Go to home pageSandfordfamily Home Page

Sandford, Sanford, Sandiford etc: Notes for a One Name Study

This is work in progress by Michael Sandford. It is a collection of notes exploring different families with surnames related to my own.

I have started making a list of the various unrelated families here. Please check the list to see if I have your family there. If not you are welcome to email some details to identify your line and I will add it to the list.

Why I used to have little interest in One Name Studies - but it is changing somewhat as different San(d)fords contact me and ask about possible connections!

I had never been very interested in one name studies in general preferring to concentrate on historical information about relations for which I knew the relationship. I have so many of these to work on I have rarely felt the need to cast the net wider and consider joining a one name study in order to discover lost branches or to search for ways around dead-ends in my own pedigree. An exception to this occured in the case of my Hounsham ancestors of Hampshire where on account of unclear family traditions that they were of Hannoverian origin, I carried out a geographical survey of names in the 1881 census and on the mormon IGI website.

In the case of the Sandfords and related surnames I was discouraged by the researches collected by my grandfather, John Hamilton Sandford, and by what he told me when I was a small boy. I remember clearly that we were not related to Sanfords and that our surname originated from one of the many places called Sandford arising from where there was a sandy ford across a river or stream. Already as a boy from examination of Gazeteers in my grandfather's Rectory, I knew that there were several places called Sandford, but there was no clue where we came from apart from the line that my Grandfather knew about which started in Tuam, County Galway, Ireland, in the C18.

Since making the first version of this web page in 2009, I have become keen to try and sort out which of the several Sandford families which have contacted me really are related to my line which descends from Gamel de Sandford who lived at Sandford in Westmorland in 1175. Contact me with what you know about your Sandford descent and I will, if you wish, add your family to the list, and may be we will one day work out a bit more about the Sandford family lines.

A y-DNA study to sort out related Sandford families

In 2009 I had been approached by several Sanford families who were trying to link back to Britain and were seeking Sanfords/Sandfords to DNA test. Eventully in 2013 I tested my y-DNA. Already it has lead to some interesting conclusions about the Sandford families that my Sandfords ARE NOT related to. In fact I am still searching for DNA a match with my paternal line. I encourage any Sandford or related surname to have a look at my DNA page. please ask if you want advice about testing since it is a field which uses rather specialised terms which I have found take some times for a novice to understand.

Name frequency and geographical distribution

One of the irritating problems I often had when visiting the USA or dealing with Americans is that they would often spell my name Sanford - without the first d. Even when I altered my prounciation to stress the first d, which I sometimes have to do in England to get someone to spell my name correctly, Americans often left out the first d. Even worse in replying to written correspondence or emails, Americans have a tendency to ignore what I written and leave out the 'd'. Occasionally also my name would be rendered Stanford, perhaps through confusion with the famous university which bears that name.

Of course I realised that the surname Sanford was much more common in the USA than England, but I have only recently quantified this using the National Trust surname website. See the data for 1881 and 1998 which I extracted: Distribution and frequency of Sandford, Sandiford, Sanford, Sampford names

If one moves back a further 200 years and examines records from the C17 and earlier one finds many more variations in spelling. For example in the Manchester Cathedral Registers between 1580 and 1670 the following variations are to be found: Sandford, Sandiford Sandyforth Sandyforthe Soondieforth Soondieforthe Soondiforth Sondyforthe Sondeyforthe Sonndeforth Sundiforth Soondiefforthe Soondiefoarth Sundiford Sowndiforthe Sandiforthe Soondiforthe Soundiforth. I am compiling a web page about Sandford spelling variations in Lancashire before 1700


Arms from Burke's Armory -

Sandfords of Westmorland:

My research notes on the descent of William Arthur Cecil Sandford-Thompson, author of the Sandfords of Westmorland Mss.