The surname Snowden is usually listed by experts as originating within the
British Isles. It is found often in England and Scotland, less often in Wales and Northern Ireland, on occasion in Southern
Ireland and has evolved through many spelling changes.
Twenty years after the Norman conquest, William
the Conqueror, ordering survey of most of the lands outside of London, had these returns set down in the well-known
Doomsday Book. The name Snode is found in that book as an inabitant holding land in 1086. Snode (Snod or Snoad) was
an Anglo-saxon word for "cap or hood". I wonder if Ellsworth Jefferson Snowden got his nickname "Cap" from this information.
Also Leland Clyde Snowden's nickname is also "Cap", nick named after his grandfather Ellsworth.
At a later date with the
addition of the suffix, Snode or Snod or Snoad, became the surname Snoden, Snodden, or Snoding, meaning
the descendants of Snode. Some families using the short form of the name migrated to the Virginia Colony as early as 1625. However there's another
theroy as to the origin of the meaning Snowden. Robert Ferguson in English surnames attributes the name Snodin, to an
Old Norse word used early in the British Isles which meant, "smoothe or without hair". Samuel L. Brown agrees and adds that
when the Old Englishword "hyll" (hill) was added to it, it gave rise to a place named Snowden Hill in Yorkshire, England.
is that natives of this place came to be called Snowden. Migrations
of natives from the vicinty of the Mt. Snowden in Wales also assumed the name and brought it into common usage. While some
authorities agree that in some instances natives of the Mt. Snowden area may have been called Snowden, the name was
found early in wide use in localities far removed from the Welsh mountain: "there were early hamlets called Upper and Lower
Snowden in West Yorks, Snowden Close in Cumberland, and Snowden Pool in Salap.
In 1880 a study made
in England of the frequency of certa surnames in various localities showed a higher concentration of Snowden families in the
northeastern shires near or abating Scotland than elsewhere.
While the suffix don,
as in Snowdon, was more common in Staffordshire and Wales, the suffix den, as in Snowden, was the usual ending in
Yorkshire, England. Research done in USA shows almost every two syllable form of this surname has evolved through
succeeding generations of spelling change and is presently found as SNOWDEN.
20 seperate but identifiable spelling of the name in the United States are: Snod, Snode, Snoad, Snoton, Snowton, Snoughton,
Snoughden, Snewton, Snowdone,Snaden, Snawdon,Snawden, Snoddon, Snodden, Snudden, Snod, Snoden,Snowdur, Snodon, and Snowden.
for the New Jersey Snowden's, who is our family tree origination in the USA, researchers agree they came from Nottinghamshire, England
and even earlier from Yorkshire, England. Records show that the Snowden's "paid the hearth tax" in Yorkshire as far back
as Queen Elizabeth, whose reign, began in 1558. In the more remote past they came from Scotland, the family name being derived
from the name "Snowdoun" the ancient name of Stirling Castle. Sir Walter Scott, in "The Lady of the Lake"
wrote that Snowdoun's Knight was Scotland's King.
Yes, Ellen, when disguised I stray
In life's more low but happier way,
under name which veils my power,
Nor falsely veils - for Stirling's tower
Of yore the name of Snowdoun claims
Normans call me James Fitz James