Sainsbury Surname Genealogy

Sainsbury surname is locational
in origin, deriving from the
place name Saintbury near Broadway in Gloucestershire.  The
earliest surname incidence was a Reginald de Seinesberia recorded in
the 1190 Gloucestershire Pipe Rolls.

Resources on

Sainsbury Ancestry

Although Sainsbury may look as if it were one extended family, there
have in practice been two distinct groupings of Sainsburys:

  • one in the west country centered
    around Gloucestershire and Wiltshire from the original Saintbury line,
  • and another of more modern
    origin based in London from which the supermarket Sainsburys emerged.

Wiltshire  The
largest cluster has been in Market Lavington in Wiltshire, a
village on the northern edge of Salisbury Plain.  The surname has
there more frequently than any other in the parish registers.  The
name also cropped up in nearby villages such as Eastcott, Easterton,
Littleton, and Urchfont, as well as in places on the western edge of
Salisbury Plain such as Bratton and Westbury.

earliest recording in Market Lavington was that of a Henry Sainsbury in
the late
1500’s.  Later:

  • Robert
    was a clockmaker and gunsmith in the mid 1600’s
  • and Thomas
    established himself in London in the late 1700’s
    and was Lord Mayor of London in

The Sainsbury name has lived on in the village.  A
Sainsbury family supported Catholic services in the village during the
1930’s and a Sainsbury charity has for many years distributed bread to
the needy in the parish.

Somerset  The
Sainsbury name was also to be found in various places in Somerset:

  • in Beckington near Frome (where the Sainsburys were rectors) –
    from the early 1700’s
  • futher south in Bridgwater (where the Sainsburys were
    clockmakers) – from the
    mid 1700’s
  • and further south again in
    Taunton – from the late 1700’s.

The other Sainsbury line has been in London.  These Sainsburys may
have come from the west country or have been immigrants to England who
had adopted the anglicized name of Sainsbury.  They can be traced
to the
early 1800’s in London
and included in their
midst, most notably, John James Sainsbury – the founder of the famous
Sainsbury supermarket chain.

“During the blazing hot summer of 1869
John James Sainsbury and his wife began selling milk, butter, eggs, and
cheese from a small shop in Drury Lane, one of London’s poorest
districts.  Their shop was a success and by 1873 they had opened
up another branch in Kentish Town.  Their six sons joined the
business and they now began to sell other produce such as cooked meats
and smoked hams.”

At the time of his death in 1928, he owned more than 200 shops
throughout Britain.  The Sainsbury family continued
to run the company until 1998 as it rose to become the UK’s largest

and New Zealand.
  A James Sainsbery and his wife
Louise left Bristol for Australia on the Deborah in 1852.  They worked
in Melbourne before departing for the Victoria goldfields.  George
and Elizabeth Sainsbury came out on the Bowdon in 1881 and also ended up

John Sainsbury came from Taunton to New Zealand in 1868 with his second
wife Elizabeth and their five children.

Sainsbury Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for
further stories and accounts:

Select Sainsbury Names

Thomas Sainsbury was a master bowyer
and Lord Mayor of London in 1786.
John James Sainsbury started
his first grocery shop in London in 1869, which led to the Sainsbury’s
supermarket chain.
Peter Sainsbury was a Hampshire
cricketer of the 1950’s and 60’s.
JD Sainsbury was the forceful
chairman of Sainsbury’s who grew the company to be the UK’s largest

Select Sainsburys

  • 4,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in Kent)
  • 1,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia).




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