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Wood Family History
This famous and popular English and Scottish surname is of pre 7th century Olde English origins. Recorded in several forms including Wood, Woode, Woodd, Wod, Wode and the locational Woods and Woodes, it derives from the word "wudu" meaning a forest or wood. It was originally given either as a topographical name for one who was resident by a wood, or who in the case of the plural Woods related to a person who was both resident in the wood and who obtained his livelihood from the wood, probably as a forester. The surname is first recorded in the early half of the 13th Century (see below) and appears in a great variety of records during that century...
Wood (Variants: Woode, Woodd, Woods) An English locative name from Middle English wode ‘wood’, deriving from Old English wudu , for someone who lived in or near a wood, similar to the name Attwood.
Mainly a topographic name for someone who lived in or by a wood or a metonymic occupational name for a woodcutter or forester, from Middle English wode ‘wood’ (Old English wudu).
Also a nickname for a mad, eccentric or violent person, from Middle English wod ‘mad’ or ‘frenzied’, deriving from Old English wad. An early usage of the name Wood (or Woods) comes in the form ‘ate Wode’, describing a person who lived ‘at the wood’. To the Old English ‘ate’ was later added the definitive article in the dative form ‘then’ or ‘ten’, producing the Middle English ‘atten’. This is retained in such names as Attenborough.
Early bearers of the surname as it evolved; John del Wode, 1274 in Wakefield Court Rolls (Yorks); John Atewode, 1274 in Hundred Rolls (Essex); Margaret Wood, 1538 in IGI (Warmingham, Cheshire); Robert Woode, 1538 in IGI (Cambridge, Cambs); John Woode, 1541 in IGI (South Tawton, Devon); Roberti Woodd, 1549 in IGI (Shipton, Shrops); Robert Wood, 1583 in IGI (Berwick upon Tweed, Northumb).
In 1891, there were 94,436 occurrences across England and Wales with a further 6,943 in Scotland.
In 1881, a top county for the surname was Kent with 5,079 occurences. It was particularly frequent in the following districts, where it was also reported as the top surname by occurence: Chevening, Luddesdown, Molash, Murston and Petham. In the same year, the most common Wood occupation in the UK was Farmer. Farmer, Coal Miner and Labourer were the top 3 reported jobs worked by Wood. A less common occupation was Agricultural Labourer.
A notable of the surname, Albert Beaumont Wood OBE, British physicist, known for his pioneering work in the field of underwater acoustics and sonar. He is recognised for his work on developing sonar in the UK from the First World War until after the Second World War.
1881, 1891 Census
1881 Census in Kent
Dictionary of American Family Homes, P Hanks OUP 2003
Homes of Family Names in Great Britain, H.B. Guppy, London 1890
The Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain and Ireland, P.Hanks, Coats, McClure OUP 2016
1860 Lower, Mark A Patronymica Britannica: a dictionary of the family names of the United Kingdom, London: J.R Smith. Public Domain
1857 Arthur, William An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names. New York: Sheldon, Blakeman. Public Domain
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