About Sandowes

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The origin of the name Sando/w/e

The name has several origins internationally:

  • In Mecklenburg, Germany: the Latin form Sandoviensis (degrading to Sandovie etc) is known from mediaeval documents such as Rostock university registers, and means “a person from neighbouring Sandau-an-der-Elbe“. The modern form Sandow is pronounced ZANdoff in German.
  • In Norway, derived from the placename Sandø (sand island), anglicised spelling Sandoe  or Sando; the name was adopted widely in the 18th c. as an inherited surname in place of patronymics.
  • In England, the name was concentrated to eastern Cornwall in the 15th century, spreading westwards later, suggesting Anglo-Saxon rather than Celtic descent. Suggested origins are the village of Sandhoe in Northumberland (documented since the 12th c., remote from Cornwall, but that’s when topographical surnames would be used), or a nickname derived from Alexander. One Sandowe is known with a Northumberland connection, an archer mustering for service in Normandy in 1441.
  • In France, the name Sandeau occurs sparingly.
  • The form Sando is also know from Africa and South America.

People with all these name origins are found in countries with migrant populations like Australia and the USA.

The database

This is a collection of data on Sando/w/es and related people (in-laws, witnesses etc) from the earliest records (currently 15th century), arranged in the form of biographies. The entries are mainly for Sando/w/es of English descent.

Each person in the database is assigned a unique identity, for example 1841WI04. This is composed of (i) the year of birth, (ii) two letters representing the forename (in this example WI for William), and (iii) two digits representing the serial order of that forename in that year (this example is thus the fourth William entered into the database for the year 1841). These identities are useful as search items.

Data quality

Ideally, every life event (birth, marriage etc) will be uniquely assigned to the correct identity. In practice the original data might be vague or inconclusive, preventing a unique identification. In such cases, an identity is set up for each individual event. As fresh data is incorporated into the database, conclusions become stronger, so that some identities can be revised and merged.

The material in this database comes from a variety of sources:

  • Directly from archives of original records such as the National Archives (formerly the Public Records Office), the General Register Office, county records offices etc
  • Indirectly from indexes or transcripts (published, or collections held by organizations such as the Society of Genealogists, Cornwall Family History Society, Royal Institution of Cornwall, Devon and Cornwall Record Society etc). Indexes and transcripts usually include errors arising from difficult interpretation of illegible originals, insufficient familiarity with handstyles in original documents, or misreading of compiler notes, all of which can be compounded by inadequate proof-reading..
  • Secondhand information passed on from someone else. This might include transcription errors, and might be an interpretation rather than a direct copy of the original data, or a family legend. These sources are given as BF, MF, DF etc (for births, marriages, deaths).

All sources of data are noted in the database, along with observed discrepancies between sources.

Name variants

Individual scribes, parish clerks or members of the clergy each had their own preferred spellings for names.  It is not unusual to find someone’s name spelt in various ways as different people managed the registers on different occasions.

English Sando(w)(e) has been spelt in the following ways since the 16th c: Sandaw (until the 17th c), Sandowe  (until the 17th c), Sanda(h) (17th c to early 19th c), Sando (until now), Sandoe (until now),  Sandow (until now). Three forms stabilised towards the end of the 19th c, each family knowing how their name is spelt: Sando, Sandoe, Sandow. There are also four instances of one other spelling: Sandhoe (1825, 1825, 1839, 1858). The clerks were possibly aware of the Northumberland village of Sandhoe, or maybe the people concerned offered a hypercorrect pronunciation like sand-Hoe. Another rare spelling from Cornwall is Zandoe.

There is also a placename in Cornwall: Sandoe’s Gate, a crossroads in the parish of Feock. The name clearly implicates a Sandoe person who possibly lived there or did something at some time in the long forgotten past. The earliest instance seen so far is in a 16th c. muster roll from the parish of Probus, referring to property in Feock. In the 19th c it is sometimes recorded as Sanders Gate, which tells us two things: (a) that the local pronunciation is sandah and (b) that the clerk was not local but originated elsewhere in England (someone from Cornwall would hardly pronounce Sandoe with an r, or Sanders without an r). To appreciate this, do you have the same pronunciation for “farther” and “father”, or not?

In addition to these established spelling variants, there are also numerous variants found in indexes and transcriptions, arising from misreadings:

  • reading L for S – Lando, Landoe, Landow
  • reading T for S – Tando, Tandoe, Tandow
  • reading P for S – Pando, Pandoe, Pandow
  • reading u for o – Sandu
  • reading n for w – Sandon
  • reading u for n – Saudo
  • reading l for e – Sandol
  • reading s for a or o – Sands
  • reading e for o – Sande, Sandee, Sandew
  • reading ct or cl for d; Sancto, Sanclo.

And finally, uncorrected typing errors:

  • 0 (zero) for letter o: Sand0e
  • 1 (one) for letter l (ell): Sando1