From Prinze to Wilder


The Wilder family name has its roots in the Vilder family which migrated from Ploesti, Romania to North America early in the 20th Century. When the family came to North America, and possibly at Ellis Island (see the ship arrival record in the Wilder Family Photo Album), Vilder, in Romanian, became Wilder, in English. David Hart Wilder passes on an explanation first related by Joseph Wilder.

"According to Joe, the Wilder family traces its roots back to Spain, having the name of Prinze. The family was expelled in 1492 during the Inquisition. Like many Spanish Jews (Sefardim), the family resided in Hungary for close to 300 years. In the 1800's, many of the Jews in Northern Hungary were pushed into Romania. The Prinze family was one of these families. The Romanian authority did not want to deal with more than one Jewish community and insisted that the Sephardic Jews from Hungary assimilate into the exsisting Ashkenazic community. As such, these Sephardic Jews took on Ashkenazic names. Commonly, these names would come from their professions. Since Grampa Wilder worked on a plantation, a "Vald" in Yiddish, he became known as Valderer. Since the W & V are interchangable in Slavic languages, the name was spelled with a W.

However, we have not yet been able to document the Valderer name from any records, and its evolution to Vilder.


Last revision: 3/7/97

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