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Surname Sailor - Meaning and Origin

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Sailor: What does the surname Sailor mean?

The last name Sailor is of English origin and it typically refers to the occupation of a person who sails or works at sea. It originated from the old English term 'sælig' meaning sea or ocean, denoting a job associated with sailing. People with this surname likely had ancestors who were seamen or mariners. Like most occupational surnames, it was likely first used by someone who actually held that job, and then passed on to their descendants. Over time, the spelling may have evolved from its old English origins to its current form. It should also be mentioned that the surname Sailor can change in spelling, with some variations including Saylor and Seyler.

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Sailor: Where does the name Sailor come from?

The surname Sailor is most commonly found in the United States, particularly in the states of California, Texas, Florida, New Jersey, and Maryland. It is also common in the United Kingdom, where it is found in large numbers across Yorkshire, Lancashire, London, and the south-east.

Adopted by both Native American and European settlers alike, the Sailor surname has its roots in Old French, Middle English, and the Old Norman language. It translates to "mobilized for war," possibly suggesting that the original bearers of the surname were warriors.

Some popular variants of the surname are Saylor, Seiler, Sayler, Saylors, and Sayles. There are also other, less common variants of the name, such as Saillor, Saller, and Saler.

Many records indicate that the Sailor family is descended from the medieval knightly class. This suggests that the family moved from Europe to the United States and Canada during the migration of the 1800s.

The surname Sailor has been popularized in popular culture by characters such as the sailor Billy Bones, featured in Robert Louis Stevenson's famous novel Treasure Island, and Seaman John Beckett from the 1960s TV series Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea.

Variations of the surname Sailor

The surname Sailor is an English patronymic surname derived from a given name, usually taken from the first name of a father to his child. Variants and alternate spellings of the surname Sailor include Sailer, Saylor, Sayler, Saeler, Saylur, Sailur, Saileur, Saylor, Seiler, and Sayler. Other variants of the name include Saleur, Saylors, Sauller, Saylloris, Saillors, as well as various spelling variations.

Many of these variants are due to dialectical differences in pronunciation. For instance, the ' Sayler' variant might be found in an area with a more German-speaking population; whereas the 'Saylor' variant is probably derived from an area with a more French-speaking population.

The surname Sailor could also be derived from a nickname meaning a person who worked or sailed on ships. During the Middle Ages, people often took on occupational surnames to distinguish themselves from others with the same given name. A sailor might have been referred to as John the Sailor, and his son would eventually have been known as John Sailor's son.

The Sailor surname is also found in Scotland and Ireland. In Scotland, Sailor is a variant of the MacSorley Clan, who migrated down the west coast of Scotland in the late 18th century. In Ireland, the Sailor surname is found mainly in counties Down, Tyrone, and Donegal.

Overall, the surname Sailor has an array of variants, alternate spellings and families of origin, all of which have interesting stories and histories to tell.

Famous people with the name Sailor

  • Valentine Sailor: The daughter of singer-songwriter Roy Orbison
  • Laura Sailor: American professional golfer
  • Molly Sailor: American actress
  • Ansley Sailor: Actor and writer
  • Tina Sailor: American film actress
  • Beau Sailor: Singer and songwriter
  • Shep Sailor: American singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist
  • Shaw Sailor: American actor
  • Regan Sailor: American singer and songwriter
  • Lynn Sailor: Poet and author

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