Seidenstricker/Silknitter families
Origin of the Name

The name "Seidenstricker" means "silk-knitter."   Seidensticker means silk embroiderer.  These names belongs to the category of German surnames derived from an occupation.  Moreover, there are a number of similar-sounding names derived from related occupations such as Seidenbinder, silk-maker; and Seidenspinner, silk-spinner.

The secret of making silk thread and cloth was known in China some 4,000 years ago, but for hundreds of years, the Chinese guarded the secret of raising silkworms and making silk. About 550 A.D., Justinian, Emperor of Byzantium, is said to have sent two Persian monks to China to bring back eggs of silkworms in a bamboo tube. This small beginning started a silk industry in the region around Constantinople. From there the raising of silk spread slowly throughout southeastern Europe.

Adoption of surnames in the various small states which ultimately joined together to form modern Germany began in the middle ages.  Thus, there is no common ancestor from whom all Seidenstrickers or Seidenstickers are descended since the art of silk making, spinning, knitting, and embroidery was well developed by that time and many unrelated silk-knitters, embroiderers and spinners may have chosen their trade as their surname.

On the other hand, American descendants of the original Seidensticker or Seidenstricker immigrants may be using any one of a number of spelling variations, including the English variant of "Silknitter", which we have found in the various records we have searched in the course of compiling this family history.

Today we are sticklers for uniform spelling to such an extent that the ability to spell "correctly" has become a criterion for the amount of culture and education a person is considered to possess. In the 18th and early part of the 19th centuries, however, people had a genial disregard for uniformity in spelling, and many a German-speaking person, who may have been capable of signing his name, spelling it, or even quite literate in his native tongue, found that English speaking clerks and ministers wrote his name on deeds, wills, tax, and church records as they thought it should be spelled based on their interpretation of the name as pronounced in the dialect the German/American learned as a child.

Thus, the initial in Pearl S. Buck's name stands for "Sydenstricker", her father's name. Other common variations include "Sydonstricker", "Sidenstricker", "Seydenstricker", "Sitenstricker ‘and such English translation variants as "Silknitter", "Silkniter", "Silknetter", and "Silkneeter". Particularly troublesome are those cases where the "r" was dropped and the name became "Seidensticker" or "Seidenstick", which are theoretically different surnames.

Anyone searching records should be aware that there are many more spelling variations which have probably not resulted in permanent name changes. Some examples of those we have found are:


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