Sanford History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Sanford reached England in the great wave of migration following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Sanford family lived in Sandford in Berkshire, Devon, Dorset, Isle of Wight, Oxfordshire, and in Shropshire. These place names come from the Old English words "sand," and "ford." However, the name also seems to have arrived with the Normans, among whom were Ralph and Richard de Sanfort, Normandy. [1]

Early Origins of the Sanford family

The surname Sanford was first found in Shropshire at Sandford, where Thomas de Saundford, one of the "companions in arms" of William I was given lands, for his assistance. He is mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086. "Richard de Sanford was certainly seated at Sandford soon after the Conquest, and which has ever since remained their principal seat." [2] [3]

Sandford Hall, near Whitchurch survives today. This county house is thought to have been built between 1700 and 1750 and at the time of writing is up for sale. Thorpe-Salvin in the West Riding of Yorkshire was home to a branch of the family. "It was anciently the property of the Salvin family, and subsequently of the Sandfords, by whom the now ruined Hall was erected about the middle of the 16th century." [4]

Another early record of the family was Fulk de Sandford (d. 1271), also called Fulk de Basset, Archbishop of Dublin, nephew of Sir Philip Basset. "There was a Richard de Sandford, a prebendary of St. Paul's in 1241, and John de Sandford, (died 1294) Archbishop of Dublin, was Fulk Sandford's brother, and is known to be illegitimate." [5]

The variant Sande or Sende could have originated in Send, a parish, in the union of Guildford, Second division of the hundred of Woking in Surrey. [6] "A priory of Black canons, in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Thomas à Becket, was founded in the time of Richard I., at Newark, in the parish, by Ruald de Calva and Beatrix his wife." [4]

Indeed, we found two early listings of the family with very early spellings: William de Sandes in the Curia Regis Rolls of 1205 and Walter de la Sonde in the Feet of Fines of 1248. Both were found in Surrey at the time. [7]

Early History of the Sanford family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Sanford research. Another 167 words (12 lines of text) covering the years 1296, 1298, 1301, 1332, 1533, 1547, 1555, 1605, 1653, 1653, 1639, 1701, 1680, 1683, 1630, 1694 and 1641 are included under the topic Early Sanford History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Sanford Spelling Variations

Before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago, spelling variations of names were a common occurrence. Elements of Latin, Norman French and other languages became incorporated into English throughout the Middle Ages, and name spellings changed even among the literate. The variations of the surname Sanford include Sandford, Sandiford, Samford, Sanford and others.

Early Notables of the Sanford family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was John Sandford, English owner of a woolen mill in Stonehouse, county Gloucester, and Mayor of Gloucester in 1533; Thomas Sandford, High Sheriff of Cumberland in 1547 and 1555; Thomas SandfordJohn Sanford (c. 1605-1653), English immigrant to Boston, Massachusetts from Essex, 2nd Governor of Newport and Portsmouth in 1653; and his son, Peleg Sanford (1639-1701), American 10th Governor of...
Another 66 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Sanford Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Sanford Ranking

In the United States, the name Sanford is the 793rd most popular surname with an estimated 37,305 people with that name. [8]

Ireland Migration of the Sanford family to Ireland

Some of the Sanford family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. More information about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Sanford migration to the United States +

In England at this time, the uncertainty of the political and religious environment of the time caused many families to board ships for distant British colonies in the hopes of finding land and opportunity, and escaping persecution. The voyages were expensive, crowded, and difficult, though, and many arrived in North America sick, starved, and destitute. Those who did make it, however, were greeted with greater opportunities and freedoms that they could have experienced at home. Many of those families went on to make important contributions to the young nations in which they settled. Early immigration records have shown some of the first Sanfords to arrive on North American shores:

Sanford Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • John Sanford, who settled in Salem in 1630
  • Francis Smith Sanford, who arrived in Massachusetts in 1630
  • Robert Sanford, who settled in Connecticut in 1630
  • Thomas Sanford, who arrived in Massachusetts in 1630 [9]
  • John Sanford, who landed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1632 [9]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Sanford Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Samuel Sanford, who landed in Virginia in 1710 [9]
  • Cornelius Sanford, who arrived in Georgia in 1733 [9]
Sanford Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Sanford, who arrived in Mobile, Ala in 1822 [9]
  • F C Sanford, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1850 [9]
  • A Sanford, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851 [9]
  • W T B Sanford, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851 [9]
  • S H Sanford, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851 [9]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Sanford migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Sanford Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Eliza Sanford, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1750
  • Daniel Sanford, who settled in Nova Scotia in 1760
  • Benjamin Sanford, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1760
  • Daniel Sanford, who landed in Nova Scotia in 1760
  • Joshua Sanford, who arrived in Nova Scotia in 1760
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Australia Sanford migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Sanford Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Julia Sanford, aged 19, a servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1850 aboard the ship "Sultana" [10]
  • Matilda Sanford, aged 18, a servant, who arrived in South Australia in 1850 aboard the ship "Sultana" [10]
  • William Sanford, aged 22, a labourer, who arrived in South Australia in 1857 aboard the ship "Tantivy"

New Zealand Sanford migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Sanford Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mark Sanford, aged 29, a painter, who arrived in Hawkes Bay aboard the ship "Inverness" in 1875
  • Maria Sanford, aged 26, who arrived in Hawkes Bay aboard the ship "Inverness" in 1875
  • Albert M. Sanford, aged 2, who arrived in Hawkes Bay aboard the ship "Inverness" in 1875

West Indies Sanford migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [11]
Sanford Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Roger Sanford, aged 35, who landed in Barbados in 1635 [9]
  • Mr. Roger Sanford, (b. 1600), aged 35, British settler travelling aboard the ship "Expedition" arriving in Barbados in 1636 [12]

Contemporary Notables of the name Sanford (post 1700) +

  • John Elroy Sanford (1922-1991), American comedian, birth name of Redd Foxx, best known for his role on the television sitcom Sanford and Son [13]
  • Roscoe Frank Sanford (1883-1958), American astronomer, President of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific in 1944, eponym of the Sanford lunar crater
  • Maria Louise Sanford (1836-1920), American educator, eponym of the World War II Liberty ship, the SS Maria Sanford
  • Donald Eugene Sanford (b. 1987), American-Israeli Olympic sprinter
  • Charles Steadman "Charlie" Sanford, American businessman, former Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Bankers Trust
  • Chance Steven Sanford (b. 1972), American Major League Baseball infielder who played from 1998 to 1999
  • Arlene Sanford, American two-time Primetime Emmy Award nominated film and television director
  • Edmund Clark Sanford (1859-1924), American psychologist, 11th President of the American Psychological Association (1902-1903)
  • Edward Sanford (1805-1876), American lawyer, poet, essayist, member of the New York State Senate (1846-1847)
  • Edward Terry Sanford (1865-1930), American jurist, Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court (1923-1930)
  • ... (Another 17 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

USS Arizona
  • Mr. Thomas Steger Sanford, American Fireman Third Class working aboard the ship "USS Arizona" when she sunk during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7th December 1941, he died in the sinking [14]

The Sanford Motto +

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: Nec temere nec timide
Motto Translation: Neither rashly nor timidly.

Suggested Readings for the name Sanford +

  • Indians in Our Trees by Mary Lokken.
  • President John Samford of Boston, Massachusetts and Portsmouth, Rhode Island, 1605-1965 by Jack Minard Sanford.
  • The Sandford/Sanford Families of Long Island by Grover Merle Sanford.

  1. ^ The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X)
  2. ^ Shirley, Evelyn Philip, The Noble and Gentle Men of England; The Arms and Descents. Westminster: John Bower Nichols and Sons, 1866, Print.
  3. ^ Burke, John Bernard, The Roll of Battle Abbey. London: Edward Churton, 26, Holles Street, 1848, Print.
  4. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  5. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  6. ^ Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York: Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  7. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  8. ^
  9. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  10. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) SULTANA 1850. Retrieved
  11. ^
  12. ^ Pilgrim Ship Lists Early 1600's retrieved 29th September 2021. (Retrieved from
  13. ^ John Sanford. (Retrieved 2010, September 27) John Sanford. Retrieved from
  14. ^ Pearl Harbour: USS Arizona Casualties List Pearl Harbour December 7, 1941. (Retrieved 2018, July 31st). Retrieved from on Facebook
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