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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2016


Woodward is a name that was carried to England in the great wave of migration from Normandy following the Norman Conquest of 1066. It is a name 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. [1] Another source claims the name was from 'a woodward,' a forest officer who looked after wood and vert. [2]

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The surname Woodward was first found in Essex where Commander Wadard [3] was granted lands 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. Other early listings of the name include: Sewhal le wuderward who was in the Pipe Rolls of Hampshire in 1208; Ralph de (sic) Wodeward who was listed in the Pipe Rolls of Hertfordshire in 1230; and Robert Wodeward who was listed in the Subsidy Rolls of Sussex in 1296. [1] The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 list: Aylward le Wodeward in Oxfordshire; and Adam le Wodewarde in Somerset. [2]

The English language only became standardized in the last few centuries. For that reason, spelling variations are common among many Anglo-Norman names. The shape of the English language was frequently changed with the introduction of elements of Norman French, Latin, and other European languages; even the spelling of literate people's names were subsequently modified. Woodward has been recorded under many different variations, including Woodward, Woodard, Woodwards, Woodyard, Wadard and many more.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Woodward 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 Woodward History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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

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To escape the uncertainty of the political and religious uncertainty found in England, many English families boarded ships at great expense to sail for the colonies held by Britain. The passages were expensive, though, and the boats were unsafe, overcrowded, and ridden with disease. Those who were hardy and lucky enough to make the passage intact were rewarded with land, opportunity, and social environment less prone to religious and political persecution. Many of these families went on to be important contributors to the young nations of Canada and the United States where they settled. Woodwards were some of the first of the immigrants to arrive in North America:

Woodward Settlers in United States in the 17th Century


  • Christopher Woodward settled in Virginia in 1620
  • Christopher Woodward, who arrived in Virginia in 1620
  • Henry and Mary Woodward settled in Virginia in 1623 along with Richard
  • Henery Woodward, who landed in Virginia in 1624-1625
  • Mary Woodward, who arrived in Jamestown, Va in 1624


Woodward Settlers in United States in the 18th Century


  • John Woodward, who arrived in Boston, Massachusetts in 1712
  • Joseph Woodward, who arrived in Virginia in 1714
  • Samuel Woodward, who landed in America in 1760-1763

Woodward Settlers in United States in the 19th Century


  • Charles Woodward, who landed in New York in 1822
  • George Woodward, who arrived in New York in 1835
  • Thomas Woodward, who arrived in Mississippi in 1848
  • Jonah Woodward, who landed in Nebraska in 1870

Woodward Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century


  • John Woodward, aged 35, a merchant, arrived in Saint John, NB in 1834 aboard the barque "Frederick" from Liverpool
  • Dewitt Clinton Woodward, who landed in Canada in 1840
  • Jessee Smith Woodward, who arrived in Canada in 1840
  • Joseph Woodward, an English youngster, first settler at Boat Harbour, Newfoundland in 1860

Woodward Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century


  • Ann Woodward, aged 19, arrived in South Australia in 1849 aboard the ship "Brankenmoor"
  • John Woodward arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Branken Moor" in 1849
  • C. Woodward arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Calphurnia" in 1849
  • Emma Woodward arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Jenny Lind" in 1850
  • William Woodward arrived in Adelaide, Australia aboard the ship "Hibernia" in 1851


Woodward Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century


  • J Woodward landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840 aboard the ship Bolton
  • Mr Woodward landed in Wellington, New Zealand in 1840 aboard the ship Duke of Roxburgh
  • Samuel Woodward, aged 27, a carpenter, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Duke of Roxburgh" in 1840
  • Rose Woodward, aged 17, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand aboard the ship "Duke of Roxburgh" in 1840
  • Margaret Woodward, aged 27, a dressmaker, arrived in Nelson aboard the ship "Olympus" in 1842


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  • Commander (USN) Neil W. Woodward III (b. 1962), American former NASA astronaut
  • Robert Burns Woodward (1917-1979), American Nobel Prize-winning organic chemist
  • Comer Vann Woodward (1908-1999), American historian
  • Bob Woodward (b. 1943), American journalist and author, assistant managing editor of The Washington Post
  • Mr. John Wesley Woodward (d. 1912), aged 32, English Second Class passenger from Oxford, Oxfordshire who sailed aboard the RMS Titanic and died in the sinking
  • Sir Arthur Smith Woodward (1864-1944), English palaeontologist
  • Edward Albert Arthur Woodward (1930-2009), English stage, film and television actor and singer
  • Mr. K A Woodward, British Petty Officer Airman, who sailed into battle on the HMS Repulse and survived the sinking
  • Lieutenant-General Sir Eric Winslow Woodward (1899-1967), Australian Commander in Chief, Eastern Command from 1953 to 1957
  • Admiral Sir John Forster Woodward GBE, KCB (b. 1932), English Navy officer and former Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff

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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. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  2. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  3. ^ 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, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
  2. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  3. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  4. Markale, J. Celtic Civilization. London: Gordon & Cremonesi, 1976. Print.
  5. Bolton, Charles Knowles. Bolton's American Armory. Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964. Print.
  6. Burke, Sir Bernard. Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Peerage and Baronetage, The Privy Council, Knightage and Compainonage. London: Burke Publishing, 1921. Print.
  7. Dunkling, Leslie. Dictionary of Surnames. Toronto: Collins, 1998. Print. (ISBN 0004720598).
  8. Ingram, Rev. James. Translator Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 1823. Print.
  9. Skordas, Guest. Ed. The Early Settlers of Maryland an Index to Names or Immigrants Complied from Records of Land Patents 1633-1680 in the Hall of Records Annapolis, Maryland. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1968. Print.
  10. Shaw, William A. Knights of England A Complete Record from the Earliest Time to the Present Day of the Knights of all the Orders of Chivalry in England, Scotland, Ireland and Knights Bachelors 2 Volumes. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print. (ISBN 080630443X).
  11. ...

The Woodward Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Woodward 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 5 April 2016 at 14:35.

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