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

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

Woodward is a name that was carried to England in the great wave of migration from Normandy following the Norman Conquest of 1066. It is a name for a forester. Looking back even further, we found the name was originally derived from the Old English words wode, meaning wood, and ward, meaning guardian or keeper.

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The English language only became standardized in the last few centuries. For that reason, spelling variations are common among many Anglo-Norman names. The shape of the English language was frequently changed with the introduction of elements of Norman French, Latin, and other European languages; even the spelling of literate people's names were subsequently modified. Woodward has been recorded under many different variations, including Woodward, Woodard, Woodwards, Woodyard, Wadard and many more.

First found in Essex where Commander Wadard was granted lands [1] by King William for his assistance at the Battle of Hastings. The first recorded scion of the family, (Falaise Roll,p 112,) Commander Wadard assembled King William's army at Saint Valery in Normandy for the invasion of England. It was he, Wadard, who advised King William of the Saxon King Harold's approach from the north at Hastings. His descendents, Henry and Simon Wadard, were still Lords of their respective Manors in Essex in 1278.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Woodward research. Another 217 words(16 lines of text) covering the years 1290, 1086, 1066, 1490, 1590, 1675, 1640, 1657, 1712, 1698 and 1735 are included under the topic Early Woodward History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 75 words(5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Woodward Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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To escape the uncertainty of the political and religious uncertainty found in England, many English families boarded ships at great expense to sail for the colonies held by Britain. The passages were expensive, though, and the boats were unsafe, overcrowded, and ridden with disease. Those who were hardy and lucky enough to make the passage intact were rewarded with land, opportunity, and social environment less prone to religious and political persecution. Many of these families went on to be important contributors to the young nations of Canada and the United States where they settled. Woodwards were some of the first of the immigrants to arrive in North America:

Woodward Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century


  • Christopher Woodward settled in Virginia in 1620
  • Christopher Woodward, who arrived in Virginia in 1620
  • Henry and Mary Woodward settled in Virginia in 1623 along with Richard
  • Henery Woodward, who landed in Virginia in 1624-1625
  • Mary Woodward, who arrived in Jamestown, Va in 1624


Woodward Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • John Woodward, who arrived in Boston, Massachusetts in 1712
  • Joseph Woodward, who arrived in Virginia in 1714
  • Samuel Woodward, who landed in America in 1760-1763

Woodward Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • Charles Woodward, who landed in New York in 1822
  • George Woodward, who arrived in New York in 1835
  • Thomas Woodward, who arrived in Mississippi in 1848
  • Jonah Woodward, who landed in Nebraska in 1870

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  • Bob Woodward (b. 1943), American journalist and author, assistant managing editor of The Washington Post
  • Comer Vann Woodward (1908-1999), American historian
  • Robert Burns Woodward (1917-1979), American Nobel Prize-winning organic chemist
  • Commander (USN) Neil W. Woodward III (b. 1962), American former NASA astronaut
  • Edward Albert Arthur Woodward (1930-2009), English stage, film and television actor and singer
  • Sir Arthur Smith Woodward (1864-1944), English palaeontologist
  • Mr. John Wesley Woodward (d. 1912), aged 32, English Second Class passenger from Oxford, Oxfordshire who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking
  • Mr. John Wesley Woodward (d. 1912), aged 32, English Cellist from Oxford, England who played aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking
  • Emma Woodward (b. 1993), British former child actress
  • Eric Woodward (1899-1967), Australian Governor of New South Wales

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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: Virtus semper viret
Motto Translation: Virtue is always flourishing.

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  1. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)

Other References

  1. Elster, Robert J. International Who's Who. London: Europa/Routledge. Print.
  2. Crispin, M. Jackson and Leonce Mary. Falaise Roll Recording Prominent Companions of William Duke of Normandy at the Conquest of England. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  3. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. Print.
  4. Library of Congress. American and English Genealogies in the Library of Congress. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1967. Print.
  5. Shirley, Evelyn Philip. Noble and Gentle Men of England Or Notes Touching The Arms and Descendants of the Ancient Knightley and Gentle Houses of England Arranged in their Respective Counties 3rd Edition. Westminster: John Bowyer Nichols and Sons, 1866. Print.
  6. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  7. Cook, Chris. English Historical Facts 1603-1688. London: MacMillan, 1980. Print.
  8. Lennard, Reginald. Rural England 1086-1135 A Study of Social and Agrarian Conditions. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1959. Print.
  9. Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
  10. Bede, The Venerable. Historia Ecclesiatica Gentis Anglorum (The Ecclesiastical History Of the English People). Available through Internet Medieval Sourcebook the Fordham University Centre for Medieval Studies. Print.
  11. ...

The Woodward Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Woodward 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 2 April 2014 at 22:46.

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