This is a copy of an article published in
The Peak Advertiser
, the Peak District's local free newspaper,
on 27th October 1997,
reproduced by kind permission of the author, Desmond Holden.
The "What's in a Name" series has been a regular
feature in the Advertiser.
Articles are confined to the origins and meanings of surnames and
Desmond regrets he is unable to undertake research into the genealogy,
descent or family history of individuals.
Editor's Note: Articles are provided for general interest and
background only. They are not intended to provide an exhaustive treatise
for any individual family history - investigations of which may yield
quite different results. Or, in Desmond's own words:
"In the end it must remain with individual bearers of the names to
draw upon family traditions and to seek out such documentary
evidence as is available to decide the matter for themselves."
WHAT'S IN A NAME …
Are you called ANDREWS?
Note: this article was transcribed by Ann Andrews, on 2nd April 2001.
Contrary to a widely held belief "Andrew" is not a Scots name, even
though it is that of their Patron Saint. It originated in the Greek
Language as "andros" and it means "man" or "manly". It has provided
us with many useful expressions. Modern Science Fiction writers
make great use of "android" - though it is interesting to note that
was already in use as early as 1727. Feminists might like to be
aware of "gynocracy" and do away with "androcracy" - but Readers of
the "Peak Advertiser" must work out the meanings!
"Andrew" owes its undoubted popularity all over the Western World
on account of its having been "conferred" upon one of the Apostles.
It is desirable to emphasise "conferred" because he was a Jew and
would most certainly have borne a Jewish (i.e. Armaic) name. Today,
New Testament scholars have concluded that "Andrew" was an attempt
by the Early Church to substitute a Greek equivalent for his
original name. Unfortunately this name has been lost and so why
"Andrew" was selected is not perfectly understood.
The status of Andrew amongst the Twelve Apostles is high because he
was, along with Peter, the first to be chosen (John: I-40). Those
who are familiar with the Gospel Narrative will recall that he
endeavoured to introduce a Deputation of Greek intellectuals to his
Leader (John:XII-22) and that incident may have added to the
reputation he later enjoyed in Greece and Russia. Several Early
Christian Writers have provided accounts of his journeys which
don't always match up. The Russian narratives allege that he made
his way along the course of the River Dneiper as far as Kiev and
then across the borders of Poland (modern place-names used) and for
that reason Russia adopted him as its Patron Saint. The Greeks also
gave him this title for themselves and place reliance on more
authentic descriptions which indicate that he travelled widely in
their Regions. A heavy tradition claims that he was martyred for
his faith in Patras (now Patria in the Peloponnesos). The earliest
descriptions say that he was simply tied to an Olive Tree and left
to die (A.D. 63). However accounts of a later date have converted
the tree into the familiar X-shaped device, popularly called "St.
Andrew's Cross". It was of course in his honour that the Scots
incorporated these diagonals into their National Emblems. They too
had adopted him as their Patron Saint. The reason for this lies in
the fact that a certain Abbot called Regulus brought some relics of
the Apostle from the East (369) and placed them in a monastery
around which the City of St. Andrews's developed. His Commemoration
day is 30th November.
With such distinguished antecedents it is not surprising that
"Andrew" became a popular first name for a boy, except, curiously
enough, in the British Islands. For some unknown reason it does not
ever appear to have been a favourite here. It was always low down
in the frequency charts which cover the years from 1600 to 1950 and
then suddenly shot into top groupings until 1990 when it just
In the original Greek "Andrew" was written "Andreas" which became
"Andreus" in Latin. On the Continent, and in Germanic Societies
especially, the form "andrik" developed which was Latinised into
"Andricus". In England and Scotland however the Greek form seems to
have prevailed and from which all the easily identifiable surnames,
such as "Andrew", "Andrews" and "Andrewes" have evolved. It has
also generated the much less familiar forms of "Andros" and
"Andrus". Otherwise the Continental versions are responsible for
such creations as "Andress", "Anders", Andre" and "Andrea". In
passing, since "Andre" as a surname has evolved directly from
"Andricus", unless particular families can show it to have been
imported from France, the use of an accent over the final "-e" is
When personal names pass into surnames they invariably indicate the
relationship of parent and child. In Modern English, when we wish
to suggest that someone or something "belongs" to somebody or
something else we can use the word "of". But in Old English we had
only a special grammatical construction which involved tagging of
the unit "-es" to the end of the word. We still do it today except
that we leave out the "-e" and insert an apostrophe so we can say,
for example, "the surface of the road" or "the road's surface". In
adopting this construction with regard to names, our ancestors
quickly dropped the apostrophe and simply added an "-s". So, in
answer to the question "Who does that kid belong to?" the answer
came, "It's Andrew's -" hence the surname "Andrews". In the vast
majority of cases the name settled on "Andrews" but the "es" still
survives in "Andrewes" which is much less common.
Most personal names also develop "pet" or "hypochoristic" versions.
Did you ever hear of a lad called "Andrew" who would answer to
anything but "Andy"? Following the same line of development "Andy's
kid" quickly took on the form "Anderson". This form is heavily
concentrated in Scotland. We encounter Henry Androson in 1443 and a
year later John Andrewson, both in Scotland and today in the
Directory for Edinburgh "Anderson" extends across 14 columns yet
barely 100 for "Andrews."
The "pet" form of "Andy" also modified into "Dandy" and "Tandy" and
generated the surnames in the same form. There are entries in the
local directory for both versions as well as the off-shoot "Dando".
Although Sir Walter Scott created a memorable character in "Dandie
Dinmont" (Guy Mannering) and the well-known Irish Ballad, "Wearing
of the Green" introduces "Napper Tandy" neither is exclusively a
creation of either country. Forms of "Dandy", especially "Dandison"
occur in English Records some 250 years before those of Scotland -
Dande de Hale is found in Lancashire in 1246 whereas corresponding
entries don't appear in Scotland until 1499. In passing it may be
noted that the use of the expression "Dandy" to describe an over-
dressed man dates from 1632 and is a mark of admiration ("Ain't it
just dandy!") is American and first appears in 1908 and so neither
have any bearing on the surname.
As one would expect, in Scotland the form "MacAndrew" occurs and
this modifies into "Kendrew". In both Scotland and Ireland "the
servant of Andrew" appears as "Gillanders".
From all that has been described, readers of the "Peak Advertiser"
can easily detect that an account of all the permutations on the
name "Andrew" could be continued almost indefinitely.
Strangely enough, the most celebrated personality bearing a related
name is not British but a native of Denmark, namely Hans Anderson
(1805-1875) whose charming fairy stories are still appreciated by
all children under 100! The name on the form of "-es" is familiar
to Church Historians on account of Bishop Lancelot Andrewes
(1555-1626) whose character was irreproachable and whose religious
writings are still consulted.
||© Desmond Holden
From "The Peak Advertiser", 27th October 1997.