Gaiword History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
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Early Origins of the Gaiword family
The surname Gaiword was first found in Norfolk where they held a family seat as Lords of the Manor. After the Battle of Hastings in 1066, William, Duke of Normandy, having prevailed over King Harold, granted most of Britain to his many victorious Barons. It was not uncommon to find a Baron, or a Bishop, with 60 or more Lordships scattered throughout the country. These he gave to his sons, nephews and other junior lines of his family and they became known as under-tenants. They adopted the Norman system of surnames which identified the under-tenant with his holdings so as to distinguish him from the senior stem of the family. After many rebellious wars between his Barons, Duke William, commissioned a census of all England to determine in 1086, settling once and for all, who held which land. He called the census the Domesday Book,  indicating that those holders registered would hold the land until the end of time. Hence, conjecturally, the surname is descended from the tenant of the lands of Gaywood, held by Bishop William, who was recorded in the Domesday Book census of 1086.
Early History of the Gaiword family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Gaiword research. Another 65 words (5 lines of text) covering the years 1206, 1273, 1366, 1650 and 1680 are included under the topic Early Gaiword History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Gaiword Spelling Variations
Anglo-Norman names tend to be marked by an enormous number of spelling variations. This is largely due to the fact that Old and Middle English lacked any spelling rules when Norman French was introduced in the 11th century. The languages of the English courts at that time were French and Latin. These various languages mixed quite freely in the evolving social milieu. The final element of this mix is that medieval scribes spelled words according to their sounds rather than any definite rules, so a name was often spelled in as many different ways as the number of documents it appeared in. The name was spelled Gaywood, Gaywode, Gaiwood, Gawood, Kaywood, Caywood, Geywood and many more.
Early Notables of the Gaiword family (pre 1700)
Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Richard Gaywood (fl. 1650-1680), an English engraver noted for his etchings of birds and animals and his portraits. He "was...
Another 27 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Gaiword Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Gaiword family
Because of the political and religious discontent in England, families began to migrate abroad in enormous numbers. Faced with persecution and starvation at home, the open frontiers and generally less oppressive social environment of the New World seemed tantalizing indeed to many English people. The trip was difficult, and not all made it unscathed, but many of those who did get to Canada and the United States made important contributions to the young nations in which they settled. Some of the first North American settlers with Gaiword name or one of its variants: the name represented in many forms and recorded from the mid 17th century in the great migration from Europe. Migrants settled in the eastern seaboard from Newfoundland, to Maine, to Virginia, the Carolinas, and to the islands..
- Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)