FACT: "schexnayder" probably meant "tool maker" or "handle maker"
The roots of the German surname schexnayder lie in the northern region of Schleswig-Holstein.
The name is derived from two Low German words, "schat," meaning "handle," and "schneider,"
meaning "to cut." Thus, the name was most likely originally borne by someone who cut the
shafts for spears or tools.
Spelling variations of this family name include: Schachtschneider, Schexnayder, Schaxnayder,
Schattschneider, Schatzschneider, Scachtsnider, Scachtsnidere, Schechtschneider, Schettschneider
and many more. First found in Schleswig-Holstein, where the name first emerged. The earliest
known bearer of the name was Herman Scachtsnidere, who was living in Hamburg in 1262.
One of the first settlers of this family name or some of its variants was Henri Albert Segsneider,
whose trip across the Atlantic in 1721 was so fraught with peril, that it's amazing he survived at all.
In fact, of himself, his parents and his brother, he was the only one to survive the trip, arriving
in Louisiana at the age of about 12 as an orphan. I will be posting more of his incredible story
later, so check back!
I can't speak to all the different spellings of Schexnayder, but I can explain the variant that my
My grandfather Rene', could not read or write, having never gone to school. In his late teens, as
he was preparing to marry my grandmother, they both needed a copy of their birth certificates. The person
they spoke with when they applied, may have been deaf, or just a bad speller, but this person
misspelled both their names. My grandmother's name was Sybill Hargrove, but her birth certificate listed
her name as Sylvia Hargrave. My grandfather's name was Rene' Schexnayder but his misspelled birth certificate
listed him as Raney Schexneider. So while all of his brothers and sisters as well as their descendants
spell their last name Schexnayder, my grandfather and his descendants now spell their last name Schexneider.
The Schexnayders originate from the area in what was known as Germania. The Schexnayders where from a region that
is now Brussels. The region first became associated with the name Germany in the 1st century BC, when the
"conquest of Gaul" makes the Romans aware for the first time that there is an ethnic and linguistic distinction
between the Celts (or Gauls) and their aggressive neighbours, the Germans.
To view some interesting facts about the history of the German region