Show ContentsWoodruff History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Woodruff is of Anglo-Saxon origin and came from when the family lived 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 Woodruff family

The surname Woodruff 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 Woodruff family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Woodruff 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 Woodruff History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Woodruff Spelling Variations

It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, early Anglo-Saxon surnames like Woodruff are characterized by many spelling variations. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages, even literate people changed the spelling of their names. Scribes and monks in the Middle Ages spelled names they sounded, so it is common to find several variations that refer to a single person. The variations of the name Woodruff include: Woodrow, Woderove, Woodrof, Woodrofe, Wodrow, Woodroffe, Woodruff, Woodrufe and many more.

Early Notables of the Woodruff 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. " 5Benjamin 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 Woodruff Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Woodruff Ranking

In the United States, the name Woodruff is the 1,180th most popular surname with an estimated 24,870 people with that name. 6

Ireland Migration of the Woodruff family to Ireland

Some of the Woodruff 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 Woodruff migration to the United States +

Many English families tired of political and religious strife left Britain for the new colonies in North America. Although the trip itself offered no relief - conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and many travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute - these immigrants believed the opportunities that awaited them were worth the risks. Once in the colonies, many of the families did indeed prosper and, in turn, made significant contributions to the culture and economies of the growing colonies. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families has revealed a number of immigrants bearing the name Woodruff or a variant listed above:

Woodruff Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • John Woodruff, who arrived in Lynn, Massachusetts in 1640
  • Matthew Woodruff, who arrived in Hartford, CT in 1640
  • John Woodruff, who landed in Virginia in 1664 7
  • Thomas and Edith Woodruff, and their five children, who settled in New Jersey in 1679
  • Joseph Woodruff, who landed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1682 7
Woodruff Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • James Woodruff, a bonded passenger who arrived in America in 1742
Woodruff Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • L Woodruff, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851 7
  • S Woodruff, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851 7
  • T P Woodruff, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1851 7
  • James Woodruff, who arrived in Indiana in 1854 7

Australia Woodruff migration to Australia +

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

Woodruff Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • William Woodruff, who arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Constance" in 1848 8

Contemporary Notables of the name Woodruff (post 1700) +

  • Paul Bestor Woodruff (1943-2023), American classicist, professor of philosophy, and was dean at The University of Texas at Austin
  • Teeuwynn Woodruff (1968-2023), American writer and game designer who worked primarily on role-playing games, TV writing and interviewing, and trading card games
  • Robert Winship Woodruff (1889-1985), American businessman, President of The Coca-Cola Company (1923-1954)
  • Charles Woodruff, American Olympic sliver medalist for archery in the 1904 games
  • Laura Woodruff, American Olympic gold medalist for archery at the 1904 Summer Games
  • John Youie Woodruff (1915-2007), American winner of the 800 metres at the 1936 Summer Olympics
  • Chris Woodruff (b. 1973), American former professional tennis player
  • Timothy Lester Woodruff (1897-1902), Lieutenant Governor of New York from 1897 to 1902
  • Brigadier General Carle Augustus Woodruff (1841-1913), American Army officer awarded the Medal of Honor
  • Hale Woodruff (1900-1980), American painter
  • ... (Another 4 notables are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Suggested Readings for the name Woodruff +

  • Tall Trees in the Forest: the Woodruff Family of Virginia, Alabama, and Missouri by Mrs. Howard Woodruff.
  • Woodruff-Rardin Families by Audrey Lee Wagner Woodruff.

  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. State Records of South Australia. (Retrieved 2010, November 5) CONSTANCE - 1848. Retrieved from on Facebook