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Individual scribes, parish clerks or members of the clergy each had their own preferred spellings for names. It is not unusual to find someone’s name spelt in various ways as different people managed the registers on different occasions.
English Sando(w)(e) has been spelt in the following ways since the 16th c: Sandaw (until the 17th c), Sandowe (until the 17th c), Sanda(h) (17th c to early 19th c), Sando (until now), Sandoe (until now), Sandow (until now). Three forms stabilised towards the end of the 19th c, each family knowing how their name is spelt: Sando, Sandoe, Sandow. There are also four instances of one other spelling: Sandhoe (1825, 1825, 1839, 1858). The clerks were possibly aware of the Northumberland village of Sandhoe, or maybe the people concerned offered a hypercorrect pronunciation like sand-Hoe. Another rare spelling from Cornwall is Zandoe.
There is also a placename in Cornwall: Sandoe’s Gate, a crossroads in the parish of Feock. The name clearly implicates a Sandoe person who possibly lived there or did something at some time in the long forgotten past. The earliest instance seen so far is in a 16th c. muster roll from the parish of Probus, referring to property in Feock. In the 19th c it is sometimes recorded as Sanders Gate, which tells us two things: (a) that the local pronunciation is sandah and (b) that the clerk was not local but originated elsewhere in England (someone from Cornwall would hardly pronounce Sandoe with an r, or Sanders without an r). To appreciate this, do you pronounce “farther” and “father” as a rhyme, or not?
In addition to these established spelling variants, there are also numerous variants found in indexes and transcriptions, arising from misreadings:
- reading L for S – Lando, Landoe, Landow
- reading T for S – Tando, Tandoe, Tandow
- reading P for S – Pando, Pandoe, Pandow
- reading u for o – Sandu
- reading n for w – Sandon
- reading u for n – Saudo
- reading l for e – Sandol
- reading s for a or o – Sands
- reading e for o – Sande, Sandee, Sandew
- reading ct or cl for d; Sancto, Sanclo.
The origin of the name Sando/w/e
The name has several origins internationally:
- In Mecklenburg, Germany: the Latin form Sandoviensis (degrading to Sandovie etc) is known from mediaeval documents such as Rostock university registers, and means “a person from neighbouring Sandau-an-der-Elbe“. The modern form Sandow is pronounced ZANdoff in German.
- In Norway, derived from the placename Sandø (sand island), anglicised spelling Sandoe or Sando; the name was adopted widely in the 18th c. as an inherited surname in place of patronymics.
- In England, the name was concentrated to eastern Cornwall in the 15th century, spreading westwards later, suggesting Anglo-Saxon rather than Celtic descent. Suggested origins are the village of Sandhoe in Northumberland (documented since the 12th c., remote from Cornwall, but that’s when topographical surnames would be used), or a nickname derived from Alexander. One Sandowe is known with a Northumberland connection, an archer mustering for service in Normandy in 1441.
- In France, the name Sandeau occurs sparingly.
- The form Sando is also know from Africa and South America.
People with all these name origins are found in countries with migrant populations like Australia and the USA.