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Surname Calder - Meaning and Origin

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Calder: What does the surname Calder mean?

The last name Calder is of Scottish and English origin and it is believed to have geographical roots. Calder is derived from the Old English words "cald," which means "cold" and "aer," meaning water, translating to "cold river." The Calder River, in West Yorkshire, England, is thought to have been the namesake for many people bearing the last name Calder in the area. In Scotland, the name is associated with locations like Calder in Lothian and the Calder Water in Lanarkshire. The Calder surname also gained notoriety through the famous American sculptor Alexander Calder, known for his innovative mobiles. Hence, the Calder name is held by individuals around the world, distinguished by their ancestral geographic locality, or a particular family's historical occupation.

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Calder: Where does the name Calder come from?

The surname Calder is of Scottish origin. It is derived from the Gaelic terms "coille," meaning "wood" and "dobhar," implying "water". The name was first found in Inverness-shire, situated in the Scottish Highlands. It may also be locational, originating from three places named Calder in Lanarkshire, Mid Lothian, and the village of Calder (Cawdor) in Nairn.

The Calder surname has spread to different parts of the world due to historical migrations and emigrations. Today, the name is most common in Scotland, England, and the United States. It is also found in considerable numbers in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand due to Scottish emigration in the 18th and 19th centuries. In each country, there might be variations in how frequency the surname occurs, yet it remains particularly significant within communities of Scottish heritage.

Additionally, the Calder name is associated with several prominent figures, such as American sculptor, Alexander Calder, famous for his mobile sculptures, and Scottish-born physician, Sir James Calder - Queen Victoria’s private physician on her visits to Scotland. The name also appears in the title of the Earl of Cawdor, a title in the Peerage of Scotland.

Variations of the surname Calder

The surname Calder is considered to be of Scottish origin, derived from the Gaelic term "Caldara" that translates to "hard or violent water." It's most commonly linked to the location Calder in Speyside, in the former county of Moray, northeast Scotland.

Several variants, spellings, and surnames have evolved from Calder over time. Calder itself has some variations like Caldor, Cawdor, and Caulder. The spelling could also depend on phonetics leading to variants like Kaldor or Kalder. Additionally, it's seen combined with other elements to form surnames like Calderwood, Calderbank, and Calderhead. Hyphenated versions like Calder-Smith or Calder-Jones might also exist.

As with many surnames, Calder can also appear as a given name, particularly in countries with strong Scottish or English influence. The cultural and geographical dispersion of people from the Scottish lands has resulted in the surname Calder appearing in various forms across the globe, including Canada, the U.S, and Australia. Given that names often change with human migration, some more distantly connected variations might exist.

Famous people with the name Calder

  • Alexander Calder: American artist known for creating iconic mobiles
  • Bob Calder: Canadian ice hockey player
  • Christina Calder: American entrepreneur and creator of the lifestyle brand Packed Party
  • Graham Calder: Scottish footballer
  • Harry Calder: American thoroughbred horse racing trainer and jockey
  • Helen Calder: Australian wildlife artist
  • Lollie Fuzzipps Calder: English artist and painter
  • Norman Calder:Academic and theologian based in the United Kingdom
  • Stafford Calder: South African biologist and herpetologist
  • David Calder: British actor best known for roles in films such as The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Master & Commander: The Far Side of the World.

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