What is the origin of the last name Smallwood?

The surname Smallwood is of English origin and derives from a combination of the Old English words "smæl" meaning "small" and "wudu" meaning "wood." It is topographically derived, indicating someone who resided near a small wood or grove. This surname has been recorded in English documents since the 13th century and has various spellings over time, including Smalwood and Smalewode.

Countries of origin for the last name Smallwood

The last name SMALLWOOD has a rich history and interesting etymology. The following analysis explores the meaning and significance of this surname for a US audience.

SMALLWOOD is an English surname with a clear literal meaning: it refers to a small wood or a small area of woodland. The name can be broken down into two elements: “small” and “wood.” This suggests that individuals with the surname SMALLWOOD may have had ancestors who lived or worked near a small forested area.

Research indicates that the SMALLWOOD surname can be traced back to medieval England. In the feudal system of medieval Europe, land ownership was highly significant, and forests played a vital role in supplying timber for various purposes, including fuel, construction, and hunting reserves. It is plausible that someone living close to a small wood would have been designated with the surname SMALLWOOD to categorize their land or occupation.

Given the prevalence of forests in medieval England, it is not surprising that various individuals and families adopted this surname. The SMALLWOOD name likely originated as a toponymic surname, derived from a place name associated with a small wood. Over time, as families moved and surnames became inherited, the SMALLWOOD name would have been passed down through generations.

The SMALLWOOD surname has also been found in other countries, such as Scotland and Ireland, indicating that individuals with this name may have migrated or been descended from those who did. It is worth noting that surname variants, such as SMALWOOD or SMALLWODE, exist, further underscoring the adaptability of surnames over time and across regions.

Genealogical research suggests that there are several notable individuals with the surname SMALLWOOD throughout history. For instance, William Smallwood (1732-1792) was an American Revolutionary War officer and politician who served as the fourth Governor of Maryland. His achievements contribute to the prominence of the SMALLWOOD name in American history.

Despite the existing knowledge about the SMALLWOOD surname, there are still lingering possibilities and unanswered questions. For example, it is unclear how widespread the SMALLWOOD name is in the United States today or how it has evolved over time. Further research into specific geographical distributions, migration patterns, and variations of the surname could provide additional insights.

In conclusion, the SMALLWOOD surname originated in medieval England and refers to a small wood or forested area. It is a toponymic surname that likely emerged from place names associated with such environments. The SMALLWOOD name has been carried through generations, and notable individuals with this surname have made contributions to American history. However, there is much more that can be explored and discovered about this intriguing surname.

Interesting facts about the last name Smallwood

  • The surname Smallwood is of English origin.
  • It is derived from the Old English pre-7th century word “smael,” meaning small, and “wudu,” meaning wood or forest.
  • The name Smallwood is a topographical surname, indicating that it was originally given to someone who lived near a small wood or forest.
  • The surname Smallwood dates back to at least the 13th century, with early recordings found in various forms such as Smalwode, Smalewode, and Smorewode.
  • Notable bearers of the Smallwood surname include Jeffery Smallwood, an influential British politician, and Tom Smallwood, a professional American bowler.
  • Smallwood is also a place name, with Smallwood Reservoir located in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. It is named after Joseph R. Smallwood, the first Premier of the province.
  • The Smallwood family name can be found in various countries around the world, including the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom.
  • According to surname distribution data, the highest concentration of people with the Smallwood surname can be found in the English counties of Staffordshire and Worcestershire.
  • The Smallwood surname has variations, including Smalwood, Smaillwood, and Smallwoode.
  • Genealogical research on the Smallwood surname reveals various coat of arms associated with the name, featuring symbols such as stars, lions, and crosses.

Name Rank


There are around 18717 people with the last name Smallwood in the US

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