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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2015

Where did the English Woodard family come from? What is the English Woodard family crest and coat of arms? When did the Woodard family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Woodard family history?

The ancestors of the Woodard family brought their name to England in the wave of migration after the Norman Conquest of 1066. The name Woodard is for a forester. Looking back even further, we found the name was originally derived from the Old English words wode, meaning wood, and ward, meaning guardian or keeper.


Norman surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are largely due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England, as well as the official court languages of Latin and French, also had pronounced influences on the spelling of surnames. Since medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings. The name has been spelled Woodward, Woodard, Woodwards, Woodyard, Wadard and many more.

First found in Essex where Commander Wadard was granted lands [1] by King William for his assistance at the Battle of Hastings. The first recorded scion of the family, (Falaise Roll,p 112,) Commander Wadard assembled King William's army at Saint Valery in Normandy for the invasion of England. It was he, Wadard, who advised King William of the Saxon King Harold's approach from the north at Hastings. His descendents, Henry and Simon Wadard, were still Lords of their respective Manors in Essex in 1278.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Woodard research. Another 217 words(16 lines of text) covering the years 1290, 1086, 1066, 1490, 1590, 1675, 1640, 1657, 1712, 1698 and 1735 are included under the topic Early Woodard History in all our PDF Extended History products.


Another 75 words(5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Woodard Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.


Many English families emigrated to North American colonies in order to escape the political chaos in Britain at this time. Unfortunately, many English families made the trip to the New World under extremely harsh conditions. Overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the stormy Atlantic. Despite these hardships, many of the families prospered and went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the United States and Canada. Early North American immigration records have revealed a number of people bearing the name Woodard or a variant listed above:

Woodard Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Joseph Woodard, who arrived in Maryland in 1666
  • Thomas Woodard, who arrived in Maryland in 1673
  • Mary Woodard, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1682
  • William Woodard, who landed in America in 1697

Woodard Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • Eliza Woodard, who arrived in Virginia in 1714

Woodard Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Luke Woodard, aged 64, who landed in America, in 1896

Woodard Settlers in United States in the 20th Century

  • Mrs. Graham Woodard, aged 42, who landed in America, in 1903
  • Graham Woodard, aged 24, who emigrated to America, in 1903
  • James C. Woodard, who landed in America, in 1904
  • Esther Woodard, aged 52, who settled in America, in 1908
  • Charles A. Woodard, aged 35, who landed in America, in 1911


  • Alfre Ette Woodard (b. 1952), American actress who has been nominated for an Academy Award, won four Emmy Awards, three SAG Awards and one Golden Globe Award
  • Frederick Augustus Woodard (1854-1915), American politician, Democratic U.S. Congressman from North Carolina (1893-1897)
  • Lynette Woodard (b. 1959), retired American basketball player who made history by becoming the first female member of the Harlem Globetrotters
  • Milton P. "Milt" Woodard (1911-1996), American sports writer and sport executive, President of the American Football League
  • Ray Woodard (1937-2009), American longtime soccer coach at Indian Springs School in Alabama, nicknamed the "father of soccer in Alabama"
  • Steve Larry Woodard (b. 1975), American Major League Baseball former starting pitcher who played from 1997 to 2003
  • Nathaniel Woodard (1811-1891), English priest in the Church of England who founded 11 schools for the middle classes throughout England, founder of Woodard Corporation and Woodard Schools, a group of Anglican schools
  • Miss May Florrie Woodard (1897-1914), Canadian Third Class Passenger from Toronto, Ontario, Canada who was traveling aboard the Empress of Ireland and died in the sinking on May 29th 1914
  • Mr. Walter A Woodard (1867-1914), Canadian Third Class Passenger from Toronto, Ontario, Canada who was traveling aboard the Empress of Ireland and died in the sinking on May 29th 1914
  • Mrs. Eliza Woodard (1863-1914), née Butcher Canadian Third Class Passenger from Toronto, Ontario, Canada who was traveling aboard the Empress of Ireland and died in the sinking on May 29th 1914


  • Ancestors of Dr. Franklin Columbus Woodard and his Descendants, 1757-1982 by Jewell Daphne Gerron Woodard.

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: Virtus semper viret
Motto Translation: Virtue is always flourishing.


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  1. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)

Other References

  1. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  2. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  3. Chadwick, Nora Kershaw and J.X.W.P Corcoran. The Celts. London: Penguin, 1790. Print. (ISBN 0140212116).
  4. Virkus, Frederick A. Ed. Immigrant Ancestors A List of 2,500 Immigrants to America Before 1750. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1964. Print.
  5. Cook, Chris. English Historical Facts 1603-1688. London: MacMillan, 1980. Print.
  6. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  7. Thirsk, Joan. The Agrarian History of England and Wales. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 7 Volumes. Print.
  8. Bradford, William. History of Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 Edited by Samuel Eliot Morrison 2 Volumes. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. Print.
  9. Reaney P.H and R.M. Wilson. A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X).
  10. The Norman People and Their Existing Descendants in the British Dominions and the United States Of America. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-8063-0636-X).
  11. ...

The Woodard Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Woodard Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 21 February 2015 at 18:47.

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