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An excerpt from archives copyright 2000 - 2016

Origins Available: English, Scottish

The name Woody came to England with the ancestors of the Woody family in the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Woody family lived in Leicestershire. Further research showed the name was derived from the Old English word wode, meaning wood, and indicates that the original bearer lived near a wood.


The surname Woody was first found in Leicester, where they held land in Thorpe Arnold, under the Earl of Leicester. They were descended from Ernald de Vosco, a Norman knight, who came to Britain with the Norman invasion of 1066. After losing these lands, the main branch of the family moved north to Dumfriesshire, Scotland where they held a family seat from about 1150.

Multitudes of spelling variations are a hallmark of Anglo Norman names. Most of these names evolved in the 11th and 12th century, in the time after the Normans introduced their own Norman French language into a country where Old and Middle English had no spelling rules and the languages of the court were French and Latin. To make matters worse, medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, so names frequently appeared differently in the various documents in which they were recorded. The name was spelled Wood, Woods, Wode, Would, Woid, Voud, Vould and others.


This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Woody research. Another 393 words (28 lines of text) covering the years 1350, 1597, 1672, 1666, 1502, 1478, 1486, 1488, 1495, 1500, 1455, 1539, 1604, 1675, 1654, 1597, 1671, 1661, 1671, 1622, 1685, 1610 and 1682 are included under the topic Early Woody History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Sir Thomas Wode KS (died 1502) was a British judge, appointed Justice of the Peace for Berkshire in 1478, was made a Serjeant-at-law in 1486 and in 1488 a King's Serjeant, in 1495 he was made a Puisne Justice of the Court of...

Another 98 words (7 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Woody Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


Some of the Woody family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 67 words (5 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


Because of this political and religious unrest within English society, many people decided to immigrate to the colonies. Families left for Ireland, North America, and Australia in enormous numbers, traveling at high cost in extremely inhospitable conditions. The New World in particular was a desirable destination, but the long voyage caused many to arrive sick and starving. Those who made it, though, were welcomed by opportunities far greater than they had known at home in England. Many of these families went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Analysis of immigration records indicates that some of the first North American immigrants bore the name Woody or a variant listed above:

Woody Settlers in United States in the 17th Century

  • Richard Woody, who arrived in Boston, Massachusetts in 1642
  • Rob Woody, who landed in Virginia in 1653

Woody Settlers in United States in the 18th Century

  • John Woody, who arrived in Virginia in 1701

Woody Settlers in United States in the 19th Century

  • Matthew Woody, who landed in Morgan County, Illinois in 1839

  • Russ Woody, American Primetime Emmy Award winning producer
  • Larry "Woodrow" Woody, American retired sports writer
  • Joey Woody (b. 1973), American silver medalist track and field athlete at the 2003 World Championships
  • Frank Hargrave Woody (1833-1912), American politician and judge, 1st Mayor of Missoula (1183-1884)
  • Damien Michael Woody (b. 1977), American NFL football offensive lineman who played from 1999 to 2010, he has won two Super Bowl rings
  • Arthur Woody (1884-1946), American forest ranger and conservationist who reintroduced deer to the North Georgia mountains
  • Alanah Woody (1956-2007), American archeologist, anthropologist and professor
  • Douglas Allen Woody (1955-2000), American bass guitarist, best known for his work with The Allman Brothers Band and The Artimus Pyle Band

Woody Historic Events

RMS Titanic

  • Mr. Oscar Scott Woody (d. 1912), aged 44, American Postal Clerk from Clifton, Virginia who worked aboard the RMS Titanic, died in the sinking and was recovered by CS Mackay-Bennett

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: Tutus in undis
Motto Translation: Safe on the waves.


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    Other References

    1. Burke, John Bernard Ed. The Roll of Battle Abbey. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
    2. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges. A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8).
    3. Shirley, Evelyn Philip. Noble and Gentle Men of England Or Notes Touching The Arms and Descendants of the Ancient Knightley and Gentle Houses of England Arranged in their Respective Counties 3rd Edition. Westminster: John Bowyer Nichols and Sons, 1866. Print.
    4. Robb H. Amanda and Andrew Chesler. Encyclopedia of American Family Names. New York: Haper Collins, 1995. Print. (ISBN 0-06-270075-8).
    5. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds. Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
    6. Library of Congress. American and English Genealogies in the Library of Congress. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1967. Print.
    7. Zieber, Eugene. Heraldry in America. Philadelphia: Genealogical Publishing Co. Print.
    8. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin . Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
    9. Papworth, J.W and A.W Morant. Ordinary of British Armorials. London: T.Richards, 1874. Print.
    10. Reaney P.H and R.M. Wilson. A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X).
    11. ...

    The Woody Family Crest was acquired from the archives. The Woody 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 19 February 2014 at 15:01.

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