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

Origins Available: English, Scottish

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

The name Woody came to England with the ancestors of the Woody family in the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Woody 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.

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Multitudes of spelling variations are a hallmark of Anglo Norman names. Most of these names evolved in the 11th and 12th century, in the time after the Normans introduced their own Norman French language into a country where Old and Middle English had no spelling rules and the languages of the court were French and Latin. To make matters worse, medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, so names frequently appeared differently in the various documents in which they were recorded. The name was spelled 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.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Woody 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 Woody History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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

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Some of the Woody 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.

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Because of this political and religious unrest within English society, many people decided to immigrate to the colonies. Families left for Ireland, North America, and Australia in enormous numbers, traveling at high cost in extremely inhospitable conditions. The New World in particular was a desirable destination, but the long voyage caused many to arrive sick and starving. Those who made it, though, were welcomed by opportunities far greater than they had known at home in England. Many of these families went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Woody or a variant listed above:

Woody Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century


  • Richard Woody, who arrived in Boston, Massachusetts in 1642
  • Rob Woody, who landed in Virginia in 1653

Woody Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • John Woody, who arrived in Virginia in 1701

Woody Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • Matthew Woody, who landed in Morgan County, Illinois in 1839

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  • Douglas Allen Woody (1955-2000), American bass guitarist, best known for his work with The Allman Brothers Band and The Artimus Pyle Band
  • Alanah Woody (1956-2007), American archeologist, anthropologist and professor
  • Arthur Woody (1884-1946), American forest ranger and conservationist who reintroduced deer to the North Georgia mountains
  • Damien Michael Woody (b. 1977), American NFL football offensive lineman who played from 1999 to 2010, he has won two Super Bowl rings
  • Frank Hargrave Woody (1833-1912), American politician and judge, 1st Mayor of Missoula (1183-1884)
  • Joey Woody (b. 1973), American silver medalist track and field athlete at the 2003 World Championships
  • Larry "Woodrow" Woody, American retired sports writer
  • Russ Woody, American Primetime Emmy Award winning producer
  • Mr. Oscar Scott Woody (d. 1912), aged 44, American Postal Clerk from Clifton, Virginia who worked aboard the RMS Titanic, died in the sinking and was recovered by CS Mackay-Bennett


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

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  1. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
  2. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds. Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  3. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  4. Lennard, Reginald. Rural England 1086-1135 A Study of Social and Agrarian Conditions. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1959. Print.
  5. 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.
  6. Weis, Frederick Lewis, Walter Lee Sheppard and David Faris. Ancestral Roots of Sixty Colonists Who Came to New England Between 1623 and 1650 7th Edition. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0806313676).
  7. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin . Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  8. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  9. Hanks, Hodges, Mills and Room. The Oxford Names Companion. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Print. (ISBN 0-19-860561-7).
  10. Filby, P. William and Mary K Meyer. Passenger and Immigration Lists Index in Four Volumes. Detroit: Gale Research, 1985. Print. (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8).
  11. ...

The Woody Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Woody 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 February 2014 at 15:01.

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