Show ContentsSellwood History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Early Origins of the Sellwood family

The surname Sellwood was first found in Somerset at Selwood which dates back to c. 894 where it was listed as Seluudu and probably meant "wood where swallow-trees grow." [1]

The ancient Selwood Forest ran approximately between Gillingham in Dorset and Chippenham in Wiltshire. Ælfgar of Selwood was a saint venerated at a chapel in the forest of Selwood.

One source notes the name denotes a "dweller at Selwood (the forest on the borders of Wilts and Somerset), the Anglo-Saxon Seal wudu (Anglo- Saxon Chronicles, A.D. 894), Seal wydu (A.D. 878) = apparently the 'Willow-Wood' [Old English seal, a willow or sallow]; but Asser, in his Life of Ælfred, translated Seluudu as Silva Magna in Latin and Coit Maur (mod. Coed Mawr) in Welsh, i.e. 'Great Wood,' as if the first element of the Anglo-Saxon wood-name were the Old English sél, ' good,' and its meaning could be extended to signify 'great.'" [2]

Alternatively, the name could have derived from Selworthy, also in Somerset, a small village and civil parish in the hundred of Carhampton which dates back to the Domesday Book where it was listed as Seleuurde and literally meant "enclosure or settlement near sallow-trees" from the Old English sele + worth [1]. At that time the lands were held by Ralph de Limesy.

Early feudal rolls provided the king of the time a method of cataloguing holdings for taxation, but today they provide a glimpse into the wide surname spellings in use at that time. John Selewode was recorded in 1189 and later Richard de Selwode was listed in London in 1339. [3]

Early History of the Sellwood family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Sellwood research. Another 127 words (9 lines of text) covering the years 1189, 1339, 1700 and 1773 are included under the topic Early Sellwood History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Sellwood Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Silwood, Sillwood, Selwood, Sellwood, Sellworthy, Silworthy and many more.

Early Notables of the Sellwood family (pre 1700)

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

United States Sellwood migration to the United States +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Sellwood Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Abigall Sellwood, who settled in Virginia sometime between 1663 and 1679
  • William Sellwood, who settled in America in 1685
Sellwood Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Sarah Sellwood, who settled in Maryland in 1719
Sellwood Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Ann Sellwood, who arrived in New York in 1845
  • Charles Sellwood, who settled in New York in 1845
  • Enos George Sellwood, who landed in New York in 1845 [4]
  • George Sellwood, who arrived in New York in 1845 [4]
  • Wm. E. Sellwood, who settled in Nebraska in 1878

Australia Sellwood migration to Australia +

Emigration to Australia followed the First Fleets of convicts, tradespeople and early settlers. Early immigrants include:

Sellwood Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Richard Sellwood, (b. 1814), aged 23, English convict who was convicted in Wiltshire, England for 7 years, transported aboard the "Charles Kerr" on 6th June 1837, arriving in New South Wales, Australia, he died in 1837 [5]
  • Mr. Joseph Sellwood, (b. 1841), aged 24, Cornish cook travelling aboard the ship "St. Hilda" arriving in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia on 13th January 1865 [6]

Contemporary Notables of the name Sellwood (post 1700) +

  • John Sellwood (d. 1892), English-born, American pioneer Episcopal minister who settled in Oregon
  • Joe Sellwood (1911-2007), New Zealand born, Australian rules football player who played from 1930 through 1945

  1. Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  2. Harrison, Henry, Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary Baltimore: Geneological Publishing Company, 2013. Print
  3. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  4. Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  5. Convict Records of Australia. Retrieved 1st February 2021 from
  6. Cornwall Online Parish Clerks. (Retrieved 2018, April 19). Emigrants to Australia NSW 1860 -88 [PDF]. Retrieved from on Facebook