Sunday, February 5, 2012

Surname Saturday – Lander

This apparently simple surname is in fact one of complex origins according to the surname data baseIt may be a development of the Olde French "Lavendier" which was usually anglicized to Launder and Lander, and describes one who owned the local laundry, and was therefore occupational.  The same word was confusingly applied to a textile worker who washed the cloth after dyeing.  However, a larger number of British name holders will have a Germanic or Anglo-Saxon origins, and sometimes with a later 17th century Huguenot entry as well to thoroughly mix the brew.  In this case the name is topographical and describes a countryman, one who lived on the land, as opposed to a city dweller.

Bleaching Ground by de Momper and Jan Brueghel II,
early 17th Century

Another origin of the name traces to the town of Landau in Germany, but I, at this time, do not think this family branch goes back in this direction.

It’s interesting to note here, that during my research, I have found this surname spelled many other ways.  This may have occurred when the information was gathered during the time of the census, or the transcriber may have translated the script differently than what was actually written.  Some other examples found besides the ones listed above include Landess, Landere, Landes, Lanner, Landis, Lauder, Larder, Landry, Landers, Landen, Alander, and Sander to name a few.

In any case, I have had to be very open to misspellings for this surname.  It has also been helpful to seek the same document (i.e., census record) but indexed by different organizations, such as Ancestry vs. Heritage Quest.

My husband’s known family history (handed down) begins with Warren LANDER and Trypheni/Tryhphena BILLINGS of Brighton, Somerset, Maine.  I spent a lot of time searching for Billings and I now believe that the evidence points to Tryphena PICKERING and that Billings was probably her middle name.  If this is true, then they married in 1836 in Brighton, Maine and my husband’s great grandfather was one of at least five children (four girls and one boy) from this union.

It was 3 November 1845 that Warren and Trypheni became parents of a son whom they named Warren James LANDER.

“At an early age he removed with his parents to Kingston, Wisconsin.  When he was seven years of age his father died.

In the autumn of 1865, Warren entered Lawrence University at Appleton and graduated as Bachelor of Arts in the summer of 1869 as valedictorian of his class.  He was admitted to the bar in Outagamie County in 1870 and in 1871 took up his residence in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  Soon after he settled in Green Bay, he was elected city attorney for Fort Howard and filled this position for six years.”

Green Bay and Fort Howard 1867

On 21 October 1875, Warren married Miss Annah Elizabeth Watson, (born 2 March 1849 in Newbury, Sank County, Wisconsin). The wedding took place in the house of Mr. and Mrs. Willard Lamb (Brother-in-law and sister to Annah) in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  From this union they had ten children.

The Lander family made their home in Green Bay, Wisconsin until Warren’s tragic death on 28 November 1892.

Green Bay Lawyer Hangs’ Himself.

Green Bay, Wis., Nov. 28 - Special Telegram.
- Warren J. Lander committed suicide to-day by hanging himself with a clothes line in the attic of his home on Webster avenue.  For several months Mr. Lander, who is a lawyer, has been a sufferer, having only recently recovered from a severe illness, which culminated in a brain trouble. Though suffering considerably he at- tended to his office duties during the past months until a few days ago, when he was again taken severely ill.

Regarding the character of Warren James Lander, it was stated that, “Mr. Lander was a man of more than ordinary intellectual power, he was an able and successful advocate; being of industrious and persevering habits he soon attained a high standing at the bar and acquired a competence for himself and family.”

©2012 – Frank’s Daughter All Rights Reserved


  1. What a sad story. Those kinds of stories always make me wonder...

    Perhaps the Billings as middle name theory might point to her mother's maiden name?

  2. Thanks for your comments, Jacqi.

    Yes, it is a sad story and was a surprise to my husband's family; they had never heard of the event. What's more amazing is that his widow then sucessfully relocates with her eight children to Hollywood,California just a few years later.

    I agree, Billings could be a name of significance. So far I have found a Billings on one of the early Maine census records with Lander, but no connection...yet.