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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016

The name Woodruff is of Anglo-Saxon origin and came from when the family lived in Yorkshire. Their name, however, derives from the woodrofe plant, a white flower whose leaves bear a sweet scent. The name indicates that the original bearer lived in an area in which the woodrofe was common.


The surname Woodruff was first found in Yorkshire where they held a family seat at Bolton on Deane, before and after the Norman Conquest in 1066.

It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, early Anglo-Saxon surnames like Woodruff are characterized by many spelling variations. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages, even literate people changed the spelling of their names. 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. The variations of the name Woodruff include: Woodrow, Woderove, Woodrof, Woodrofe, Wodrow, Woodroffe, Woodruff, Woodrufe and many more.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Woodruff research. Another 195 words (14 lines of text) covering the years 1554, 1574, 1551, 1768, 1679 and 1734 are included under the topic Early Woodruff History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 23 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Woodruff Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Some of the Woodruff family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 75 words (5 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.


Many English families tired of political and religious strife left Britain for the new colonies in North America. Although the trip itself offered no relief - conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and many travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute - these immigrants believed the opportunities that awaited them were worth the risks. Once in the colonies, many of the families did indeed prosper and, in turn, made significant contributions to the culture and economies of the growing colonies. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families has revealed a number of immigrants bearing the name Woodruff or a variant listed above:

Woodruff Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • John Woodruff, who arrived in Lynn, Massachusetts in 1640
  • Matthew Woodruff, who arrived in Hartford, CT in 1640
  • Jno Woodruff, who landed in Virginia in 1664
  • Thomas and Edith Woodruff, and their five children, who came to New Jersey in 1679
  • Joseph Woodruff, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1682

Woodruff Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • James Woodruff, a bonded passenger who arrived in America in 1742

Woodruff Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • L Woodruff, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851
  • S Woodruff, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851
  • T P Woodruff, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851
  • James Woodruff, who arrived in Indiana in 1854

Woodruff Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

  • William Woodruff arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Constance" in 1848


  • Robert Winship Woodruff (1889-1985), American businessman, President of The Coca-Cola Company (1923-1954)
  • Charles Woodruff, American Olympic sliver medalist for archery in the 1904 games
  • Laura Woodruff, American Olympic gold medalist for archery at the 1904 Summer Games
  • John Youie Woodruff (1915-2007), American winner of the 800 metres at the 1936 Summer Olympics
  • Chris Woodruff (b. 1973), American former professional tennis player
  • Timothy Lester Woodruff (1897-1902), Lieutenant Governor of New York from 1897 to 1902
  • Brigadier General Carle Augustus Woodruff (1841-1913), American Army officer awarded the Medal of Honor
  • Hale Woodruff (1900-1980), American painter
  • Robert Warren "Bob" Woodruff (b. 1961), American television journalist
  • Blake Woodruff (b. 1995), American actor



  • Tall Trees in the Forest: the Woodruff Family of Virginia, Alabama, and Missouri by Mrs. Howard Woodruff.
  • Woodruff-Rardin Families by Audrey Lee Wagner Woodruff.

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  1. Crozier, William Armstrong Edition. Crozier's General Armory A Registry of American Families Entitled to Coat Armor. New York: Fox, Duffield, 1904. Print.
  2. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Galveston Texas 1896-1951. National Archives Washington DC. Print.
  3. Mills, A.D. Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4).
  4. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds. Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  5. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  6. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  7. MacAulay, Thomas Babington. History of England from the Accession of James the Second 4 volumes. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1879. Print.
  8. Markale, J. Celtic Civilization. London: Gordon & Cremonesi, 1976. Print.
  9. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
  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 Woodruff Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Woodruff 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 11 June 2015 at 12:40.

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