Show ContentsWaldo History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The German state of Bavaria is the ancestral home of the Waldo family. Waldo is a local name. Waldo is a name for someone who lived in or near the woods.

Early Origins of the Waldo family

The surname Waldo was first found in the Franconian-Bavarian border, where the name emerged in mediaeval times as one of the notable families of the region. From the 13th century the surname was identified with the great social and economic evolution which made this territory a landmark contributor to the development of the nation. Indeed, this family is known to be one of the oldest noble families in all of Germany, as well as one of the largest landowners. They originate from their ancestral castle named Waldau which lies in northern Bavaria on the border to Franconia. Because of this proximity to Franconia, family members were listed in both Bavarian and Franconian chronicles of chivalry. Besides the castle Waldau, the family owned the castles Pleystein (Bleistein) and Waldthurn in Bavaria. In the 10th century the family extended into the Lausitz (Lusatia) after the Serbs of this region were conquered by Kaiser Heinrich I. They built the castle Waldau in the Upper-Lausitz three miles from Goerlitz. Without a doubt, the most famous of the family in early times was Peter Waldo, Valdo, Valdes, or Waldes (c. 1140 - c. 1205), the founder of the Waldensians, an early Christian spiritual movement of the Middle Ages.

Early History of the Waldo family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Waldo research. Another 143 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1352, 1413, 1700, 1714, 1735, 1742, 1754 and 1801 are included under the topic Early Waldo History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Waldo Spelling Variations

Many cultural groups lived in the German states in medieval times. Each had its own dialect and traditions, and unique variations of popular names. Low German, which is similar to contemporary Dutch, was spoken in Westphalia. German names are characterized by additions such as regional suffixes and phrases that tell something about the origin or background of its original bearer. Further contributing to the variation in German names was the fact that there were no spelling rules in medieval times: scribes recorded names according to their sound. The recorded spelling variations of Waldo include Waldau, Waldauer, Waldov, Waldauw, Waldowe, Waldow, Waldo (English), Waldaw, Walde, Zumwalt, Zumwald, Zumwalde and many more.

Early Notables of the Waldo family

Prominent among members of the name Waldo in this period include Johann von Waldau, who was the bishop of Alt-Brandenburg in 1413. Sigismund Rudolph von Waldau, the Lord of Gottberg and Haselbusch, died in 1735 as a Prussian major general and chief of the regiment "von Waldau", while Arnold von Waldau died in 1742 as Governor of Breslau. Among the many members of this family who served as commanders...
Another 68 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Waldo Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Waldo Ranking

In the United States, the name Waldo is the 6,888th most popular surname with an estimated 4,974 people with that name. [1]

United States Waldo migration to the United States +

European migration to North America began in the mid-17th century and continued unabated until the mid-20th. Many Bavarians made the long trip to escape poverty or persecution based on their religious beliefs. The chance for tenant farmers to own their own land was also a major drawing card. They settled all across the United States in Pennsylvania, Texas, New York, Illinois, and California. Many came to Canada also, settling in Ontario and the prairie provinces. Analysis of immigration records has shown some of the first Waldos to arrive in North America, and among them were:

Waldo Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Richard Waldo, who landed in Jamestown, Va in 1608 aboard the ship "Second Supply", died in 1609 [2]
  • Cornelius Waldo, who landed in Ipswich, Massachusetts in 1654 [2]
  • John Waldo, who arrived in New England in 1675 [2]

Canada Waldo migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Waldo Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Volney Waldo, who arrived in Canada in 1831

Contemporary Notables of the name Waldo (post 1700) +

  • Janet Marie Waldo (1920-2016), American radio, television and voice actor, best known for her voice of Judy Jetson, Nancy in Shazzan, Penelope Pitstop, and Josie in Josie and the Pussycats
  • Samuel Lovett Waldo (1783-1861), American painter
  • Samuel Waldo (1695-1759), American merchant, land speculator, soldier and political figure in Massachusetts
  • Rhinelander Waldo (1877-1927), former U.S. Army Captain who served as the Fire and later the Police Commissioner of New York City in the early to mid 1910s
  • John B. Waldo (1844-1907), jurist and conservationist in Oregon of the United States
  • Janet Waldo (b. 1924), American actress and voice artist
  • Dwight Waldo (1913-2000), American political scientist
  • Daniel Waldo (1800-1880), American legislator in the Provisional Government of Oregon, eponym of Waldo Hills, Oregon
  • Daniel Waldo (1762-1864), American clergyman
  • Professor Clarence Abiathar Waldo (1852-1926), American mathematics professor best known for his role in the Indiana Pi Bill affair
  • ... (Another 19 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

  1. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  2. 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) on Facebook