Humanities › History & Culture Where Did the Name Sanders Originate? Share Flipboard Email Print Tetra Images/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images History & Culture Genealogy Surnames Basics Genealogy Fun Vital Records Around the World American History African American History African History Ancient History and Culture Asian History European History Inventions Latin American History Medieval & Renaissance History Military History The 20th Century Women's History View More By Kimberly Powell Genealogy Expert Certificate in Genealogical Research, Boston University B.A., Carnegie Mellon University Kimberly Powell is a professional genealogist and the author of The Everything Guide to Online Genealogy. She teaches at the Genealogical Institute of Pittsburgh and the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy. our editorial process Kimberly Powell Updated February 04, 2020 Whether your last name is Sanders, Sanderson, or some other variant, the meaning of the name is quite interesting. Depending on your ancestry, it may come from Greek or German. Let's explore the Sanders surname, its history, and famous people named Sanders, and guide you to some helpful genealogy resources. Where 'Sanders' Come From Sanders is a patronymic surname derived from the given name "Sander." Patronymic means that at some point in history, men by the name of Sander gave their name to their son, creating the name Sanders and indicating possession. It's easier to see this in the patronymic variation Sanderson, which means "son of Sander." Sander is a medieval form of "Alexander." Alexander comes from the Greek name "Alexandros," meaning "defender of men." This, in turn, comes from the Greek alexein, meaning "to defend, help" and aner, or "man." Sander or Sanders in Germany may also be a topographic name for someone who lived on sandy soil, from sand and -er, a suffix denoting an inhabitant. Sanders is the 87th most popular surname in the United States. Its full origins are English, Scottish, and German. Alternative spellings are Sanderson, Sandersen, and Sander. Famous People Named Sanders If we take a look at Sanders name alone, we can find many famous people. Here are a few of the more notable names and you're sure to recognize a number of them. Barry Sanders - U.S. football playerBernie Sanders - U.S. politicianColonel Harland Sanders - Founder of Kentucky Fried ChickenDeion Sanders - U.S. football playerGeorge Sanders - British actorLarry Sanders - U.S. comedianMarlene Sanders - TV news anchor Genealogy Resources for the Surname Sanders The Sanders name is spread throughout the world, with many families passing it from one generation to the next. If you're interested in researching Sanders' ancestry, you can start with these resources. Is There a Sanders Family Crest?: The question of family crests and coats of arms is common, but there is no true Sanders family emblem. Crests are granted to individuals, not the overall family, then passed down the lineage of male descendants. For this reason, one Sanders family could have a different crest than another Sanders family.Sanders/Saunders/Sanderson/Saunderson Y-DNA Project: This project aims to connect individuals with the Sanders or Saunders surname interested in exploring their family history. It promotes the use of genetic testing to assist traditional genealogical research.FamilySearch: Sanders Genealogy: Explore over 7.2 million results from digitized historical records and lineage-linked family trees related to the Sanders surname and variations. This free website is hosted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.Sanders Surname Mailing List: This free mailing list is for researchers of the Sanders surname and its variations. The list offers subscription details and searchable archives of past messages.GeneaNet: Sanders Records: GeneaNet includes archival records, family trees, and other resources for individuals with the Sanders surname. Most of its records concentrate on families from France and other European countries.The Sanders Genealogy and Family Tree Page: Browse genealogy and historical records for individuals with the Sanders surname from the website of Genealogy Today.