Woodward Family History & Genealogy

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Woodward Surname History

The name of Woodward originated about the fifth century A.D. The King of England granted to his servant, James, the Woodwarden, special recognition as a reward for his faithfulness and care to the trust reposed in him, hence the special significance of the words on the Coat of Arms, Guard Well. (Our Royal Ancestors, vol. 1 & 2, p. 44)
The family name Woodward is believed to be descended originally from the Norman race. They were commonly believed to be of French origin but were, more accurately, of Viking origin.

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Woodward Country of Origin, Nationality, & Ethnicity

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Woodward Meaning & Etymology

This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and comes from a medieval occupational name for a forester (which has formed another well known surname), a man employed to look after the trees and the game in the forest. This was a very important and well respected profession, since the woods and the game animals therein were usually preserved against poachers and were solely for the use and enjoyment of the king or the local lord of the manor. The "New Forest" in Hampshire is a prime example of such a protected area and the punishment for infringement was usually death. The derivation of the name is from the Olde English pre 7th Century "wudu", wood, and "weard" guardian or protector.

Woodward Life Expectancy

According to our database of 17,449 people with the last name Woodward that have a birth and death date listed:

Life Expectancy


Most Common Woodward First Names

According to our database of 28,629 people with the last name Woodward that have a first name listed, these are the most common first names:

  • William 3.2%
  • John 2.9%
  • James 2.4%
  • Robert 2.1%
  • Mary 2.0%
  • George 1.9%
  • Charles 1.7%
  • Thomas 1.0%
  • Elizabeth 0.8%
  • Richard 0.8%
  • Henry 0.8%
  • Woodward 0.8%
  • Walter 0.8%
  • Joseph 0.7%
  • Margaret 0.7%
  • Frederick 0.7%
  • Harold 0.7%
  • Arthur 0.7%
  • Harry 0.7%
  • Helen 0.6%
  • Frank 0.6%
  • Edward 0.6%
  • Dorothy 0.6%
  • Donald 0.6%
  • David 0.6%
  • Ruth 0.5%
  • Albert 0.5%
  • Ralph 0.5%
  • Sarah 0.4%
  • Samuel 0.4%
  • Alice 0.4%
  • Paul 0.4%
  • Florence 0.4%
  • J 0.4%
  • Alfred 0.4%
  • Herbert 0.4%
  • Kenneth 0.4%
  • Ethel 0.3%
  • Raymond 0.3%
  • Anna 0.3%
  • Frances 0.3%
  • Fred 0.3%
  • Edith 0.3%
  • Annie 0.3%
  • Grace 0.3%
  • Clarence 0.3%
  • Daniel 0.3%
  • Ernest 0.3%
  • Roy 0.3%
  • Martha 0.3%

Woodward Pronunciation & Spelling Variations

Many alternate spellings of the name were found. They were typically linked to a common root, usually one of the Norman nobles at the Battle of Hastings. The name, Woodward, occurred in many references, and from time to time, the surname included the spellings of Woodward, Woodyard, Woodwood, Wadard, Waudard, and many more. Scribes recorded and spelled the name as it sounded.It was not uncommon for a person to be born with one spelling, married with another, and buried with a headstone that showed another. Sometimes preferences for different spelling variations either came from a division of the family, or, had religious or patriotic reasons.

Last names similar to Woodward

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