Springer Surname Meaning, History & Origin

Select Springer Meaning
was at first a German name, originating from the German word springen meaning to “jump” or
“leap.”  Its origin as a surname may have come from one who
jumped; or it may
simply have been a nickname for a lively person.
Springer can also be Jewish
(the Yiddish shpringen has the same
meaning) or Dutch, and there are variations of this name in Poland and in
Slavic countries.  The Springer name has
also appeared in England, although it may have come from a different

Springer Resources on

Springer Ancestry

family history, starting from Thuringia in Germany in the 11th
century, was first recounted in Moses Springer’s 1881 book A
Genealogical Table and History of the Springer Family.

an early American
perspective, the key Springer line originated with Christopher
resident of the German town of Weimar when it was occupied by Sweden.  He in fact moved to Stockholm sometime in the
1650’s and settled there.  His son Carl
Charles) Springer was abducted in London and sent to Virginia as an
servant.  He eventually secured his
release and made his way to the new Swedish settlement on the Delaware

Springers number some 15,000 in Germany today.
The name may have had its origin in Thuringia in central Germany.  But it has spread north into Hanover and
Hamburg.  Axel Springer, the owner of the
Springer publishing empire, came from Hamburg.  

America.  The Swedish Springers have
been the most
prominent Springers in America, but they were not the only ones.

The Swedish
Springers.  Charles Springer arrived in the
Christiana Hundred, later
Wilmington, in Delaware in 1681.  He and
his wife Maria raised fourteen children there.
Some remained in Delaware.  Michael
was the first of the family to settle in Fayette county, Pennsylvania
they remained into and through the 19th century.

There were the Springers of Uniontown
and the Springers of Connellsville, Pennsylvania.
The Levi Springer House, built in 1817, was
originally conceived as a stage hotel on the road to Uniontown.  It still stands. Other
Springers ended up in NW Ohio.

One line from Delaware via John Springer led
to Kentucky after the Revolutionary War.
He had two sons, Levi and Thomas, both of whom became Methodist
ministers.  The
Rev. Levi Springer
moved first to Indiana and then to Illinois
in 1833.  His bother Thomas meanwhile had
been a
pioneer settler in New Lebanon, Indiana in 1827.  He
too later moved to Illinois.

son William became an Illinois congressman, influential through the
Amendment in opening up Indian lands for settlement.
William’s wife Rebecca wrote a famous
Christian inspirational book that was entitled My Dream of

Other Springers.  There were some other
early Springer lines:

  • Dennis
    and Mary Springer were married in New London, Connecticut in 1667.  It is believed that Dennis came there from
    Ireland.  His son Dennis moved to
    Elizabethtown, New Jersey; his grandson Dennis to Frederick county,
    Virginia.  The Indian fighter Nathaniel Springer is
    thought to have
    come from this family.
  • while
    Lawrence Springer arrived in Rhode Island from an
    English family in Barbados around the year 1684.

largest number of Springers coming to
America have been from Germany.
Johan Peter Springer arrived from the Alsace-Lorraine area of
Germany in
1755 and eventually settled in Augusta county, Virginia.
Springer, a shoemaker by profession, and his
wife Mary came in the early 1830’s to Pennsylvania.
Some of his children moved out west to Kansas
and did well in land and cattle.
Grandson Alvin became a lawyer in Manhattan, Kansas.

There are also a
number of Jewish Springers in America, the most famous of them being
the TV
talk-show host Jerry Springer.  His great
grandfather Abraham Springer had come from a small town in Poland, then
part of
Prussia.  His parents escaped Nazi
tyranny, first to England and then to America.
Other Jewish Springers are to be found in Argentina.

The Swedish Springer
line extended into Canada.  Benjamin
Springer was a merchant in upstate New York who moved to Blenheim,
Ontario in
the early 1800’s.  He died in 1834 during
the cholera epidemic. His son Moses, who
grew up as an orphan, ran a German-language newspaper in Waterloo and
elected as the town’s first mayor.

Caribbean.  The Springer name in the
Caribbean is
probably of English origin.  John and
Margaret Springer were early settlers in Barbados in the 1660’s.  Later Springers were plantation owners in St.
Lucy.  Sir Hugh Springer, born in 1913,
was a labor union organizer and later Governor of the country.  He was named as one of the ten national
heroes of Barbados in 1998.  The Springer
name also spread to Trinidad.


Springer Miscellany

The Origins of the Springer Name.  The name was said to have originated with Louis II, Count of Thuringia, who was imprisoned by the Emperor.

However, he was able to make his escape from the castle where he was imprisoned by an adventurous leap from the tall battlements into the waters beneath.  The Emperor then pardoned him and gave him the name of “the Springer.”  His son Christopher became Count Springer in 1092. 

Charles Springer Is Remembered.  Charles’s marble plaque at his church in Wilmington reads as follows:

memory of
Charles (Carl Christopher) Springer
Born in Stockholm, Sweden in 1658
Came to
America, 1678
Died in Wilmington, Delaware in 1738.

founder and builder of this
church warden, vestryman and councilor from the founding until his
death.  His body rests beneath this east
wall of the
south portico.”

1882 he was remembered again, but in a wrong way.  Two
hoaxsters claimed that Charles Springer’s
estate was worth $100 million and that the city of Wilmington had
agreed to pay
his heirs $20 million to release itself from the claim.
The hoaxsters agreed to act as agents (for a
fee) for those claiming descent. As a
result many Springers in America started concocting family histories
showed them as descendants of Charles Springer.
In the end the fraud was revealed.

Nathaniel Springer the Indian Fighter.  Nathanial
Springer, born in 1722, appeared early in
Monongalia county, West Virginia records.

He was recorded in a deposition there
as leading an expedition in 1747 where Abe Little’s body was found
scalped and
hanging by his heels, Little being one of the earliest trappers in the
Monongahela area.  The deposition
described an event where Pharoah Ryley was bitten by a rattlesnake and
died.  Nathaniel claimed to have sucked
the poison from Ryley’s wound and applied herbs to save him.

Nathaniel was also
in the employ of Lawrence and George Washington as a scout and guide in

It was said that Nathaniel had
53 notches on his rifle from Indian warfare and was considered by many
to be
the best hunter in the Monongahela valley.
He was described in Rev. Levi Shinn’s journal as a true pioneer
“with a beard all the way to his crotch.”  He was supposed to have
a hunting contest in Monongalia county in 1799 at the age of 77.

The Rev. Levi Springer’s Journey.  The Rev. Levi Springer travelled from Indiana to Morgan county, Illinois in
company with
his wife, each on horseback in the fall of 1833.  From
Paris they started on the “lost trace,”
crossing the Grand Prairie to the head of the Sangamon river.  They were two nights on the prairie, sleeping
on the grass, with no protection save the blankets which they carried,
wolves howling all around them.
Reaching Springfield, they found only a few cabins.
They then proceeded to Crow’s Point on
Indian Creek, near which point they settled.

Virginia Springer in Trinidad.  Virginia Springer
was the illegitimate daughter of Barbados-born James Barry Springer who
some of his later years in Trinidad, most probably receiving medical
for oral cancer at the colonial hospital there.

to family lore,
Virginia’s mother was a Portuguese mulatto.  It was well
documented that white
men of means often took mixed-race women of color as their mistresses
in a
mutually-beneficial “placage”-type relationship.  Trinidad was
known for the
beauty of its mulatto women.

mother died when she was young and she
and her brother were raised by her Aunt Alice. She grew up in San
where she later met her husband George Ramdeen, the son of an East
shopkeeper. Her aunt wasn’t pleased with the match as she felt that
George was
“too dark.”  However, Virginia and George
did marry in 1903.

later moved to Fyzabad where Virginia was a founding
member of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church and was well remembered
locally as


Springer Names

  • Charles Springer was the forebear of the Swedish Springers in America. 
  • Sir Hugh Springer was the third native-born Governor of Barbados.   
  • Jerry Springer has been the Mayor of Cleveland and a TV news anchor, but is best known as the host of the tabloid talk show The Jerry Springer Show which he has hosted since 1991.

Springer Numbers Today

  • 1,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in London)
  • 10,000 in America (most numerous in Texas)
  • 2,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada)


Select Springer 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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