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T n E N A M E A N D F A rq I L Y 0 F W 0 0 D R U F F Compiled by THE I:EDIA RESEARCH BUREAU Washington, J.C. THE NAME AND FAHILY OF WODRUFF The name of WOODRUFF i s generall y believed to ha.ve been derived
T n E N A M E A N D F A rq I L Y 0 F W 0 0 D R U F F Compiled by THE I:EDIA RESEARCH BUREAU Washington, J.C. THE NAME AND FAHILY OF WODRUFF The name of WOODRUFF i s generall y believed to ha.ve been derived from the office of 11 woodreeve 11 or wood-bailiff, but some authorities are of the opinion t hat it was taken either from the bird of that name or from the plant so called. It is found on ancient English records in the various forms of 1 :voderove, Woderoue, Woodrove, Woddrof, Woderof, Woodrof, ~1oodrofe, Woodroffe, Woodroofe, Woodrooffe, Woodroufe, Wo odrough, Woodroof, Woodruffe, and Woodruff, of which the last is the spelling most generally in use in America today, Families bearing this name ere resident at early dates in the English Counties of Oxford, Lincoln, Huntington, York, Surrey, Devon, Kent, and London. They appear to have been, for the most part, of the British landed gentry and yeomanry. The Woodruffs were probably of Anglo-Saxon origin. Among the earliest records of them in England are those of John 1 :Voderove of Oxfordshire in the year 1273, Robert Woderoue of Huntingtonshire about the same time, Henry Woderoue -2- -3- of Lincolnshire at a somewhat later date, and Eenry 1 ~loodroffe of Yorkshire about the beginning of the fourteenth century. This Henry of Yorkshire was the father by his wife Elsabeth Dransfeld of a son John, who married Anne Cresacre ancl was the father by her of Olyver, who married Ales Myrfeld and died in 1430, leaving a son John, who had issue by his first wife a Miss Nevell of a son Thomas, who cliecl young, and by his second wife a Miss Hamerton of Sir Richard, who w~s the father by his first wife a Miss Wortley of a daughter named Elsabeth and by his second wife Beatryce Fitzwilliam of Thomas, Olyver, James, and possibly others, of 1.Jirhom the first married Elsabeth Waterton and had issue by her of George, William, John, Richard, Antony, Nicholas, Thomas, and four daughters, of whom the eldest son George married Ales Burdet and was the father of Francis, William, Elsabeth, and George. In the latter fifteenth and early sixteenth centuriec there is record of Thomas Woodrove of Kent County, who was the father of William, who was the father of William and Robert Woodroffe. This Robert Woodroffe married Alice Russell in 1572 and was the father by her of John and William Woodruffe, of whom the first married Elizabeth Cartwright about the year 1601 and had issue by her of an only -4- son named John, who came with his widowed mother and her second husband John Gosmer to America about This John will b e mentioned again below. John Woodroffe or Woodroufe of Devonshire was the f ather of David Woodroffe, who was Sheriff of London in 1554 and had issue by h is wife Elizab~ th Hill of Sir Nicholas, Gr ace, Stephen, Anthonia, Robert, and Elizabeth, of whom the first was Lordd,!Iayor of London and the father by his wife Grissell Kyrton of Sir David, Robert, Stephen, Mary, and Jane, of whom the first made his home in the Coun t y of Sur rey and was th ~ father by his wife Catherine ~~ ite of a son named Robert, who married Lettice Duncombe in the seventeenth century and had, probably among others, Thomas and Sir George, of who m the latt er married Francis Smi th and had issue by her of a son George and five daughters vvh ose names are not in evidence. Ro bert, third son of David Woodroffe, Sheriff of London, married Diones Calthrop and was the father of David, who was the father by his wife Anne West of David, Anne, Sarah, and possibly of others as well. An early line of the family i n America was that of the before-mentioned John Woodruffe or Woodruff of Kent Co unty, England, who emigrated to America about the year and settled at Southampton, L.I. He brought with him his wife Anne and their first child John and had further issue in New England of Anne, Elizabeth, and another son also named John. Both of these sons are mentioned in the will of the immigrant John, the first having settled at Elizabeth Town, N.J., where he raised a family including sons John and Josiah, and the younger having remained on Long Island, where he died about 1701, leaving four daughters and six sons, Samuel, Joseph, Benjamin, Nathaniel, Isaac, and Jonathan. One Matthew Woodruff, whose ancestry is not known, is said to have emigrated from England to Hart ford, Conn,, \-n. /63b _ I 1J I~ '? 4... OY' iq _i rl(\_ 1! ettelevwhence he soon removed to Farmington,Ain the same colony, about 1640 or shortly thereafter. He is recorded as a Freeman of Farmington in By his wife Hannah he was the father of John, r~a tthew, Hannah, Elizabeth, Mary, and Samuel, of whom the eldest son John was the father of John, Joseph, and several daughters; the second son Matthew had issue of, besides four daughters, five sons, Matthew, John, Samuel, Nathaniel, and Joseph; and the third son Samuel was the father of Samuel, Jonathan, Ebenezer, Daniel, David, Hezekiah, John, Rede, and four daughters. It is believed that many of the Georgia Woodruffs are descended from John - 6-1rifoodruff, brother of the above-mentioned immigrant Matthew. Others of the name who emigrated to America in the seventeenth century but left few records of themselves and their families rere Richard and Robert Woodruffe of Virginia before 1647; and the brothers Benjamin and Joseph Woodruff of Salem, 'Mass., about 1660, of whom the last is believed to have had a son of the same name by his wife Rebecca Canterbury. Sometime before 1765 Joseph Woodruff, believed by some writers on family history to have been a descendant of the London, England, line, emigrated to America. He was married to Mary Forrester in Jamaica in the year They later were living at Charleston, S.C,, and still later in Georgia. Mary Ann. His children were George, Joseph, James, and The descendants of these and of other later lines o~ the Woodruffs in America have spread to practically every State of the Union and have aided greatly in the growth and development of the country. They have been characterized in general by their fortitude, perseverance, love of truth, moral courage, and love of adventure. Among the Woodruffs who fought as officers in the War of the Revolution were Surgeon's-Mate Aaron, of -7- Pennsylvania; Surgeon 1 s-j~te Hunlock, of New York; Lieutenant LeV~ris, of New Jersey; Lieutenant Ephraim, of rrew York; Regimental-Quartermaster Benjamin, of Connecticut; and Captain Joseph of Georgia. John, Robert, Thomas, James, Nicholas, Richard, George, David, Benjamin, Matthew, Samuel, Joseph, and Jonathan are some of the Christian names most favored by the family for its male progeny. A few of the many members of the family ~fuo have distinguished themselves in America in more recent times are: Wilford Woodruff ( ), of Connecticut, Mormon leader and pioneer to Utah. Charles Edward Woodruff ( ), of Pennsylvania, army surgeon and ethnologist, Clinton Rogers Woodruff (b. 1868), of Pennsylvania, lawyer, municipal reformer, and author. Edwin Blanchard Woodruff (b. 1872), of New York and South Dakota, clergyman and author. Elmer Grant Woodruff (b. 1872), of Pennsylvania, consulting geologist. Ernest Woodruff (b. 1863), of Georgia, banker and director of companies. Frank Otis Woodruff (b. 1873), of Maine, chemist. Harvey T~ journalist. Woodruff (b. 1875), of Indiana, -8- James Abbert Woodruff (b. 1877), army officer and author. John Thomas Woodruff (b. 1868), of Missouri, lawyer. Lorande Loss Woodruff (b. 1879), of New York, noted biologist and author. Robert Eastman Woodruff (b. 1884), of Wisconsin, railroad official and author. One of the most ancient and best known of the coats of arms of the Woodruffs of England is described in heraldic terms as follows (Burke, General Armory, 1884): Arms,-- 11 Gules, on a chevron argent, three bucks 1 heads erased sable, a chief per fess nebulee of the third and second, quartering, sable, a. fess ermine between two lions passant guardant argent. 11 Crest A dexter arm embowed, habited with leaves vert, holding a branch of honeysuckle, all proper. 11 BIBLIOGRAPHY Bardsley. English and Welsh Surnames Harleian Society. Yorkshire Visitation Harleian Society. Surrey Visitations, Harleian Society. Le Neve 1 s Pedigrees of the Knights Harleian Society. London Visitation Savage. Genealogical Dictionary of New England, F. E. Woodruff. The Woodruffs of New Jersey Hughes. American Ancestry Timlow. Sketches of Southington, Conn Hinman. First Puritan Settlers of Connecticut Greer. Early Virginia Immigrants Heitman. Officers of the Continental Army The Americana Burke. General Armory WHY YOU HAVE A FAMILY NAME AND WHAT IT MEANS TO YOU Primit ive personal names doubtless originated soon after the i nventi on of spoken language, although the date of their f i rst use is lost in the darkness of ages preceding recorded history. For thousands of years thereafter, first or given names were the only designati ons that men and women bore; and in the dawn of historic times, when the world was less crowded than it is today and every man knew his neighbor, one title of address was sufficient. Only gradually, with the passing centuries and the increasing complexity of civilized society, did a need arise for more specific designations. While the roots of our system of family names may be traced back to early civilized times, actually the hereditary surname as we know it today dates from a time scarcely earlier than nine hundred years ago. A surname is a name added to a baptismal or Christian name for the purposes of making it more specific and of indicating family relationship or descent. Classified according to origin, most surnames fall into four general categories: (1) those formed from the given name of the sire; (2) those arising from bodily or personal characteristics; (3) those derived from locality or place or residence; and (4) those derived from occupation. It is easier to understand the story of the development of our institution of surnames if these classifications are borne in mind. As early as biblical times certain distinguishing appellations were occasionally employed in addition to the given name, as, for instance, Joshua the son of Nun, Simon the son of Jonas, JUdas of Galilee, and Simon the Zealot. In ancient Greece daughters were ~1amed after their fathers, as Chryseis, the daughter of Chr:rses; and sons' names were usually an enlarged form of the father's, as Hieronymus, son of Hiero. The Romans, with the rise of their civiliza- -2- t i on, met the need for hereditary designati ons by i nventing a complex system whereby every patrician traced his descent by taking several names. None of them, however, exactly corresponded to surnames a s we know them, for the clan name , although hereditary, was given also to slaves and other dependants. Thi s system proved t v be but a temporary innovation; the overthrow of the Wes t ern Empire by barbarian invaders brought about its end and a reversion to the primitive custom of a single name. The ancient Scandinavians and for the most part the Germans had only individual names, and there were no family names, strictly speaking, among the Celts. But as family and tribal groups grew in size, i udividual names became inadequate and the need for supplementary a ppellations began t o be felt. Among the first employed were such terms as the Strong , the Hardy , the Stern , the Dreadfulin-battle ; and the nations of northern Europe soon adopted the practice of adding the father's name to the son's, as Oscar son of Oarnuth and Dermid son of Duthno. True surnames, in the sense of hereditary designations, date in England from about the year Largely they were introduced from Normandy, although there ar, records of Saxon surnames prior to the Norman Conquest. Perhaps the oldest known surname in England is that of Hwita Hatte, a keeper of bees, whose daughter was Tate Hatte. During the reign of Edward the Confessor ( ) there were Saxon t enants in Suffolk bearing such names as Suert Magno, Stigand Soror, Siuward Rufus, and Lauric Hobbesune (Hobson); and the Domesday record of , which exhibits some curious combinations of Saxon forenames with Norman family names, shows surnames in still more general use. By the end of the twelfth century hereditary names had become common in England. But even by 1465 they were not universal. During the reign of Edward V a l aw was passed to compel certain Irish outlaws to adopt surnames: They shall take unto them a Surname, either of some Town, or some Colour, as Blaoke or Brown, or some Art or Science, as Smyth or Carpenter, or some Office, as Cooke or Butler. And as late as the beginning of the nineteenth century a similar decree compelled Jews in Germany and Austria to add a German surname to the single names which they had previously used. As stated above, family names may be divided into four general classes according to their origin. One of the largest of these classes is that comprising surnames derived from the given name of the father. Such names were formed by means of an added prefix or suffix denoting either son of or a diminutive. English names terminating in~' ing, and kin are of this type, as are also the i nnumerable names prefixed with the Gaelic Mao, the Norman Fitz, the Welsh Q, and the Irish O'. Thus John's sons became Johnsons; William's sons, Williamsons or Wilsons; Richard's sons, Richardsons or Richardses (the final s of Richards being a contraction of son ); Neill's sons, MacNeills; Herbert's sons, FitzHerberts; Thomas' s sons, ap Thomases (~ has been dropped from many names of which it was formerly a part}; and Reilly's sons, O'Reillys. Another class of surnames, those arising from some bodily or personal characteristic of their first bearer, apparently grew out of what were in the first instance nicknames. Thus Peter the strong became Peter Strong, Roger of small stature became Roger Little or Roger Small, and blackhaired William or blond Alfred became William Black or Alfred White. From among the many names of this type, only a few need be mentioned: Long, Short, Hardy, Wise, Good, Gladman, Lover, and Youngman. A third class of family names, and perha ps the largest of all, is that comprising local surnames--names derived from and originally designating the place of residence of the bearer. Such names were popular in France at an early date and were introduced into England by the Normans, many of whom were known by the titles of their estates. The surnames adopted by the nobility were mainly of this type, being used with the particles de, de la, o r ~ (meaning o:f or of the ). The Saxon equivalent wa s the word e.tt. ( at the ), employed in such names as John atte Brook, Edmund atte Le,ne, Godwin atte Brigg, and William atte Bourne. A vestige of this usage s urvives in the names Atwell, Atwood, and Atwater; in other casee the Norman de was substituted; and in still others, such as Wood, Briggs, and Lane, the particle was dropped. The surnames of some of the Pilgrim fathers illustrate place designations: for instance, Winthrop means from the friendly village ; Endicott, ao end cottage ; Bradfo d, at the bro,1.d ford ; and Standish, a stony park . The suffixes ford , ham , ley , and ton , denoting locality, are of frequent occurrence in such names as Ashford, Bingham, Burley, and Norton. While England enjoyed a period of comps.rative peace under Edward the Confessor, a fourth class of s urnames arose--names derived from occupation. The earliest of these seem to have been official names, such as Bishop, Mayor, Fawcett (judge), Alderman, Reeve, Sheriff, Chamberlain, Chancellor, Chaplain, Deacon, Latimer (interpreter), Marshall, Su~1er (summoner), and Parker (park-keeper). Trade and craft names, although o the same general type, were of somewhat later origin. Currier was a dresser of skins, Webster a weaver, Wainwright a wagonbuilder, and Baxter a baker. Such names as Smith, Taylor, Barber, Shepherd, Carter, Mason, and Miller are self-explanatory. Many surnames of today which seem to defy classification or explanation are corruptions of ancient forms which have become disguised almost beyond recognit ion. Longfellow, for instance, was originally Longueville, Longshanks was Longchamps, Troublefield was Tuberville, Wrinch was Renshaw, Diggles was Douglas, and Snooks was Sevenoaks. Such corruptions of family names, resulting from ignorance of spelling, variations in pronunciati on, or me r ely from the preference of t he bearer, tend to baffle bot h the genealogist and the etymologist. Shakespeare's name is found in some twenty-seven dif erent forms, and t he majority of English and Anglo-American surnames have, in their history, appeared in four to a d ozen or more variant spellings. In America a greater variety of family names exists than anywhere else in the world. Surnames of every race and nation are represented. While the greater number are of English, Scotch, Irish, or Welsh origin, brought to this country by scions of families which had borne these names for generations prior to emigration, many others, from central and southern Europe and from the Slavic countries, where the use of surnames is generally a more recently established practice, present considerable difficulty to the student of etymology and family history. Those Americans who possess old and honored names--who trace the history of their surnames back to sturdy immigrant u -ooxlt..:c:b lo.t ::: , Ol even beyond, ac.1 oss the 8eas, and :~. nto the dim mists of antiquity--may be rightfully proud of their heritage. While the name, in its origin, may seem ingenious, humble, surprising, or matter-of -fact, its signifi ~ance today lies not ln a literal interpretation of its orjginal meaning but in the many things that have happened to it since it firs t came into use. In the beginning it was only aj word, a convenient label t o distinguish one John from his neighbor John who lived a cross the field. But soon it 0stablished itself as a part of the bearer ' s individuality ; and as it passed to his children, his children ' s chi ldrer..., and their children, it became the symbol not of one man but of a fam i ly and all t hat that family stood for. Handed down from generation to generation, it grew inseparably associated with the achievement, the tradition, e.nd the prestige of the family. Like the coat of arms--that vivid symbolization of the name which warrior ancestors bore in battle--the name itself, borne througb every event of a man 's life and th~ough the lives of scores of h is progenitors, became the badge of family honor-- the good name to be proud of, to protect, and to fight for if need be. r s the worthy dead.s of the marcbing generations have given it dignity and splendor 1 i t has l)ecorne an inst i tuti on, a famil rallying cry, and the most treasured possession of those who bear i t. BIBLIOGRAPHY Anderson. Genealogy and Surnames Bardsley. Bardsley. English Surnames Dictionary of English and Welsh Sur names Baring-Gould. Family Names Encyclopedia Americana Finlayson. Surnames a.n.d Si renames Grussi. Chats on Christian Fames Harrison. Surnames of the U11ited Kingdom Lower. Dictionary of Family Names McKenna. Surnames and The i r Or igin Mo ore. Surnames and Place-Names Weekley.. Surnames Woulfe. Ir'ish Name s and Surnames
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