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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2014

Where did the Irish Saunders family come from? What is the Irish Saunders family crest and coat of arms? When did the Saunders family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Saunders family history?

The Anglo-Norman surname Saunders is derived from the name Saunder, which is a pet form of the personal name Alexander. This name was originally derived from the Greek personal name Alexandros which literally means defender of men.


Since church officials and medieval scribes spelt each name as it sounded to them; as a result, a single person could accumulate many different versions of his name within official records. A close examination of the origins of the name Saunders revealed the following spelling variations: Saunders, Sanders, Sawnders, Sainders, Saynders, Saunderrs, Sannders, Sanderrs, Saunder and many more.

First found in County Wicklow (Irish: Cill Mhantáin), known as the “last county,” created only in 1606, located on the East coast of Ireland, today part of the Greater Dublin Area, where they were granted lands by Strongbow, Earl of Pembroke, for their assistance in the invasion of Ireland in 1172.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Saunders research. Another 261 words(19 lines of text) covering the years 1555, 1683, 1620 and 1695 are included under the topic Early Saunders History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 113 words(8 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Saunders Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Ireland's Great Potato Famine left the country's inhabitants in extreme poverty and starvation. Many families left their homeland for North America for the promise of work, freedom and land ownership. Although the Irish were not free of economic and racial discrimination in North America, they did contribute greatly to the rapid development of bridges, canals, roads, and railways. Eventually, they would be accepted in other areas such as commerce, education, and the arts. An examination of immigration and passenger lists revealed many bearing the name Saunders:

Saunders Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century

  • John Saunders, who landed in Ipswich, Massachusetts in 1634
  • Maria Saunders, aged 15, landed in New England in 1635
  • Marie Saunders, aged 15, arrived in America in 1635
  • Edward Saunders settled in Virginia in 1635 with his father Edward
  • Martin Saunders settled in New England in 1635 with his wife and three children

Saunders Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • Joseph Saunders, who arrived in Pennsylvania in 1734-1736
  • Mrs. Robert Saunders, who arrived in Georgia in 1734
  • Anna Mary Saunders, who landed in Massachusetts in 1751
  • John Hyde Saunders, who landed in Virginia in 1772

Saunders Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • Peter Saunders, who arrived in America in 1811
  • Walter Saunders, who arrived in Maryland in 1811
  • George Saunders, who landed in New York, NY in 1830
  • William Saunders, who landed in Charleston, South Carolina in 1834
  • Polly Saunders, aged 30, landed in Key West, Fla in 1837


  • E Dal Saunders (1919-1995), American scholar of Romance languages
  • George Saunders (b. 1958), acclaimed American writer of short stories
  • John Monk Saunders (1895-1940), Oscar-winning American novelist, screenwriter and movie director
  • Alvin Saunders (1817-1899), American politician, U.S. Senator from Nebraska, and governor of Nebraska during the American Civil War
  • Joseph Francis Saunders (b. 1981), American Major League Baseball pitcher
  • Sir Charles Edward Saunders FRSC (1867-1937), Canadian agronomist
  • Sir John Anthony Holt "Jake" Saunders (1917-2002), English banker, chairman of The Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC)
  • Sir Owen Saunders (1904-1993), English Mechanical Engineer at the University of London
  • Brigadier Townsend Saunders (1947-2000), British military attaché in Athens
  • Sir Hugh Saunders (1894-1987), South African member of the RAF, Air Chief Marshall



  • Ancestors and Descendants of Henry Simeon Saunders by R.S. Sanders.
  • James & Alvin Sanders, Livestock Journalists of the Midwest by Richard Bryan Helmer.
  • Loomis Legacies and a Saga of Sanders by Lorell Loomis.

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Nil Conscire Sibi
Motto Translation: Conscious of no Wrong.


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  1. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
  2. Vicars, Sir Arthur. Index to the Prerogative Wills of Ireland 1536-1810. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
  3. Leyburn, James Graham. The Scotch-Irish A Social History. Chapel Hill: UNC Press, 1962. Print. (ISBN 0807842591).
  4. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  5. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  6. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  7. Fitzgerald, Thomas W. Ireland and Her People A Library of Irish Biography 5 Volumes. Chicago: Fitzgerald. Print.
  8. Rasmussen, Louis J. . San Francisco Ship Passenger Lists 4 Volumes Colma, California 1965 Reprint. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1978. Print.
  9. Grehan, Ida. Dictionary of Irish Family Names. Boulder: Roberts Rinehart, 1997. Print. (ISBN 1-57098-137-X).
  10. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  11. ...

The Saunders Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Saunders Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 17 October 2014 at 12:02.

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