Underwood History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Underwood is a name of ancient Anglo-Saxon origin and comes from a family once having lived in a forest, below a forest on a hillside, or in either of the settlements called Underwood in Derbyshire or Nottinghamshire. The surname Underwood 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 Underwood family

The surname Underwood 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 Underwood family

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

Underwood Spelling Variations

The English language only became standardized in the last few centuries; therefore, spelling variations are common among early Anglo-Saxon names. As the form of the English language changed, even the spelling of literate people's names evolved. Underwood has been recorded under many different variations, including Underwood, Underwoode and others.

Early Notables of the Underwood family (pre 1700)

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


United States Underwood migration to the United States +

For many English families, the political and religious disarray that shrouded England made the far away New World an attractive prospect. On cramped disease-ridden ships, thousands migrated to those British colonies that would eventually become Canada and the United States. Those hardy settlers that survived the journey often went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations in which they landed. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Underwood or a variant listed above:

Underwood Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • James Underwood, who settled in Salem, Massachusetts in 1630
  • Casander Underwood, who landed in Virginia in 1633 [5]
  • Martin Underwood and his wife Martha settled in Boston Massachusetts in 1634
  • Martin Underwood, aged 38, who arrived in America in 1634 [5]
  • Robert Underwood, aged 30, who landed in Virginia in 1635 [5]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)
Underwood Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Samuel Underwood, who landed in Virginia in 1704 [5]
  • James Underwood, who landed in Virginia in 1705 [5]
  • Abraham Underwood, who arrived in Virginia in 1714 [5]
  • Anthony Underwood, who arrived in New England in 1720 [5]
Underwood Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • William Underwood, who landed in America in 1810 [5]
  • Edwin Underwood, who landed in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1879 [5]

Canada Underwood migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Underwood Settlers in Canada in the 18th Century
  • Mr. John Underwood U.E. (b. 1747) born in Rhode Island, USA from Newport, Rhode Island, USA who settled in Shediac, Westmoreland County, New Brunswick c. 1783 passenger aboard the Union Transport was a Farmer, he died in 1848 [6]
  • Mr. Alexander Underwood U.E. who settled in Didgequash, Charlotte County, New Brunswick c. 1784 he served in the 74th Highlanders [6]

Australia Underwood migration to Australia +

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

Underwood Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

New Zealand Underwood migration to New Zealand +

Emigration to New Zealand followed in the footsteps of the European explorers, such as Captain Cook (1769-70): first came sealers, whalers, missionaries, and traders. By 1838, the British New Zealand Company had begun buying land from the Maori tribes, and selling it to settlers, and, after the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, many British families set out on the arduous six month journey from Britain to Aotearoa to start a new life. Early immigrants include:

Underwood Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Underwood, British settler travelling from London aboard the ship "Mandarin" arriving in Wellington, New Zealand on 21st May 1841 [12]
  • Mrs. Underwood, British settler travelling from London with 3 children aboard the ship "Mandarin" arriving in Wellington, New Zealand on 21st May 1841 [12]
  • Thomas Underwood, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1841 aboard the ship Mandarin
  • Thomas Underwood, who arrived in Port Nicholson aboard the ship "Mandarin" in 1841
  • Thomas Underwood, who landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1842 aboard the ship "Bolton"
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Contemporary Notables of the name Underwood (post 1700) +

  • John Thomas Underwood (1857-1937), American founder of Underwood Typewriters, New York City in 1895, by 1939, Underwood had produced five million machines
  • George Underwood (1883-1943), American winner of an Olympic gold medal for athletics at the 1904 games
  • James Holland "Jim" Underwood II (1946-2013), American politician who served in the Guam Legislature 1975-1984
  • Blair Erwin Underwood (b. 1964), American television, film, and stage actor and director, best known for his role on the NBC legal drama L.A. Law
  • Captain Gordon Waite Underwood (1910-1978), United States Navy Captain, recipient of the Navy Cross, eponym of the USS Underwood (FFG-36)
  • Brittany Underwood (b. 1988), American actress from New Jersey, best known for her role on the daytime soap opera One Life to Live
  • Horace Grant Underwood (1859-1916), American Presbyterian missionary, educator, and translator, brother of John Thomas Underwood
  • Ruth Underwood (b. 1946), American retired professional musician best known for her work in Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention from 1967 to 1977
  • General George Vernon Underwood (1913-1984), Commander in Chief, United States Southern Command (USCINCSO) from 1971 to 1973
  • Captain Edmund Beardsley Underwood (1853-1928), acting-Governor of American Samoa from 1903 to 1905
  • ... (Another 99 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Halifax Explosion
  • Mrs. Emma B  Underwood, Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the explosion [13]
  • Miss Margaret  Underwood (1913-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the explosion [13]
  • Mr. Benjamin  Underwood (1890-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the explosion [13]
  • Miss Mildred  Underwood (1917-1917), Canadian resident from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada who died in the explosion [13]
HMS Hood
  • Mr. John Underwood (b. 1921), English Stoker 2nd Class serving for the Royal Navy from Stretford, Lancashire, England, who sailed into battle and died in the sinking [14]
HMS Repulse
  • Mr. Harry Underwood, British Coder, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and survived the sinking [15]


The Underwood 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.


Suggested Readings for the name Underwood +

  • 514 Isaac W. Underwood: His Ancestors and Descendants by Willie Bruce Underwood, The Underwood Families of America by Lucien Marcus Underwood.

  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)
  5. ^ 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)
  6. ^ Rubincam, Milton. The Old United Empire Loyalists List. Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 1976. (Originally published as; United Empire Loyalists. The Centennial of the Settlement of Upper Canada. Rose Publishing Company, 1885.) ISBN 0-8063-0331-X
  7. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) ORLEANA 1840. Retrieved from http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1840Orleana.htm
  8. ^ State Library of Queensland. (Retrieved 2015, January 8) Anna Maria voyage to Van Diemen's Land or Port Phillip, Australia in 1848 with 190 passengers. Retrieved from http://www.convictrecords.com.au/ships/anna-maria/1848
  9. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) LYSANDER 1850. Retrieved http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1850Lysander.htm
  10. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) SULTANA 1851. Retrieved http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1851Sultana.htm
  11. ^ State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) The barque OREGON, 521 tons - 1851 voyage to South Australia. Retrieved http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/BSA/1851Oregon.htm
  12. ^ New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from http://www.yesteryears.co.nz/shipping/passlist.html
  13. ^ Halifax Explosion Book of Remembrance | Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. (Retrieved 2014, June 23) . Retrieved from https://maritimemuseum.novascotia.ca/what-see-do/halifax-explosion/halifax-explosion-book-remembrance
  14. ^ H.M.S. Hood Association-Battle Cruiser Hood: Crew Information - H.M.S. Hood Rolls of Honour, Men Lost in the Sinking of H.M.S. Hood, 24th May 1941. (Retrieved 2016, July 15) . Retrieved from http://www.hmshood.com/crew/memorial/roh_24may41.htm
  15. ^ HMS Repulse Crew members. (Retrieved 2014, April 9) . Retrieved from http://www.forcez-survivors.org.uk/biographies/listrepulsecrew.html


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