(History of the surname as we know it)
The Scottish surname Snodgrass is of local origin, deriving from the
name of the dwelling place or locality where a bearer once lived.
In this instance, the name can be traced to the lands named Snodgrasse
in Ayrshire, and the name literally meant, "a dweller at the smooth, grassy
land." In medieval Scotland it was common practice to identify a
man with the area from which he hailed and to refer to him in this manner.
Thus a resident of Snodgrasse usually adopted the name of their native
soil as their family name. There was also a certain civic pride involved
in registering one's native town as one's family name. Early instances
of the name were generally prefixed with "de" meaning "of"; a preposition
used to denote surnames of local origin. The earliest instance of
the name occurs in the Scottish Rolls and the listings are entered in Scots
Gaelic; one Adam Snorgyrs is listed as being the bailie (bailiff) of Are
(Ayr) in 1372. The modern form of the name began to appear during the sixteenth
century; one Patrick Snodgrass was admitted Burgess and Freeman of Glasgow
in 1578. In Glasgow the surname frequently appears as Snodgers where
a notable family of this name resided during the Middle Ages; they were
recorded in the Glasgow Protocol Books as being significant maltmen and
brewers. One Margaret Snodgers inherited this firm from her brother
John in 1621.
Lord Eglington Plan of Ayr
(showing the Snodgrass villiage area)
From “The Surnames of Scotland”, p. 735, 736: SNODGRASS.
An Ayrshire surname derived from the twenty shilling lands of old extent
of Snodgers or Snodgrasse in the parish of Irvine and bailliary of Cunningham.
Adam Snorgyrs appears as bailie of Are in 1372 (ER., II, pa 486), and Patrick
Snodgrass was admitted burgess freeman of Glasgow in 1578 (Burgesses).
The name occurs in the Glasgow Protocol Books as Snodgers (1556), and Margaret
Snodgers was recorded heir of John Snodgers, maltman and burgess of Glasgow,
in 1621 (Inquis., 972). Andrew Snodgrasse in the Bridgeend of Glasgow
was released from imprisonment in 1679 on signing a bond not to take up
arms (RPC., 3. ser. VI, p. 296), Neil Snodgras appears as notary in Paisley
in 1684 (ibid., IX, p. 321), and Hew Snodgrass, William Snodgrass and John
Snodgrass took the Test in the same town in 1686 (ibid., XI, p. 496).
Snodgrass 1679, Snodgerss 1608, Snodgrase 1652.