Is your Surname registered?

Our 2,768 members have registered
2,405 study surnames with us
and a further 6,120 variant names.

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About the study

An unusual surname, together with family stories of a death in a vat of toffee and ownership of a Scottish castle started the search for family history; all Snary references were collected in the hope that a connection might emerge. Eventually the non-family data exceeded that with family connections.

The study began in 1999 - a joint study with my wife, also a member of the Guild. It is still very much a study in progress, information and queries welcomed.

We still have not found the castle.

Variant names

Snarey, Snarry, Sneary

Over seventy different spellings of the names have been encountered, in old and newer sources.

Name origin

The name may be derived from the Old Norse name Snari, from the Old Norse snarr meaning swift.

Name frequency

The ONS database suggests that there were about 290 living Snarys in England and Wales in 2002. This compares with 182 in 1881, 235 in 1891 and 271 in 1901; always less than thousandth of one percent of the total population. The Snarry line had died out in the UK before 2002.

Distribution of the name

In the eighteenth century the main concentrations in the UK were in the English counties of Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Huntingdonshire and Gloucestershire. The concentration in the South West probably had Irish origins.

The variant names have been found across North America; Sneary, while appearing rarely in Canada is by far the most common variant in the USA. The variant names have been found in 42 of the United States.

Some variants of the name have been found in Australia, New Zealand & South Africa


BMD data from the UK 1837 to 2006

England and Wales Censuses 1841 to 1911

UK Grants of Probate and some Wills

US Censuses 1830 to 1930 and Canadian Censuses 1852 to 1911 and some North American BMD data

Details from Parish Registers