Recorded in several spellings including Schneidau, Schneider, Schneidar, Schnieder and Schnitter, this is an occupational German surname, although also recorded in Austria, France and Belgium since the medieval times. It derives from the word "snitare", itself a derivative of the pre 8th century "snidden", and translates as "one who sews" - a tailor. This relatively humble, but highly important origin, does not seem to have been a bar to the success of the name holders, there being at least eight coats of arms granted to various members over the centuries.In addition the name received world-wide publicity in the years between 1912 and 1932, through the international air race, the Schneider Trophy. Early examples of the surname recording taken from authentic charters and registers of the period include Johann Christoph Schneidar, who married Maria Emig at Pleuzhausen, Rheinland on April 30th 1754, and Johann Gottlieb Schneidau who married Anna Marie Philip at Danzig Stadt, West Prussia on April 17th 1842. The first recorded spelling of the family name is belived to be that Rotcher Sniter from Greifswald, Germany, in the year 1302.This was during the reign of Emperor Albert 1st of the German Empire, 1298 - 1308. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop", often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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