Ryder Surname Meaning, History & Origin

Select Ryder Meaning
of the Ryder surname is the place-name
Ryther in north Yorkshire
between Selby
and Tadcaster.  This gave rise to the
medieval Ryther family where
the spelling became Ryder in the 16th century.
Ryder could also have been the
name for a messenger or a mounted warrior – from the Old English word ridere, meaning “to ride,” or from the
old German word rutter of similar
meaning.  An old song went as

has come into our town

a cloak without coat or

a rugged hood to cover his crown

a rider.”

The main
spellings today are Ryder and Rider.
German and Dutch equivalent names are Ridder and Ritter.  The
name here may also have originated from an area known as Reiderland on
German/Dutch border

Ryder Resources on

Ryder Ancestry

Ryther family in Yorkshire, based initially at Ryther near Selby,
dated back to the mid-12th century.

de Rythre witnessed a charter of Alice
de St Quintin to Nun Appleton priory around the years 1148-61, the date
after the death of the grantor’s first husband and at the latest before
death of archbishop Theobald who had confirmed the gift.”

.  His
produced knights, including a Crusader knight, and barons of the
realm.  Sir William Ryther
who died in 1440 was
several times Sheriff of Yorkshire.

In 1563 the family estates devolved
to James Ryther, a distant cousin who had been born in Kent and brought
up in
Northamptonshire.  However, his Catholic
sympathies made him unpopular in Yorkshire and he ended up indebted and
prison where he died in 1595.  There were two related lines who
adopted the Ryder
name and had better fortunes:

  • one
    line led to William Ryder who was Lord Mayor
    of London in 1600.  He held London for
    Queen Elizabeth against the rebellion of the Earl of Essex and was
    with a knighthood.  He died without
    surviving male issue.
  • another
    line led to John Ryder, also in royal favor.  He
    moved to
    Ireland in 1597 where he became Dean of St. Patrick’s in Dublin and
    later the
    Anglican Bishop of Killahoe.

Ryders.  Ryther became Ryder in
the 16th century also at Epworth in Lincolnshire, Newbury in
Berkshire, and Wisbech in Cambridgeshire.
The Rev. Dudley Ryder from Wisbech lost his estate in 1661 when
as a
nonconformist minister he was ejected from his living at Bedworth in
Warwickshire for refusing to take the Oath of Allegiance.
His two sons became tradesmen, one in
Warwickshire and the other in London; his grandson Dudley later rose to

Dudley Ryder, the second son of a London draper, was a lawyer and MP
who became the Attorney General in 1737 and was the forebear of the
Ryders of
Harrowby Hall in Lincolnshire.  He was
offered a peerage in 1756, but died the following day.
A later Dudley Ryder, a political supporter
of William Pitt, served as his Foreign Secretary and was made Earl
Harrowby in 1809.  His family seat was at
Sandon House in Staffordshire.  There
were some distinguished Ryders in
this family in the 19th century.

has remained very much a north of England name.
Some 40% of the Ryders were to be found in Lancashire and
Yorkshire in
the 1891 English census.  The spelling in
Lancashire was invariably Ryder.  In
Yorkshire it was about 50/50 Ryder and Rider.

One Ryder family resided at Blackley near
Manchester in the 18th century and were prominent bleachers of wool and
cotton.  The first of these Ryders was
Robert Ryder who moved into the area with his family in 1717.  A later Robert Ryder started his bleachworks
at nearby Bradford in 1780.  Thomas Ryder
was listed as an iron founderer in the 1772 directory for Manchester
Salford.  It appears that he came
originally from Great Budworth in Cheshire.

Ryders and Riders in America
could be of Dutch, English, German, or Irish origin.

Dutch.  Some
early Ryders
in America were Dutch.  Peter Hollander
Ridder, as the name suggests, was the Dutch-born governor of the
Swedish colony
of New Sweden in Delaware from 1640 to 1643.
Barent Ryder from Reiderland emigrated to New Amsterdam in 1658
and was
a Justice of the Peace in Brooklyn, New York in the late 1600’s.  His descendants were to be found on East 28th
Street in Brooklyn until the late 19th century, as well as elsewhere in
York state.

Ryder and his family lived on the Dutch Van Rennsselaer estate in
eastern New
York in the late 1700’s.  His son David
migrated to new lands in Livonia township, Michigan in the 1820’s.  Alfred and John Ryder, both born there, perished in the Civil War.
pioneer to Michigan was Joseph Rider, born in New York of Dutch roots,
who had
come via Pennsylvania to Michigan in 1833, settling in Genoa township.  He and his wife Isabella raised ten children

English.  Samuel
Ryder from Buckinghamshire in England was first recorded at
Yarmouth on Cape Cod in 1639.  His
descendants often adopted the Rider spelling.
Many of these Riders were seamen (Thomas Rider drowned at sea in
1778).  The line was covered in Fremont
Rider’s 1959 book Genealogy of Rider
(Ryder) Families

to family lore, John Rider was the son of one of three Rider brothers
who had
come from England in the 17th century.
John himself was born in 1698 and made his home on the eastern
shore of
Maryland.  He allegedly lived to be a
hundred.  His descendants settled in Bath
county, Virginia.  Gordon Ryder’s 1993 book The
Rider-Ryder Family from Virginia
reviewed the Bath county line.

has been the more common spelling in Pennsylvania.
Many of these have been of German origin.  Here
the early spelling was Reider or Reiter,
as with Heinrich Reiter who came to Pennsylvania from Germany in 1732.  Later Riders farmed in Columbia county.  Lloyd Rider was a veteran of the Civil
War.  Also of German origin was Michael
Rider who came to Fayette county to farm in the 1830’s.  Meanwhile
Wilhelm Reyder
became William Rider in Texas
he immigrated there in 1846.

Irish.   Andrew
and Mary Ryder came to America from Ireland in 1833 and later settled
and Elizabeth Rider were also Irish
immigrants, first to Pittsburgh and then in 1851 to Iowa.

.  Solomon Ryder was a sea
captain who was
thought to have migrated from Massachusetts to the Argyle region of
Nova Scotia
sometime in the 1780’s.  His son John was
a Yarmouth merchant engaged in West Indies trade, a shipbuilder, and a

and New Zealand
.  William Ryder from
London tried his luck in the Australian
goldfields and then emigrated in 1854 with his new wife to New Zealand.  They made their home at Riwaka in Nelson, SI.  He and his sons were butchers there later.  A Ryder descendant penned memories of the old
homestead in 1960


Select Ryder Miscellany

Ryther in North Yorkshire.  Ryther is
a village in north Yorkshire six miles from Tadcaster in one direction
and six
miles to Selby in the other.   It
originated as a parish in the wapentake of Barkston Ash in the West
Riding.  It is bounded on the north by
the Wharfe river and has often been at the risk of flooding.

Ryther is the site
of the 13th century All Saints Church, a Methodist chapel, public house
(the Rythre Arms), and a village

From the 12th to the 16th century,
the village was the site of Ryther Castle, the principal seat of the
ancient de
Ryther family, the Lords of Scarcroft who
inherited Harewood castle in
1388 (which they held
for some 200 years).  Several of the de
Ryther knights have effigies at
the All Saints Church in Ryther.

The village
once had several shops and many farms.
Census returns show how many residents were farm laborers or had
jobs in
nearby Cawood.  There were two public
houses, but only one remains..

The Estates of Sir William Ryther.  In 1440 Sir William Ryther of Ryther in Yorkshire died.  Born in 1380, he had been the son of Sir William Ryther of Ryther and his wife Sibyl, the daughter of Lord
Aldeburgh.  As a young man he had
survived the political turmoil with the accession of Henry Bolingbroke
and been
granted a pardon for alleged treason and felony in 1405.
Although not a major landowner himself Sir
William Ryther had standing in his community and had been Sheriff of
Yorkshire in 1426, 1430-1, 1434 and 1438.

His family had taken their name from Ryther, about
6 miles northeast of Selby, and been associated with the place since
1166. if not before.  However, their
manor at Ryther was not in good condition in 1440, according to the
post mortem
inquisition. The capital messuage and two gardens were worth nothing,
with eight waste messuages worth nothing and eight waste cottages worth
nothing.  The main value of the estate
was some 700 acres of attached meadow and woodland.

In 1280 Sir William’s ancestor,
also named Sir William, had acquired Scarcroft manor near Leeds and
made it his
chief address.  By 1388, after the death
of Lord Aldeburgh, Harewood manor – also in the vicinity of Leeds –
came to the
Ryther family.  In
1440 the Rythers also held
other estates at Spofforth near Harrogate in Yorkshire and at Keal
Cotes in

The barony of Ryther fell into abeyance in 1543 with the death of
Sir Henry Ryther.  But the family line
continued through his second cousin William Ryther.
His descendant John Ryder would move to
Ireland in 1597 and become Dean of St. Patrick’s in Dublin.

Some Distinguished 19th Century Ryders.  Nathaniel
Ryder, created Baron Harrowby in 1776, had some very distinguished offspring.

His eldest son Dudley was a political supporter of William Pitt and served as his Foreign Secretary.  He was later made
Earl Harrowby in 1809.  His second son
Richard was Home Secretary from 1809 to 1812 and his youngest son Henry
as Bishop of Gloucester and Bishop of Lichfield between 1815 and 1836.

line included both clergymen and soldiers.
Among his sons was Alfred, a naval officer who became Admiral of
Fleet.  Among his grandsons were
Henry Ignatius Ryder, part of the Oxford movement
who became a Catholic priest in 1863; Sir George, a civil servant in
Treasury; and Charles a colonel in the Royal Engineers.

Ryders and Riders Today

Numbers (000’s) Ryder Rider
UK    11     3
America     6     7
Elsewhere     7     1
Total    24    11

Michigan Ryders in the Civil War.  The Ryder
family first arrived in Michigan in December 1827.
David and Polly Ryder and their children had
moved from New York state where they had been tenants on a large Dutch
patroon estate.  They brought their goods across
New York on a flatboat on the Hudson river through the newly opened
Erie Canal
and then across Lake Erie on a sailing boat.

Polly and the children spent the winter in Detroit while
David scouted
for land, making his purchase of 80 acres in what would become Livonia
and starting a cabin before bringing the family there in early 1828.

Their first
grandson Alfred was born in Livonia township in 1840.
With the onset of the Civil War, he enlisted
in the First Michigan cavalry company.
He was taken
prisoner at Bull Run, Virginia in 1862, but later paroled.
However, the next year he was badly injured
at the Battle of Gettysburg.

His last letter, written on
July 8, was dictated to a friend from the hospital:

“I was wounded in the
side by a ball. I am not without hope.
My brother John is here also in one of the hospitals but not

He died just over two weeks later.  And his
brother John also died of his

Both Alfred and John Ryder were buried at Gettysburg with wooden
on their graves.  In November 1863 the
Ryder family arranged to have the bodies exhumed and returned for local
burial.  They were buried in the family
plot of the Newburgh cemetery in what is now Westland, Michigan.  They each have simple white headstones, as
well as a larger shared monument.

William Rider in Texas.  According to family legend, Heinrich Reyder’s parents were killed in a mountain
slide while farming.  The children were
all young adults and chose to emigrate to Texas after the tragedy.  Another
story has it that the sons of the family fled to Texas to avoid
conscription in
the Prussian army.

They left Prussia with many other German immigrants under
a contract known as the “Verein Papers” arranged by the Texas
Government, the German Emigration Company, and Fisher-Miller Colony.
This contract provided for the reception of ten acres upon immediate arrival
to the
Colony for his personal use. He would later receive a donation for 320
after the appropriate surveys were made and fees were paid. He paid a
total fee
of 93 guilders for the trip from Antwerp to Galveston along with a one
hospital fee.

Wilhelm and his brother Daniel departed from Antwerp and
in Galveston on the Colchis in
1846.  They traveled to Mexico but later
moved to Fredericksburg, Texas where there was a community of German
with many German customs.

Wilhelm wished to become more Americanized and
changed his name to William Henry Rider.
He left Fredericksburg for the same reasons and moved to
county where he obtained 120 acres along the Naconiche Creek.

William Ryder and His Gold Adventures.  William
Ryder grew up in London, the son of a baker.
Around the age of twenty he heard of the gold finds in Australia
rushed off there.  He followed the herd
to Ballarat and Bendigo.

He may not have
found any gold.  However, before his
return to England, he was a partner with another man in buying stock
graziers and driving them to the diggings and selling the meat to the
This venture was evidently successful as he was able to buy a return
passage to

All travel in those days was by sailing ship.  Gold
was used as a currency.  As the
accommodation on the ship was crowded,
the captain persuaded all the passengers to deposit their canvas bags
of gold
with him for safekeeping in his cabin.
While taking on supplies of fresh water in Rio de Janeiro, all
of the
bags went missing.  So William Ryder
arrived back in London in 1853 with only the gold which he carried in
pouches of a canvas belt which he wore around his waist.

He married Ann Cousins
back in England and, undeterred by his past misadventures, departed for
Zealand with his bride later that year.


Select Ryder Names

  • Sir Dudley Ryder, appointed Lord Chief
    Justice of the King’s Bench in 1754, was the forebear of the Ryder peers of Harrowby
  • Samuel Ryder was an English businessman
    and golf enthusiast who donated the cup for the first Ryder Cup golf contest
    between Britain and America in 1927. 
  • Jim Ryder founded the American truck
    rental company Ryder in Florida in 1933. 
  • Sue Ryder from Leeds in Yorkshire developed the Sue Ryder charities of homes and hospices after World War Two for
    those displaced or later for those with life-threatening illnesses. 
  • Winona Ryder, born Winona Horowitz, is a well-known
    American actress

Select Ryder Numbers Today

  • 14,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in Lancashire)
  • 13,000 in America (most numerous in New York)
  • 8,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia)


Select Ryder and Like Surnames

Many surnames have come from Yorkshire.  These are some of the noteworthy surnames that you can check out.




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