Underwater History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancient roots of the Underwater family name are in the Anglo-Saxon culture. The name Underwater comes 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 Underwater 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 Underwater family

The surname Underwater 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 Underwater family

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

Underwater Spelling Variations

One relatively recent invention that did much to standardize English spelling was the printing press. However, before its invention even the most literate people recorded their names according to sound rather than spelling. The spelling variations under which the name Underwater has appeared include Underwood, Underwoode and others.

Early Notables of the Underwater family (pre 1700)

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

Migration of the Underwater family

At this time, the shores of the New World beckoned many English families that felt that the social climate in England was oppressive and lacked opportunity for change. Thousands left England at great expense in ships that were overcrowded and full of disease. A great portion of these settlers never survived the journey and even a greater number arrived sick, starving, and without a penny. The survivors, however, were often greeted with greater opportunity than they could have experienced back home. These English settlers made significant contributions to those colonies that would eventually become the United States and Canada. An examination of early immigration records and passenger ship lists revealed that people bearing the name Underwater arrived in North America very early: 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 Underwater 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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