Snyder Surname Meaning, History & Origin

Select Snyder Meaning
is a Dutch
occupational surname meaning “one who cuts outer garments” or a
derived from the Middle Dutch sniden, meaning “to cut.”  The English term “snide,” as in “a snide or
cutting remark,” comes from this root.  A
notable early name was Frans Snyders, a 17th century Flemish painter at
the time
of Rubens. 
The German Schneider, also meaning tailor, is a far
more common surname.  There are more than 300,000 Schneiders in
today.  Many of these Schneiders became
Snyders in America. The American
spellings are Snyder and Snider.  Some
Snyders are Jewish from the Yiddish name Schnayder.

Snyder Resources on

Snyder Ancestry

America.  There
are 57,000 Snyders and 41,000 Schneiders in America today.
Earlier Schneiders from Germany changed their name to the more
English-sounding Snyder.
Later Schneider arrivals were more likely to have kept their
German name.  Schneider has narrowed the gap on Snyder in America
during the
20th century.

The first Snyders in
America were German Palatines from the Rhineland who crossed the
Atlantic from
Rotterdam – Christian Schneider departing there on the William
and Sarah
in 1727 and another Christian Schneider leaving on
the Allen in 1729.  They
like others at that time came to Pennsylvania,
although the earlier Christian Schneider then moved onto New Jersey.

Notable 18th century Snyders from Pennsylvania were:

  • Anton
    Schneider who came to
    Pennsylvania from the Rhineland in 1744.  His
    son Simon
    rose from humble origins to become the third Governor
    Pennsylvania in 1808.  Simon’s home on
    North Market Street at Selinsgrove in Pennsylvania still stands.  Snyder county in Pennsylvania was named in his
  • John
    Peter Snyder who arrived
    the late 1740’s also
    the Rhineland (his brother Nicholas following him in 1755).  Peter
    married in America and bought land in farm in Franklin
    Pennsylvania.  Jacob Snyder, born there,
    headed north to farm in Waterloo township, Ontario around 1815.  His lineage was recounted in Lucille
    Heckman’s 1991 book The Jacob Snyder
    Family History
  • and
    George Snyder, born in Bucks county Pennsylvania in
    1780, who moved to Paris, Kentucky as a young man where he earned his
    living as a
    silversmith and clockmaker.  Around 1820
    credited for having invented the first American-made fishing reel.

Snyders were also to be found in Maryland and Virginia at this
time.  A Snyder family from Virginia was in Knox (later Whitley)
county, Kentucky by 1810.  The line from Frederick Snyder who
lived on Wolf Creek was covered in Frank R. Snyder’s 1992 book Snyder Family History.

Alonzo Snyder,
born in Kentucky, came south in the late 1830’s to
on land in Louisiana.  His initial investments paid off and he
became a successful planter and lawyer, one who was particularly adept
in handling bankrupted estates in the Mississippi Delta.  His
family remained prominent in the affairs of Tensas parish in NE
Louisiana for the balance of the century.

Some Snyders in America are Jewish.  Daniel Snyder, for instance,
came from a Jewish family in Maryland.  He made his money in
direct marketing and is the current owner of the Washington Redskins
football team.

Canada.  In Canada the
Snider spelling has been more common than Snyder.  Early arrivals
were those who crossed the border from America:

  • the Snyders who came to Upper Canada (Ontario) included Adam
    Snyder to
    Gainesborough township in 1793 and Jacob Snyder to Waterloo township in
    1815.  David Snider arrived with his family in 1819 and
    they made their home in Trafalgar township.  His
    place became known as Snider’s
  • then there were Loyalists like Martin Snider who had received a
    land grant from the British Government in New Brunswick.  He
    farmed there from 1794 until 1811 when he moved to York, Ontario.
    He has a large number of descendants in Canada.

These Snyders/Sniders could all be traced back to Schneider immigrants
into Pennsylvania in the first half of the 18th century.  They
tended to settle in Canada in the same tight Mennonite communities that
they had formed in Pennsylvania.

Elias Snider, from the Snyders in Waterloo county, took over the family
gristmill in the 1860’s and invested in rollers from Europe to produce
a better grade of flour that was marketed widely throughout
Canada.   He later became a prominent local politician.


Snyder Miscellany

Snyder, Snider, and Schneider in America

Census numbers (000’s) 1840 1920 2000
Snyder     2    29    57
Snider     1     5    10
Schneider     –    13    41

Simon Snyder at Selinsgrove.  When
Simon Snyder was fifteen his father died and two
years later, in 1776, he moved to York where he apprenticed with a man who
taught him the tanning and currying trades.
While in York, Snyder studied reading, writing and mathematics
at night
with a local Quaker schoolmaster.  Beyond
this, Snyder was largely a self taught man.

In 1784, at the age of twenty five, Simon and
his brother-in-law Anthony Selin, the founder of Selinsgrove, became
partners in a general store there.  Selinsgrove
was then at the Pennsylvania frontier.  The
business required willingness to work hard, honesty, and a shrewd
sense, all of which virtues Simon Snyder possessed.

A general store could sometimes be the stepping stone to
political office for its
proprietor.  And this proved to be the case for Simon Snyder.
In 1785 he was elected a Justice of the Peace and in 1789 he was
as one of two representatives the county sent to the State
Convention.  His political rise had started.

After serving three consecutive terms as Pennsylvania
Governor, Snyder returned to Selinsgrove in 1816 and built his home on
North Market
Street.  However, he was to die there three
later of typhoid.  His gravesite at Sharon
Lutheran church in Selinsgrove is marked by a monument topped by his

Snyders in New Jersey and Canada.  Christian Schneider
was one of many Palatine refugees from Germany.  According to the
archives’ passengers lists, he came on the William and Sarah in 1727. This list
includes the following Snyders: Christian, Jacob, Martin, Mathias,
Madeline and
Susannah.  Madeline was his wife.  Jacob,
Martin and Mattias were probably his brothers.  Christian at
the time was about
32 years old.

their arrival and processing, Christian and his wife
Madeline joined thousands of German refugees who settled in northwest
Jersey, about ninety miles north of Philadelphia. They made their home
Paulins Creek in Warren county.

Snyder was born there in 1739.  In 1793,
after the conclusion of the Revolutionary
War, he left with his family for Canada.
They were six weeks on the road, covering about five hundred
through the wilderness. The “roads” were only Indian trails between
settlements. The women and children rode the horses and on wagons. The
walked and drove the cattle and sheep.

their arrival in Canada, the family
settled in the northern part of Gainesborough township in Lincoln
county, Ontario.  He built a saw mill and a
grist mill on the nearby
creek and his community became known as Snyder’s Mills.
Family legend has it that his wife Ann
befriended the Indians who came to her door.
She was so good to them that they looked upon her as a saint and
named the
Snyder place “St. Ann’s.”

Alonzo Snyder in the Mississippi Delta.  Alonzo Snyder
was a chancer.  He had come to the Mississippi
Delta from Kentucky in 1838 as a young man. He
married into the Beiller family which gave him
access to their estates.  In his legal
he became particularly adept in handling bankrupted estates.  Many of their
plantations wound up in
the hands of Snyder or his friends.  By
he was worth nearly $200,000 in real estate and personal property, a
large sum
in those days.

is a daguerreotype
portrait taken of him at this time.  He
was by then a respected district judge and increasingly active in local
politics.  Snyder
was one
of the prominent leaders of the Breckinridge faction in Louisiana,
was pro-Union at the time.  However, in
he was elected as a delegate to the Louisiana secession

the spring of 1863, Union soldiers came to arrest him at his home.
Snyder spent three months in a prison in
Alton, Illinois.  But then he was released
and returned to Louisiana and his estates.

The Sniders at Trafalgar Township, Ontario.  Michael
Snider and his wife Catherine moved to the Mississauga
region of Upper Canada in 1802, obtaining a 200-acre land plot.  He settled in 1809 west of what is known today
as Winston Churchill Boulevard.

His son David Snider followed suit, moving to
Canada with his wife Eliza and making his home in Trafalgar township in
1819.  These Sniders quickly became
renowned for their fine
horses.  David Snider was a farmer until
his passing in 1862 at the age of 79.

son Joseph carried the mail to and from Postville in Trafalgar township
Snider’s Corners; a job he inherited from his father.  At
that time the place had just a church and
schoolhouse, but it was well known as a social centre for surrounding
families.  Later Joseph was appointed as
postmaster for Snider’s Corners.  He also worked as a tavern
inspector, assessor
and tax collector.


Snyder Names

  • Simon Snyder was the third Governor of Pennsylvania, serving three terms from 1808 to 1817. 
  • George Snyder is credited with having invented
    the first American-made fishing reel in 1820. 
  • Duke Snider, nicknamed “the Duke of
    Flatbush,” was a popular outfielder with the Brooklyn Dodgers baseball team of the 1950’s. 
  • Gary Snyder is remembered as a West Coast poet associated with the Beat Generation.

Select Snyder/Snider Numbers Today

  • 67,000 in America (most numerous in Pennsylvania)
  • 15,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada)


Select Snyder and Like Surnames 

The first wave of German immigration into America came in the early 1700’s from the Rhine Palatine and Switzerland.  They were fleeing religious persecution at home.  Most ended up in Pennsylvania, bringing their Mennonite church with them.  Some went to the Mohawk Valley in upstate New York.  Their Germanic names often changed under English rule to English-style names.  Thus Fischer became Fisher, Schneider Snyder, Hubner Hoover and so forth.

The reasons for immigration were different in the 19th century – in search of a better life, sometimes to avoid the draft.  They came from all German states and went not just to Pennsylvania but all over as the middle and west of the country was opening up.  And they brought German skills with them, notably beer-making.

Here are some of the notable German surnames in America that you can check out.






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