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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2014

Origins Available: English, Irish, Scottish

Where did the English Woods family come from? What is the English Woods family crest and coat of arms? When did the Woods family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Woods family history?

Woods is a name that first reached England following the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Woods family lived in Leicestershire. Further research showed the name was derived from the Old English word wode, meaning wood, and indicates that the original bearer lived near a wood.


It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, Anglo-Norman surnames like Woods are characterized by many spelling variations. Scribes and monks in the Middle Ages spelled names they sounded, so it is common to find several variations that refer to a single person. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages such as Norman French and Latin, even literate people regularly changed the spelling of their names. The variations of the name Woods include Wood, Woods, Wode, Would, Woid, Voud, Vould and others.

First found in Leicester, where they held land in Thorpe Arnold, under the Earl of Leicester. They were descended from Ernald de Vosco, a Norman knight, who came to Britain with the Norman invasion of 1066. After losing these lands, the main branch of the family moved north to Dumfriesshire, Scotland where they held a family seat from about 1150.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Woods research. Another 393 words(28 lines of text) covering the years 1350, 1597, 1672, 1666, 1502, 1478, 1486, 1488, 1495, 1500, 1455, 1539, 1604, 1675, 1654, 1597, 1671, 1661, 1671, 1622, 1685, 1610 and 1682 are included under the topic Early Woods History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 281 words(20 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Woods Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Woods family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 67 words(5 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


Faced with the chaos present in England at that time, many English families looked towards the open frontiers of the New World with its opportunities to escape oppression and starvation. People migrated to North America, as well as Australia and Ireland in droves, paying exorbitant rates for passages in cramped, unsafe ships. Many of the settlers did not make the long passage alive, but those who did see the shores of North America were welcomed with great opportunity. Many of the families that came from England went on to make essential contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America carried the name Woods, or a variant listed above:

Woods Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century

  • Ann Woods, who landed in Virginia in 1769-1770

Woods Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century

  • David Woods, aged 25, arrived in Alexandria, Va in 1801
  • Alexander Woods, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1811
  • James Woods, who arrived in Baltimore, Maryland in 1811
  • Francis Woods, aged 41, arrived in New York in 1812
  • Anthony Woods, who arrived in New York, NY in 1812

Woods Settlers in the United States in the 20th Century

  • Evans Woods, who landed in Mississippi in 1904


  • James Woods (b. 1947), American actor
  • Barbara Alyn Woods (b. 1965), American actress
  • Eldrick Tont "Tiger" Woods (b. 1975), American professional golfer whose achievements to date rank him among the most successful golfers of all time
  • Don Woods (1927-2012), American meteorologist and cartoonist
  • Sylvia Woods (1926-2012), American restaurateur who co-founded the landmark restaurant Sylvia's in Harlem on Lenox Avenue, New York City
  • Sir Albert William Woods GCVO, KCB, KCMG, KGStJ, FSA (1816-1904), English officer of arms
  • Christopher "Chris" Charles Eric Woods (b. 1959), English former football goalkeeper
  • Margaret Louisa Woods (1856-1945), English writer
  • Aubrey Woods (b. 1928), British actor
  • William "Bill" Woods (b. 1962), Australian television broadcaster



  • Let the Deed Shaw: A Pictorial and Historical Record of the Fleming, Edwards and Woods Families by James R. Fleming.
  • The Michael Woods-Mary Campbell Family in America by Patsy Woods Young.
  • The Woods Family: Colonial Days to 1979 by Willa Woods Hiltner.

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Tutus in undis
Motto Translation: Safe on the waves.


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  1. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  2. Sanders, Joanne McRee Edition. English Settlers in Barbados 1637-1800. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  3. Humble, Richard. The Fall of Saxon England. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-987-8).
  4. Hitching, F.K and S. Hitching. References to English Surnames in 1601-1602. Walton On Thames: 1910. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0181-3).
  5. Fairbairn. Fairbain's book of Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, 4th Edition 2 volumes in one. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1968. Print.
  6. Skordas, Guest. Ed. The Early Settlers of Maryland an Index to Names or Immigrants Complied from Records of Land Patents 1633-1680 in the Hall of Records Annapolis, Maryland. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1968. Print.
  7. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
  8. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  9. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  10. Innes, Thomas and Learney. The Tartans of the Clans and Families of Scotland 1st Edition. Edinburgh: W & A. K. Johnston Limited, 1938. Print.
  11. ...

The Woods Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Woods Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 19 October 2014 at 14:55.

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