Recorded in the spellings of Whitwood and Whitewood, this is an English locational surname. It originates from the small parish of Whitwood, near Featherstone, in what was the West Riding of Yorkshire. According to Ekwall's famous 'Dictionary of English Placenames' the translation is 'The white wood' from the pre 7th century Olde English 'whit wudu', but clearly this is not an accurate meaning. The place name almost certainly refers either to a wood of silver birch, or more likely to a desciduous wood.These woods look bright or even white in the sunlight, whereas a conifer wood always looks dark. The place is first recorded in the ancient Domesday Book of the year 1086 in the spelling of 'Witude', and later in 1197 as 'Whitewude'. The surname is later still and being locational, is a 'from' name. That is to say a name given to a person after he or she left their original homes and moved elsewhere. This may be the next village or as far as London, but either way the easiest means to identity a stranger, was to call them by the name of their original village. In this case the name is well recorded around the county of Yorkshire, and early examples include: Joan Whitwood, who married Thomas Walker at Doncaster on July 6th 1567, and later Samuel Whitewood, a witness at Pellon Lane Baptist church, Halifax, on September 18th 1832.
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