|Region of origin||England|
|Language(s) of origin||Middle English|
|Related names||Wynder, Windere, Winderes, Winders, Windhere, atte Wynde|
There are less than 11,000 Winders in the world, with about half of them - 5,259 - residing in the United States. The United Kingdom has the next highest population of those with this surname (2,547), followed by Canada (1,059), Austria (613), the Netherlands (356), New Zealand (277), Germany (237), Australia (215), Ireland (69), Poland (49) and Sweden (48).
On a per capita basis, the surname Winder is most common in Austria where there are 72.82 Winders for every million people. The appearance of the Winder surname in other nations, as expressed in frequency per million (FPM) is: New Zealand (63), the United Kingdom (60), Canada (31), Australia (22), the Netherlands (21), the United States (20), Ireland (15), Sweden (5), Germany (2) and Poland (1).
In rank, Winder is the 2,415th most common surname in the U.K., the 6,023rd most common surname in the U.S., and the 7,054th most common surname in Australia.
In total numbers, the number of Winders in the United States is growing. The 1880 Census showed that there were 1,527 surnamed Winder, and by 2010 that had grown to 5,259. However, as a percentage of the population in the U.S., those surnamed Winder are growing less common. In 1880 for every million Americans there were 31 named Winder, and by 2010 there were only 20 Winders per million in the country. 
Although they spell it the same, it appears that the surname Winder comes from two distinct sources. As the adjacent map illustrates, by 1891 in England there was a clear concentration of Winders in northern England (695 families in Lancashire and 385 in Yorkshire). There was also a distinct concentration in southern England (230 families in London, 123 in Kent, and 122 in Sussex).
The Winders of northern England and the Winders of southern England have never been connected genealogically, and recent DNA analysis proves that despite sharing the same last name, these families are not related. Rather, it appears that the surname Winder evolved independently in two parts of England.
Northern England origins
The Winder name in northern England appears to be occupational, derived from a place name, or of Viking origin. In Lancashire county, well known for sheep farms and wool processing, a person who winds wool, thread, or yarn was called a winder. Just as a smith became known as Smith, so a winder became known as Winder.
In the Hundred Rolls of Lancashire of 1275, a Richard le Winder and Thomas le Winder are listed, the first known examples of someone bearing the surname. (Translated as Richard the Winder and Thomas the Winder.)
The surname Winder in northern England is also derived from a place name. There are three places in north Lancashire called Winder, as well as places in Yorkshire, Westmorland, and Cumberland. The parish of Cartmel in Lancashire had a place called Winder as early as the 1200s, and there is evidence of families with the surname De Winder and De Winderghe there at that time. (Translated "of Winder".)
The name of Winder also came to England from Viking origins. Vikings moved from Ireland and the Isle of Man to settle Cumbria in the 900s, and one of their chieftains was named Vinandr. Windermere, the largest natural lake in England and now a famous tourist attraction in Cumbria, derives its name from “Vinandr's lake” (Old Norse personal name 'Vinandr' + Old English ‘mere’).
The branches of the northern Winders to first immigrate to America were the families of John Winder of Maryland (immigrated in 1665), John Winder of New York (immigrated in 1674), and Thomas Winder of New Jersey (immigrated in 1703). Most of their American descendants pronounce the name "Winder" with a long "i", as in "why". In fact, in Pennsylvania, one branch of the family recently changed the spelling of their name to "Wynder" to force the pronunciation of the long "i".
Southern England origins
In southern England, a version of the name first appears in Hastings, Sussex in the Hundred Rolls for Sussex taken in 1274. The sheriff, Matthew of Hastings, successfully appealed for the release of a group of six innocent men from jail, including William de la Wynde and his son John. William’s French name literally means “William of the Wynde”, meaning their family likely lived at the wind, or bend in the road or river.
When the next great survey of England was taken, in the Sussex Subsidy of 1296, there are not many last names with both the French “de” and “le”, but instead there is the growing use of the Middle English contraction “atte” (meaning “at the”). That census records a Richard atte Wynde and a Robert atte Wynde, possible relatives or descendants of William de la Wynde or John de la Wynde mentioned in 1274 in a location just nine miles down the road.
Over the next century or two in Sussex, we see the “atte” at the start of these last names replaced with an “er” at the end. The name atte Stone becomes Stoner, atte Bridge becomes Bridger, atte Greene becomes Greener, atte Walle becomes Waller, and atte Wynde becomes Wynder.
The branch of this family to first come to America was that of the Mormon convert John Rex Winder, born in Biddenden, Kent who immigrated from England to Utah in 1853. This branch of the family pronounces the name "Winder" with the short "i", as in "win".
African Americans, most of whom are descendants of slaves, often used, or were given, the name of their owners. In some Southern states, between one-quarter to one-third of slaves after the American Civil War adopted the surnames of their last owners.
This explains why a number of African American families bear the English-originating surname Winder today. Examples include former Denver Broncos tailback Sammy Winder, and Brigham Young University basketball player Anson Winder.
Coat of Arms
While a coat of arms does not belong to a surname, they are hereditary and belong not only to the individual to whom they were originally granted by the College of Arms in London, but to all of their male descendants. Therefore, after centuries, many sharing a surname also share a coat of arms.
Notable people sharing the surname "Winder"
- Barbara W. Winder, General President of the Relief Society of the LDS Church
- Barney Winder, New Zealand professional rugby player
- Catherine Winder, executive producer at LucasFilm Animation
- Charles Winder, American Olympian
- Charles Sidney Winder, Civil War Confederate general
- Chuck Winder, Idaho state senator
- David F. Winder, Vietnam war hero
- David Horatio Winder English painter
- David Kent Winder, United States federal judge
- Frank Winder, Irish scientist
- Henry Winder, English minister and chronologist
- John H. Winder (1800–1865), Civil War Confederate general
- John R. Winder, a general authority of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
- Levin Winder, the governor of Maryland from 1812–1816
- Michael Winder, drummer for the Irish pop band Talulah Does The Hula
- Michael Winder, screenplay writer for The Beast Must Die
- Michael K. Winder, an American businessman, historian, and politician
- Nathan Winder, English professional footballer
- Richard W. Winder, mission president and temple president for the LDS Church
- Robert Winder, British author and cricket player
- Sammy Winder, professional football player for the Denver Broncos
- Susan Winder Tanner, General President of the Young Women's Organization for the LDS Church
- William H. Winder, War of 1812 U.S. general
- "The WINDER surname in America | American Surnames". Americansurnames.us. Retrieved 2012-10-15.
- "The World Family Name Profiler". publicprofiler.org. Retrieved 2012-10-15.
- "Verteilung des Namens "Winder" in Deutschland". verwandt.de. Retrieved 2012-10-15.
- "Geograficzny podział nazwisk "Winder" w Polsce". Moikrewni.pl. Retrieved 2012-10-15.
- Mark A. Lower, 1860. Patronymica Britannica: A dictionary of the family names of the United Kingdom. John Russel Smith, London.
- Basil Cottle, 1984. The Penguin Dictionary of Surnames. Penguin Books N.Y. p. 426
- Charles W. Bardsley, 1884. English surnames: Their sources and significations.
- Richard McKinley. 1981. English surnames series: IV The surnames of Lancashire. Leopard's Head Press, London.
- "Gray's Book of Roads". George Carrington Gray. 1824.
- A copy of The Hundred Roll for Sussex is found at the LDS Church Genealogical Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.
- Richard McKinley. 1988. The Surnames of Sussex. London: Leopard's Head Press.
- Michael K. Winder. 1999. John R. Winder: Member of the First Presidency, Pioneer, Temple Builder, Dairyman. Horizon Publishers
- Franklin Carter Smith, Emily Anne Croom, A Genealogist's Guide to Discovering Your African-American Ancestors (2009), pp. 109-110.
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