Onderwod History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Onderwod is of Anglo-Saxon origin and came from when the family lived in a forest, below a forest on a hillside, or in either of the settlements called Underwood in Derbyshire or Nottinghamshire. The surname Onderwod belongs to both the category of habitation names, which are derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads, and the class of topographic surnames, which were given to people who resided near physical features such as hills, streams, churches, or types of trees.

Early Origins of the Onderwod family

The surname Onderwod was first found in Derbyshire at Underwood, a liberty, in the parish of Ashbourn, hundred of Wirksworth. Underwood is also a hamlet, in the parish of Selston, union of Basford in Nottinghamshire, but it is the former from where the family originated. [1] Literally the place names mean "place within or near a wood," from the Old English "under" + "wudu." [2]

However, we must look to Suffolk for the first records of the surname for it is there in 1188 William de Underwode was found. A few years later in Yorkshire, William Underwude de Clokton was listed in the Assize Rolls of 1219. William Under the Wode was listed in the Subsidy Rolls of Staffordshire in 1332. [3]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 had two listings: John Underwode in Oxfordshire; and Hugh Underwod in Cambridgeshire. Robertus Vndrewode was listed in a Latin form of then name in the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379. [4]

Early History of the Onderwod family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Onderwod research. Another 75 words (5 lines of text) covering the years 163 and 1632 are included under the topic Early Onderwod History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Onderwod Spelling Variations

It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, early Anglo-Saxon surnames like Onderwod 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 Onderwod include: Underwood, Underwoode and others.

Early Notables of the Onderwod family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Onderwod Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Onderwod family

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 Onderwod or a variant listed above: James Underwood settled in Salem, Massachusetts in 1630; Giles Underwood settled in Virginia in 1663; Martin Underwood and his wife Martha settled in Boston Massachusetts in 1634.



The Onderwod Motto +

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: Omnes arbusta juvant
Motto Translation: Groves (Underwood) delight all men.


  1. ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  3. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  4. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)


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