baronetage” discusses the Baronet.
Sir John Scott Burdon-Sanderson, Baronet (1828-1905), Physiologist and pathologist
© National Portrait Gallery, London
Sanderson of West Jesmond
Richard Burdon-Sanderson was Esquire of West Jesmond in Northumberland and Justice of the Peace for Northumberland who was born in 1851. Richard Burdon-Sanderson, Esq. of West Jesmond was Justice of the Peace, the son of Thomas Burdon, who was born in 1791. In 1813, he married Elizabeth, the only child of Sir James Sanderson, Baronet, and assumed in consequence of his marriage the surname and arms of Sanderson. He had the following issue: Richard Burdon, John Scott (married Ghetal Herschell), Elizabeth Burdon, Mary Elizabeth (married Robert Haldane of Charlotte Square), and Jane Charlotte. He died in 1865 and was succeeded by his son, Richard Burdon-Sanderson, who was born in 1821 and in 1848, married Isabella Mitchelson, daughter of James Alexander Haldane of Drummond Place, and had four issue with her: Richard Burdon (mentioned at the beginning of this paragraph), James Alexander Haldane Burdon, Elizabeth Haldane Burdon, and Margaret Isabella Burdon. The Sanderson Coat of Arms (erroneously called the Sanderson Family Crest) is blazoned in heraldry as follows: Paly of six or and azure, on a bend sable three annulets of the first a canton gules, charged with a sword erect argent, pommel and hilt gold, surrounded with the collar of the Lord Mayor of the city of London, and for the distinction in the chief point a saltier humette counterchanged of the field. Crest: A wolf’s head argent erased gules collared and a chain reflexed behind the neck or, between a branch and palm and another of laurel proper, and for distinction on the neck a saltier humette gules.
Sanderson of Cloverhill
Samuel Sanderson, Esquire of Cloverhill in county Cavan was born in 1834 and was Justice of the Peace there. In 1860, he married Anne, daughter of John Armitage Nicholson of Balrath. Burke traces the Sanderson genealogy to James Sanderson who was Esquire of Cloverhill, alias Drumcassidy in county Cavam, the son of Alexander Sanderson and the nephew of Colonel Robert Sanderson of Castle Sanderson, was a Member of Parliament for Enniskillen for thirty years during the era of George II. He married Maria, daughter of Brockhill Newburgh, and had four issue with her: Alexander, Reverend Frances of Dromcarn, Robert, and Mary (married Mr. Atikinson). He was succeeded by his eldest son and heir, Alexander Sanderson, who married Lucy, daughter of Reverend Samuel Madden of Manor Waterhouse, and had four issue with her: James, Lucy, Mary, and Charlotte. He was succeeded by his son James, Deputy Lieutenant, who married Elizabeth, daughter of Isaac Walker, and had four daughters with her: Mary Anne, Lucy (married Samuel Winter of Agher), Elizabeth, and Frances Alexandrina (married Richard Winter Reynell). The Sanderson Coat of Arms (erroneously called the Sanderson Family Crest) is blazoned in heraldry as follows: Quarterly, 1st and 4th, argent, three bends azure the centre one charged with a crescent between two estoiles or, for Sanderson: 2nd and 3rd, chequy or and azure, on a fess argent a crescent gules, for Winter. Crests: 1st Sanderson, On a mount vert an estoile or; 2nd, Winter, A martlet or, charged with a crescent gules.
Sir Frank Bernard Sanderson, 1st Baronet, of Malling Deanery, in the parish of South Malling in county Sussex was Member of Parliament for Ealing. He held numerous titles and positions too numerous to mention. He was born in 1880 and created a Baronet in June of 1920. In 1904, he married Amy Edith, daughter of David Wing of Scarborough, and had three children with her: Frank Philip Bryan (Lieutenant-Commander who served in World War II, married Annette Irene Caroline Korab-Laskowski), Derek Maxwell (married Daphne, daughter of Frederick Ernest Bayard Elton), and Pearl (married Gerald Melvile Donner). Burke traces the Sanderson genealogy or lineage back to William Sanderson of Hull in county York who was born in 1796. In 1821, he married Elizabeth, daughter of George Linton, and had had children with him, including John Sanderson of Hull. John was born in 1837 and in 1863, he married Anne Elizabeth, daughter of William Barrett of Saddelbow, Lynn, county Norfolk, and had numerous issue with her, including Frank, the first baronet. The Sanderson Coat of Arms is blazoned as follows: Azure, a maunch between three annulets or. Crest: Between two wings or, a sinister arm embowed in chain mail armour grasping a scimitar proper pommelled and hilted or.
Sanderson Family Tree
Robert Sanderson was the father of three children: Benjamin, Richard, and Sarah. His son Richard was born between 1622 and 1676 and had the following issue: Joseph, Richard, Susanna (Erin), Abraham, and Ms. Woodhouse. His son Joseph Sanderson was born in Currituck, North Carolina in 1675 and he married Julia Tully with whom he had numerous issue: Benjamin, William, Thomas, Samuel, Richard, and Joseph. His son Benjamin Sanderson was born in the same county around 1700. He married Sarah Foscue and had children with her as follows: Hannah (Barbara), Dina, Benjamin Jr., and Joseph. His son Joseph Sanderson was born in North Carolina in 1735 and married Mary George, with whom he had several children: Jesse, James, Thomas, Joseph, Benjamin, Shadrich, John, Prudence, Liddy. His son James was born in 1764 and married Elizabeth Granade and had the following issue with her: Clarisea, Elijah, Lewis B., James L., Joseph W., Jesse, Phebe (Thomason), Elizabeth, Hepsabeth, Anna, John G., and Hiram. His son Lewis Sanderson was born in North Carolina around 1789 and he married Mary Jaggers and had three children with her: John, Catherine (Smith), and Lewis Granade. His son John was born in Alabama in 1819. He married Sopronia Clark and had a daughter with her named Mary Ann, who was born in 1828 and married William G. Sexton and had issue with him.
Early American and New World Settlers
Alexander Sanderson was recorded as living in Virginia in 1623 (“at Chaplains choise”). John Sanderson was recorded among the dead in Virginia in 1623. Early settlers in colonial America bearing this name Edward Sanderson (Virginia 1639), John Sanderson (Virginia 1639), and John Sanderson (Carolina 1774).
Early Americans Bearing the Sanderson Family Crest
I researched the following three resources and did not find any coats of arms for Sanderson: Bolton’s American Armory, Matthew’s American Armoury and Bluebook, and Crozier’s General Armory.
We have identified six Sanderson family mottoes:
1) Toujours propice (Always propitious)
2) Clarior ex obscure (Brighter from obscurity)
3) Deo favente non timeo (With God’s favor I shall not fear (?) )
4) Libertas et natale solum (Liberty and my native soil)
5) Opera mundi (The works of the world)
6) Da pacem domine (Give peace, O Lord)
7) Sans Dieu rien (Without God, nothing)
Bishop Robert Sanderson (1587-1663)
© National Portrait Gallery, London
We have five coats of arms for the Sanderson surname depicted here. These five 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. People with this last name that bore a Sanderson Coat of Arms include:
1) Sir James Sanderson, Knight, Lord Mayor of London in 1793, Augmentation 1795
2) Sanderson, late Burdon, Richard Sanderson, of Lincoln’s Inn, London, 1815
3) Richard Withington Bromley Sanderson of Cheetham and York Street, Manchester, county Lancashire, and to the other descendants of his late father, Thomas Withington Bromley Sanderson, 27 April 1869
4) of the Manor House, Clapham, county Surrey, 1870
5) Reverend Edward, M.A., of High Hurst Wood, county Sussex, son of Lancelot, 1879
6) Reverend Alfred P. Sanderson of Aspenden Rectory, county Hertfordshire, 1896
There are hundreds of notable people with the Sanderson surname. This page will mention a handful. Famous people with this last name include: 1) Derek Michael Sanderson (1946), whose nickname was “Turk”, was a Canadian (born in Niagara Falls, Ontario) professional ice hockey player who played for six different teams in the NHL during the 1960s and 1970s, 2) George Henry Sanderson (1824-1893) who was a Republican that was the 22nd Mayor of San Francisco, 3) Lieutenant General John Murray Sanderson (1940) who was an Australian army officer that was Chief of the Army from 1994-1998 and the 29th Governor of the state of Western Australia from 200-2005, 4) George Kaiser Sanderson who was a US Army Officer that fought in the Civil War and Indian wars, was born in Lebanon County, Pennsylvania, and was twice breveted for gallantry and merit, 5) Ninian Sanderson (1925-1985) who was a race car driver who won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1956, 6) Scott Douglas Sanderson (1956) who was a pitcher in MLB, born in Dearborn, Michigan, who played from 1978-2996 for eight different teams, beginning with the Montreal Expos, 7) Robert Sanderson (1587-1663) who was an English theologian and casuist (applies ethics in jurisprudence) born in Sheffield, Yorkshire, 8) Robert Thomas Sanderson (1912-1989) who was an American chemist who received a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago known for his work in electronegativity equalization, 9) Silas Woodruff Sanderson (1824-1886) who was born in Sandgate, Vermont and becamse the 7th Chief Justice of California during from 1864-1866, and 10) Pat Sanderson (1977) was born in Chester, Cheshire, England, and was an international rugby player who played from 1997-2007.
Sir Percy Sanderson (1842-1919), Colonial governor
© National Portrait Gallery, London
Colonel Edward James Saunderson (1837-1906), Anglo-Irish landover & unionist politician