Silver Surname Genealogy

as a surname has English, German or Jewish
roots.  The English surname, derived from
the Old English seolfar meaning
“silver,” would describe either a silversmith or someone who was rich
(having a
lot of silver). The German and Jewish
root is silber.   Early
surname appearances were Lucas Siluer
in Lincolnshire in 1205 and Radolfus Silberer in Upper Schwabia in
Germany in 1249

Select Silver Resources on

Silver Ancestry

England.  One early Silver line is said to have run from
Bartholomew Silver, knighted by Edward II in the early 1300’s, to the
Silver, a
on swordplay (he wrote Paradoxes of
in 1599).   But little is known
about either man.   Sir Bartholomew may or may not have
existed (there is no proof that he did).  George, the eldest of
four brothers, married Mary Haydon in London is 1580 and was described
as a gentleman.

The Silver name was mainly concentrated in the 17th and 18th centuries,
outside of London, in villages in the eastern part of Hampshire –
places like Ropley near Winchester and, further north, Odiham and
Winchfield.  Nicholas
was a yeoman at Overton near Winchfield in 1718. 
and Hannah Silver were married in Odiham All Saints’ church in
1783.  A family line began with the birth of John Silver in
Winchfield in 1773.

was also a
Scottish name
.  The Silver name, or
variants of it, had
appeared there by the 16th century.  It was
mostly to be found in the Aberdeenshire area of NE Scotland.  One Silver family were farmers at Maryculter
in the Deeside area.  Another line has been traced back to Robert
Silver who was born around 1792 at Old Machar.

America.  Silver arrivals into America came in two
stages: first some Silvers from England, Scotland and Germany; and then
larger number of Jewish immigrants, primarily from the Russian empire.

Thomas Silver, probably from Hampshire, came to Ipswich, Massachusetts
in 1634.  He
died in Newbury in 1682. 

of this family, then
living in Haverhill, was abducted by Indian raiders in 1708 and never
This line was
in Henry A. Silver’s 1980 book Thomas
Silver of Ipswich, Massachusetts

brothers from Scotland – Archibald, John and James – came to Burlington
New Jersey on the Lamb in 1682.  Their
descendants headed west after the
Revolutionary War.  Some ended up in Ohio
(Hamilton county), others in Indiana (Marion county)

Georg Wendel
arrived in
Pennsylvania in 1749 and settled in Frederick county, Maryland.
His son George Silver Jr. migrated to North Carolina.  

Later notable Silvers have been:

  • George
    who was born in Yancey county, North Carolina and served in the
    War.  His lineage extended to a number of
    Silvers who enlisted
    in the Civil

    in Yancey and Mitchell counties, North Carolina
  • Frankie
    famously hanged for the murder of her husband in
    North Carolina in 1833
  • and the Silvers from Washington county, Maryland who worked on
    the Chesapeake and Ohio canal as boatmen in the mid/late 1800’s.

immigrants into New York have included:

  • Abba
    Hillel Silver who arrived from
    Lithuania as a young man with his parents in 1902 and grew up to be a
    orator in his leadership of the Zionist movement in America.
  • Harold
    Silver who
    came from Russia with his parents in 1913 and served the Jewish cause
    director of the
    Society Service
  • while
    Saul Silver had
    arrived from Russia in the early 1900’s and found employment as a sheet
    worker helping to build New York’s skyscrapers.  His
    eighth and youngest child Phil Silvers made it big on
    American TV in the 1950’s
    with The Phil Silvers Show.

the son of Abba Hillel Silver, married Joan Micklin who went on to
direct Hester Street and other evocative films
of Jewish New York.

Canada.  William Silver, the son of an
clergyman in Hampshire, came to Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1805 and
started a
small retail business there.  It was
greatly expanded by his son William who developed the company in the
1840’s into
Halifax’s leading wholesaler.  The son
prospered and left a large estate on his death in 1903.

Silver Miscellany

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

Silver Names


was known in the late 16th
and early 17th centuries for his writings on swordplay.  
Long John Silver
is the popular fictional
pirate in the novel Treasure Island
by R.L. Stevenson.  
Phil Silvers
, born Rhllip Silver to New York Jewish immigrants, was
the 1950’s TV sitcom star who introduced the world to Sergeant Bilko.
Nate Silver
is an American statistician and writer who analyzes baseball and
election results

Select Silvers Today

  • 4,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in London)
  • 9,000 in America (most numerous in New York)
  • 6,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada)



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