This surname, recorded in the modern spellings of Woodford, Woodforde and Woodsford, is of Scottish and English locational origin. It derives either from 'The lands of Woodford', thus called in the parish of St. Boswells, Roxburghshire, Scotland, or from the villages called variously in the early registers Woodford or Woodsford, in the counties of Cheshire, Cornwall, Wiltshire, Essex and Northamptonshire. In all cases the surname derives from the Old English pre 7th Century "wuda" meaning a wood, plus "forda" - a shallow river crossing, or occasionally a bridge.The surname is first recorded in Scotland in the latter half of the 12th Century, (see below) whilst the first namebearer in England was Daniel de Wudeford, recorded in the 1196 pipe rolls of Oxfordshire, and Geoffrey de Wodeforde was recorded in Somerset in the Hundred Rolls of the year 1273. Later examples include in 1581 Robert Wodeford of Buckingham, in the register of students of Oxford University, the christening of Adryan, son of Emanuel Woodford, at Saint James church, Clerkenwell, London, on June 1st 1620, whilst on April 7th 1631, Thomas Woodford, emigrated from England to the Virginia Colony of New England, in the Americas. He was among the earliest recorded settlers in what later became the United States of America. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Joardan de Wodford, which was dated circa 1170, a charter witness at the Abbey of Aberbrothoc, during the reign of King William of Scotland, known as 'The Lyon ', 1165 - 1216. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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