Show ContentsWoodrow History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancestors of the bearers of the Woodrow family name are thought have lived in ancient Anglo-Saxon England. They were first found in Yorkshire. Their name, however, derives from the woodrofe plant, a white flower whose leaves bear a sweet scent. The name indicates that the original bearer lived in an area in which the woodrofe was common. [1]

Alternatively, the name could have been derived from "Woodreve, the woodman, the forester of the Midland Counties." [1] [2]

Early Origins of the Woodrow family

The surname Woodrow was first found in Yorkshire where they held a family seat at Bolton upon Dearne, before and after the Norman Conquest in 1066. "The place became the residence of several families of some consideration, and seems to have been from early times a rich and flourishing spot." [3]

The Hundredorum Rolls or 1273 proved the wide use of the name with early spellings throughout ancient England: John Woderove, Oxfordshire; Robert Woderove, Huntingdonshire; and Henry Woderove, Lincolnshire. The Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 included and entry for Thomas Woderoue. [4]

Early History of the Woodrow family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Woodrow research. Another 98 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1551, 1554, 1574, 1638, 1646, 1656, 1660, 1669, 1672, 1679, 1685, 1711, 1734, 1766, 1768, 1803, 1807, 1821, 1824, 1830, 1841, 1851, 1852, 1855, 1856 and 1865 are included under the topic Early Woodrow History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Woodrow Spelling Variations

Until quite recently, the English language has lacked a definite system of spelling rules. Consequently, Anglo-Saxon surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. Changes in Anglo-Saxon names were influenced by the evolution of the English language, as it incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other languages. Although Medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, so it is common to find one person referred to by several different spellings of his surname, even the most literate people varied the spelling of their own names. Variations of the name Woodrow include Woodrow, Woderove, Woodrof, Woodrofe, Wodrow, Woodroffe, Woodruff, Woodrufe and many more.

Early Notables of the Woodrow family

Notables of this surname at this time include: Robert Wodrow (1679-1734), a Scottish historian from Glasgow. He was the "second son of James Wodrow, professor of divinity in the University of Glasgow. " [5] Benjamin Woodroffe (1638-1711), was an English divine, son of the Rev. Timothy Woodroffe, born in Canditch Street, St. Mary Magdalen parish, Oxford. "He was educated at Westminster school, and was elected to Christ Church...
Another 67 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Woodrow Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Woodrow Ranking

In the United States, the name Woodrow is the 9,374th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [6]

Ireland Migration of the Woodrow family to Ireland

Some of the Woodrow family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 43 words (3 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Woodrow migration to the United States +

Searching for a better life, many English families migrated to British colonies. Unfortunately, the majority of them traveled 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 ocean. For those families that arrived safely, modest prosperity was attainable, and many went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the new colonies. Research into the origins of individual families in North America revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Woodrow or a variant listed above:

Woodrow Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Cornelius Woodrow, who arrived in Maryland in 1650 [7]
  • Joseph Woodrow, who landed in Virginia in 1651 [7]
Woodrow Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Paul Woodrow, who arrived in New York, NY in 1756 [7]
  • John Woodrow, who arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1773 [7]
Woodrow Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • James Woodrow, who landed in Savanna(h), Georgia in 1823 [7]

Australia Woodrow migration to Australia +

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

Woodrow Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century

New Zealand Woodrow 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:

Woodrow Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. Robert Woodrow, (b. 1856), aged 23, Scottish ploughman, from Dumbarton travelling from Clyde aboard the ship "Nelson" arriving in Invercargill, Southland, South Island, New Zealand on 28th August 1879 [9]
  • Mrs. Jane Woodrow, (b. 1856), aged 23, Scottish settler, from Dumbarton travelling from Clyde aboard the ship "Nelson" arriving in Invercargill, Southland, South Island, New Zealand on 28th August 1879 [9]

Contemporary Notables of the name Woodrow (post 1700) +

  • Henry Woodrow (1823-1876), English promoter of education in India, born at Norwich on 31 July 1823, the son of Henry Woodrow, a solicitor in that city [10]
  • Joash Woodrow (1927-2006), English artist
  • Mr. Paul Andrew Woodrow O.B.E., British Director of Operations for London Ambulance Service NHS Trust, was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire on 29th December 2018 for services to NHS Leadership [11]
  • Keith Woodrow (1927-1997), Scottish former Senior Superintendent of the Hong Kong Colonial Police Service
  • Arthur F. Woodrow (b. 1922), American author, retired entrepreneur, and inventor
  • Alan Donald Woodrow (b. 1952), Canadian opera singer
  • Marnie Woodrow (b. 1969), Canadian writer and editor
  • Joseph Woodrow Hatchett (1932-2021), American jurist, Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit (1996-1999)
  • Tom Woodrow Payne (1915-1974), American politician, Member of Oklahoma State House of Representatives, 1952-56; Member of Oklahoma State Senate, 1957-74 [12]
  • Frank Woodrow O’Flaherty (1918-1942), American sailor, recipient of the Navy Cross, eponym of the USS O'Flaherty (DE-340)

  1. Harrison, Henry, Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary Baltimore: Geneological Publishing Company, 2013. Print
  2. Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York: Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  3. Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  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. Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  6. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  7. 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)
  8. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 16th September 2020). Retrieved from
  9. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from
  10. Wikisource contributors. "Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900." Wikisource . Wikisource , 4 Jun. 2018. Web. 13 Feb. 2019
  11. "Birthday and New Year Honours Lists (1940 to 2019)." Issue 62507, 28 December 2018 | London Gazette, The Gazette, Dec. 2018,
  12. The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2016, January 29) . Retrieved from on Facebook