Family name origins & meanings
- Southern French and German : from Occitan astor ‘goshawk’ (from Latin acceptor, variant of accipiter ‘hawk’), used as a nickname characterizing a predacious or otherwise hawklike man. The name was taken to southwestern Germany by 17th-century Waldensian refugees from their Alpine valleys above Italian Piedmont.
- English : variant spelling of Aster.
- Astor is the name of a famous American family of industrialists and newspaper owners. John Jacob Astor I (1763–1848) was born at Walldorf near Heidelberg, Germany, the son of a butcher. He followed his brother Henry to New York and made a fortune in the fur trade, which was greatly increased by his descendants in industry, hotels, and newspapers. They built the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York. The great-grandson of John Jacob I, William Waldorf Astor (1848–1919), moved to England in 1890, becoming an influential newspaper proprietor and taking British citizenship in 1899. In 1917 he was created Viscount Astor of Hever. His son, the 2nd Viscount (1879–1952), married Nancy Shaw (née Langhorne) (1879–1964), daughter of a VA planter. She became the first woman to sit in the British House of Commons as a member of Parliament.