Show ContentsWoolgar History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Woolgar is one of the many names that the Normans brought with them when they conquered England in 1066. The name Woolgar came from the Norman given name Willard. This name is derived from the Germanic roots will, meaning desire, and heard, meaning strong or hard. [1]

Early Origins of the Woolgar family

The surname Woolgar was first found in east Kent and Sussex where they were Lords of the Manor of Eastbourne. The family were originally named Villiard, or Guillarrt, and were from Caen in Normandy in pre Conquest times. [2] In the Domesday Book they are recorded variously as Wielardus, Wilardus, and Wlward. [3] [4] Further speculation on the origin of this distinguished family name of the U.S.A., can be deduced from the Willard Memoir by Joseph Willard published in Boston Mass. in 1858. [4] Woollard is a small village on the River Chew in the Chew Valley in East Somerset. Some of the first records of the name include: Wihelardus de Trophil who was listed in the History of Northumberland in 1168 and Wilard de Pikeeden who was listed in the same source in 1227. The Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 list Emayn Wylard. William Willarde was listed in Kent in 1602 and Nicholas Willard from Kent married Jane Coumber at Canterbury in 1690. [5]

Early History of the Woolgar family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Woolgar research. Another 112 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1605, 1617, 1630, 1634, 1640, 1643, 1672, 1676, 1692, 1701 and 1707 are included under the topic Early Woolgar History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Woolgar Spelling Variations

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. Woolgar has been recorded under many different variations, including Willard, Wilard, Viliard, Villiard, Wielard, Willardby, Willardsey, Willardsham, Willardstone and many more.

Early Notables of the Woolgar family

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Simon Willard (1605-1676), English settler to Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1634, he was one of the thirteen heads of families in Concord that signed Reverend Peter Bulkeley's 1643 petition to Governor John Endecott in support of Ambrose Martin...
Another 45 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Woolgar Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

United States Woolgar migration to the United States +

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. Woolgars were some of the first of the immigrants to arrive in North America:

Woolgar Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Margaret Woolgar, aged 27, originally from Glasgow, Scotland, who arrived in New York in 1892 aboard the ship "City of Rome" from Glasgow, Scotland [6]
Woolgar Settlers in United States in the 20th Century
  • Norman Woolgar, aged 22, originally from Grange over Sands, England, who arrived in New York in 1909 aboard the ship "Caronia" from Liverpool, England [6]
  • Arthur Woolgar, originally from Hampshire, who arrived in New York in 1919 aboard the ship "Lapland" from Southampton, England [6]
  • Archie Woolgar, aged 21, who arrived in New York in 1919 aboard the ship "Aquitania" from Southampton, England [6]
  • Arthur Woolgar, aged 22, who arrived in New York in 1920 aboard the ship "Mauretania" from Southampton, England [6]
  • Albert C. Woolgar, aged 27, who arrived in New York in 1920 aboard the ship "Mauretania" from Southampton, England [6]
  • ... (More are available in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.)

Canada Woolgar migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Woolgar Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • John Woolgar, who was on record in the census of Ontario of 1871

Australia Woolgar migration to Australia +

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

Woolgar Settlers in Australia in the 19th Century
  • Mr. George Woolgar, British Convict who was convicted in Kent, England for 15 years, transported aboard the "Coromandel" on 25th June 1838, arriving in Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) [7]

Contemporary Notables of the name Woolgar (post 1700) +

  • Sarah Jane Woolgar (1824-1909), English stage actress
  • Matthew Woolgar (b. 1976), retired English footballer who played from 1993 to 1994
  • Fenella Woolgar (b. 1969), English actress, recipient of the Clarence Derwent Award for Best Supporting Actress in the West End 2013 and Stage Performance of the Year – The Sunday Times Culture Awards 2014
  • Mr. Nicholas Robert Edward Woolgar M.B.E., British Lieutenant Colonel for The Royal Lancers was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire on 17th June 2017
  • Stephen 'Steve" Woolgar (b. 1950), British Professor of Sociology at Brunel University
  • Jack William Woolgar (1913-1978), British television and film actor, known for Crossroads (1964), Raw Meat (1972) and The Incredible Adventures of Professor Branestawm (1969)

HMS Royal Oak
  • Denis Roy Woolgar (1921-1939), British Marine with the Royal Marine aboard the HMS Royal Oak (1939) when she was torpedoed by U-47 and sunk; he died in the sinking [8]

  1. Hanks, Patricia and Flavia Hodges, A Dictionary of Surnames. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988. Print. (ISBN 0-19-211592-8)
  2. 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)
  3. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  4. Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  5. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  6. Ellis Island Search retrieved 15th November 2022. Retrieved from
  7. Convict Records Voyages to Australia (Retrieved 19th March 2021). Retrieved from
  8. Ships hit by U-boats crew list HMS Royal Oak (08) - (Retrieved 2018 February, 9th) - retrieved from on Facebook