Recorded as Birchwood, Birkwood and Burkwood, this is an Anglo-Scottish surname. It originates from any of the various places called Birkwood in the counties of Yorkshire and Lanarkshire in Scotland, as well as the numerous Birch Wood's or Birchwood to be found in such counties as Kent, Somerset and Derbyshire. However spelt these places, and hence the later surnames, derive from the Olde English pre 7th century words 'birce wudu', the wood of birch trees. Locational surnames are usually 'from' names. That is to say names given to people after they left their original homesteads to move somewhere else. In so doing they took or were given as their surname, the name of the former home. Spelling over the centuries being at best indifferent, and local accents very thick, soon lead to the development of 'sounds like' forms.In this case the earliest known recording is probably that of John de Birchewode of Turton in Lincolnshire in the year 1332, whilst a later recording is that of Ralph Birchwood of Ormskirk in Lancashire. This recording is in the Wills register at the city of Chester, in the year 1610.
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