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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2015

Origins Available: French, Welsh

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

The surname Dodds is a Welsh name of old Celtic origin. The surname is from one of the various related Old English personal names Dodd, Dodda, Dudd, or Dudda, which were all in common use until the 14th century. The name Dodds may also be a nickname surname derived from the Germanic root "dudd" or "dodd," which means something rounded; thus, it would have been used to denote a round, lumpish person, or a stupid person. The surname Dodds may also be derived from the Old English word "dydrian," which means deceiver or rascal, or from the word "dod," which means to make bare or to cut off. The application of the name Dodds is obvious in the former case, while the nickname would denote a bald person in the latter case.

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Although there are comparatively few Welsh surnames, they have a great many spelling variations. Variations of Welsh names began almost immediately after their acceptance within Welsh society. In the Middle Ages, it was up to priests and the few other people that recorded names in official documents to decide how to spell the names that they heard. Variations that occurred because of improper recording increased dramatically as the names were later transliterated into English. The Brythonic Celtic language of Wales, known by natives as Cymraeg, featured many highly inflected sounds that could not be properly captured by the English language. Spelling variations were, however, also carried out according to an individual's design: a branch loyalty within the family, a religious adherence, or even patriotic affiliations were all indicated by the particular variation of one's name. The spelling variations of the name Dodds have included Dodd, Dod, Dot, Dodds, Dods and others.

First found in Cheshire, where they held a family seat from very ancient times, some say well before the Norman Conquest and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Dodds research. Another 227 words(16 lines of text) covering the years 1671, 1743, 1693, 1719, 1717, 1719, 1729, 1777 and are included under the topic Early Dodds History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 117 words(8 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Dodds Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Dodds family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 135 words(10 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Many people from Wales joined the general migration to North America in the 19th and 20th centuries, searching for land, work, and freedom. Like the many other immigrants from the British Isles, they made a significant contribution to the development of Canada and the United States. The Welsh and their descendents added a rich cultural tradition to the newly developed towns, cities, and villages. An investigation of the immigration and passenger lists has revealed a number of people bearing the name Dodds:

Dodds Settlers in United States in the 17th Century


  • John Dodds, who arrived in Virginia in 1607
  • Thomas Dodds, who landed in Maryland in 1674
  • John Dodds settled in Barbados in 1685

Dodds Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • Elizabeth Dodds settled in Charles Town [Charleston], South Carolina 1767
  • William Dodds, aged 29, landed in New York in 1775
  • William Dodds arrived in New York in 1775
  • David Dodds, who arrived in America in 1795

Dodds Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • James Dodds, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1804
  • Robert Dodds, who landed in Maryland in 1810
  • Charles Dodds, who landed in Maryland in 1826
  • Walter Dodds, aged 22, arrived in New York, NY in 1893

Dodds Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • George Dodds, Scottish convict from Edinburgh, who was transported aboard the "Albion" on September 21, 1826, settling in New South Wales, Australia
  • Alexander Dodds, aged 22, arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Palmyra" in 1839
  • Martha Dodds, aged 28, a servant, arrived in South Australia in 1855 aboard the ship "Norman"

Dodds Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • Thomas Dodds, aged 39, a cabinet maker, arrived in Port Nicholson aboard the ship "Lady Nugent" in 1841
  • Mary Dodds, aged 40, arrived in Port Nicholson aboard the ship "Lady Nugent" in 1841
  • James Dodds, aged 20, a cabinet maker, arrived in Port Nicholson aboard the ship "Lady Nugent" in 1841
  • Mary Ann Dodds, aged 16, a servant, arrived in Port Nicholson aboard the ship "Lady Nugent" in 1841
  • William Dodds, aged 14, a labourer, arrived in Port Nicholson aboard the ship "Lady Nugent" in 1841


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  • Warren Baby Dodds (1898-1959), American jazz musician
  • John M. Dodds (1892-1940), American jazz clarinetist
  • Dr. J Colin Dodds, President of Saint Mary's University, Halifax
  • Eric Robertson Dodds (1893-1973), Irish classical scholar
  • Norman Noel Dodds, British Labour Co-operative politician
  • George Dodds, Newspaper Publisher
  • Harold Dodds, President of Princeton University
  • Alfred Amédée Dodds (1842-1922), French soldier
  • William "Billy" Dodds (b. 1969), former Scottish professional footballer
  • Louis Bartholomew Dodds (b. 1986), English footballer

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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: In copia cautus
Motto Translation: Careful amid plenty.

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  1. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds. . Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-005-8).
  2. 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).
  3. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of England and Wales. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1971. Print.
  4. Ingram, Rev. James. Translator Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 1823. Print.
  5. Thirsk, Joan ed. Et. Al. The Agrarian History of England and Wales. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 7 Volumes. Print.
  6. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
  7. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  8. Matthews, John. Matthews' American Armoury and Blue Book. London: John Matthews, 1911. 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. 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 Dodds Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Dodds 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 24 November 2014 at 11:17.

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