Back to Sandford, Sanford, Sandiford etc Notes for a One Name Study

Frequency and Geographical Distribution for Sandford, Sandiford, Sanford and Sampford

Place names which could have given rise to the surnames

There are various claims of lines of these families which originated in Normandy pre conquest or during the rule of the Norman Kings, but direct lineages are necessarily questionable since documentary evidence is thin.

Much more likely is that the name originates from several of the many places called Sandford. In the Ordnance Survey's gazetteer there appear to be 19 distinct places in Great Britain which are called Sandford. There are 7 distinct places called Sampford. I have placed a list of these further down this page. There is also just one Sandiford, but this appears to be the name of a house rather than a village. There are no places called Sanford.

Some of these places may not have existed in mediaeval times when surnames were often derived from the place where a family lived e.g. John of Sandford or John De Sandford or in Anglo Saxon usage John A Sandford. However it is clear that there could easily be around 10 to 20 places where unrelated families acquired the surnames Sandford or Sampford. The Sanfords could have arisen by dropping of the first 'd' as spelling became standardised.

Frequency of names

The National Trust Surname web site which has published the results of analysis of surnames in the 1881 census and a 1998 survey (I think by Experian - a marketing company). Further down this page I have extracted relevant data for Sandford, Sandiford, Sanford, Sampford

Taking the 1998 data we see that Sandfords are in the majority and outnumber the Sanfords by 3 to 1:

no of occurences

In the USA the pattern is quite different as shown in the following table where rate in names per million is compared

rate per million in GB
rate per million in USA

In GB there are about 3 sandfords for every sanford. In the USA there are are about 15 Sanfords for every Sandford. Relative to the Sanford/Sandford ratio in GB, the ratio is about 45 times higher in the USA! So it is hardly surprising so many Americans omit the first d when they spell my name.

There could be three principal processes giving rise to the marked difference of the Sandford to Sanford ratio in GB and the USA.

  1. More Sanfords than Sandfords could have emigrated to the USA
  2. By chance a few Sanford immigrants could have been more prolific in the USA than Sandford immigrants. Possibly, successful slave owners called Sanford might have given their surname to their slaves.
  3. There could have been considerable standardisation of spelling which might enhance an initial preponderance of one surname. Also a phonetic spelling of a particular dialect might have favoured Sanford over Sandford.

It should also be noted that there is a tendency among some genealogists to force modern spelling on their ancestral lines, so sometimes the original spelling is only to be found in the original documents rather than published fanily pedigrees.

Places called Sandford in Great Britain:

  1. Sandford (Village) Isle of Wight
  2. Sandford (Village) Dorset
  3. Sandford (Village) Hampshire
  4. Sandford (Village) Devon
  5. Sandford (Village) Shropshire
  6. Sandford (Village) Leeds
  7. Sandford (Village) South Lanarkshire
  8. Sandford (Village) Cumbria
  9. Sandfordhill (Village) Aberdeenshire
  10. Sandford-on-Thames (Village) Oxfordshire
  11. Sandford St Martin (Village) Oxfordshire
  12. Sandford Orcas (Village) Dorset
  13. Sandford Hill (Village) City of Stoke-on-Trent
  14. Sandford (Village) Shropshire
  15. Sandford (Village) North Somerset, + close by Sandford Batch (Village)
  16. Sandford (Village) Worcestershire
  17. Sandford Lake (Point of Interest)
  18. Aston Sandford (Village) Buckinghamshire
  19. Dry Sandford (Village) Oxfordshire

Here are the Sampfords. (There are no Sanfords)

  1. Sampford Arundel (Village) Somerset, +close by Sampford Moor (Village) , Sampford Point (Other feature) , Sampford Common (Point of Interest)
  2. Sampford Brett (Village) Somerset
  3. Sampford Peverell (Village) Devon
  4. Sampford Spiney (Village) Devon
  5. Sampford Courtenay (Village) Devon, + close by Sampford Chapple (Village), Sampford Moors (Other feature)
  6. Great Sampford (Village) Essex,+ close by Little Sampford (Village) Essex
  7. Melbury Sampford (Village) Dorset


We now look at the data on these names obtained from the National Trust Surname web site which has published the results of analysis of the 1881 census and a 1998 survey (I think by Experian - a marketing company).


1881 CENSUS1998 Survey


1881 CENSUS1998 Survey


1881 CENSUS1998 Survey


1881 CENSUS1998 Survey