Show ContentsWord History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The surname Word is thought to be derived from Warden, a parish in the union of Hexham, N. W. division of Tindale ward, in Northumberland. "This place derives its name, originally Wardon, from the remarkable don or hill under which the church and village are beautifully situated on the south-east, and on the rocky summit of which are vestiges of a circular British camp, subsequently occupied by the Romans, who raised additional works. Within the area of this encampment, the bases of buildings and several querns have been found; and not far from the vicarage-house are traces of a similar fort, most probably connected with the wall of Severus, near which the parish is situated. The manor and church, in 1298, belonged to the monks of Hexham, to whom they had been granted, according to the record, "from a time beyond all memory," by Adam de Tyndale." [1]

Early written versions of the name tend to spell the name beginning with "Wer-," and as such the name is most likely derived from the Old English "wer," or weir, and "denu," which meant valley.

However, most sources note the occupational nature of the name as in from the Anglo-French word wardein, Old French gardein, guardian. [2] [3] [4] [5]

So as to prove this case, the longer form of the occupation as in 'churchwarden,' 'way-warden,' 'Lord-warden of the Cinque Ports,' are still in use. [4]

Early Origins of the Word family

The surname Word was first found in Hertfordshire where the Saxon, Wluric Uuerdenus held lands before the taking of the Domesday Survey in 1086.

Later, the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 included: William de Warden in Oxfordshire; Elyas Wardeden in Berkshire; and Walter Wardein in Oxfordshire. [6]

Symon de Waredon was listed at Clerkenwell, Kent in 1232, and Elyas de Wardon was listed there in 1297. [5]

Up in Scotland, the name name is "more probably from Warden in Northumberland as the surname appears late with us. John Wardein was admitted burgess of Glasgow, 1627, as servitor to the marquis of Hamilton, and David Wardine was admitted burgess and guild brother, 1629." [7]

Early History of the Word family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Word research. Another 108 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1273, 1352, 1379, 1627, 1685, 1698, 1535, 1491, 1500, 1476 and 1480 are included under the topic Early Word History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Word Spelling Variations

Spelling variations of this family name include: Worden, Wordene, Word, Werden, Warden and others.

Early Notables of the Word family (pre 1700)

Distinguished members of the family include Werric Werden, scion of the family, and Wynkyn de Worde (d. 1535), English printer of over 700 books. "His real name was Jan van Wynkyn ('de Worde' being merely a place name), and in the sacrist's rolls of Westminster Abbey from 1491 to 1500 he figures as Johannes Wynkyn. While still a young man he came over to England and...
Another 65 words (5 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Word Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Word Ranking

In the United States, the name Word is the 4,459th most popular surname with an estimated 7,461 people with that name. [8]

United States Word migration to the United States +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Word Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Ralph Word, who landed in Maryland in 1661 [9]
  • Elizabeth Word, who arrived in Maryland in 1663
Word Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Michael Word, who arrived in Virginia in 1714 [9]
  • Daniel Word, on record in Mobile, Alabama in 1786
Word Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Benjamin F. Word, who settled in Texas in 1839
  • Charles Word, who settled in New Orleans in 1850
  • Mrs. L Word, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1850 [9]

New Zealand Word 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:

Word Settlers in New Zealand in the 19th Century
  • Mr. William John Word, (b. 1839), aged 18, British carpenter travelling from Gravesend aboard the ship "Glentanner" arriving in Lyttelton, Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand on 3rd October 1857 [10]

Arrow Air Flight 1285
  • Miss. Virginia Ruth Word (1965-1985), American Specialist 4th Class from Warner Robins, Georgia, USA who died in the Arrow Air Flight 1285 crash [11]

  1. Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  2. Harrison, Henry, Surnames of the United Kingdom: A Concise Etymological Dictionary Baltimore: Geneological Publishing Company, 2013. Print
  3. Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York: Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  4. Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  5. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  6. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  7. Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  8. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  9. 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)
  10. New Zealand Yesteryears Passenger Lists 1800 to 1900 (Retrieved 17th October 2018). Retrieved from
  11. American War Memorials - Flight 1285. (Retrieved 2016, August 24) . Retrieved from on Facebook