What is the origin of the last name Woodard?

The last name Woodard likely originates from England, deriving from the medieval English surname "Wudeward," which was a combination of the Old English elements "wudu" meaning "wood" and "weard" meaning "guardian" or "protector." This suggests that early bearers of the name may have had a connection to woodland areas or perhaps held a position of protecting or managing wooded lands. Over time, the spelling evolved to Woodard, reflecting changes in the English language. The name is relatively common in areas where English settlers migrated or were brought during colonial times, such as the United States and Canada.

Countries of origin for the last name Woodard

Woodard is a surname that has its origins in England. The name is derived from the Old English words “wudu,” meaning “wood,” and “weard,” meaning “guardian” or “protector.” As such, Woodard is likely an occupational name for someone who worked as a “wood-ward” or “guardian of the woods.”

The earliest recorded instances of the Woodard surname can be traced back to the Middle Ages in England. It is believed to have originated as a locational surname, indicating that the first bearers of the name may have originally hailed from a place with “wood” in its name or had a strong connection to wooded areas.

Throughout history, variations of the Woodard surname have been documented. These include spellings such as Woodward, Woodwards, Woodhards, Wodard, Wooderde, and Woodarde, among others. These variations can be attributed to factors such as phonetic spellings and regional dialects.

Woodard is not an extremely common surname in the United States, but it can be found scattered throughout the country. According to the 2000 United States Census, the highest concentration of individuals with the Woodard surname lived in the states of North Carolina, Texas, and California. However, it is worth noting that the surname is distributed across various regions in the US.

The meaning of the Woodard surname reflects characteristics often associated with forests and wooded areas, such as strength, protection, and guardianship. It evokes imagery of someone responsible for safeguarding the woods, likely fulfilling duties such as managing, preserving, and overseeing the resources found within wooded territories.

While our understanding of the Woodard surname is based on historical research and etymological analysis, there may still be untapped information waiting to be discovered. Delving deeper into the genealogy and historical context surrounding this name could potentially unveil new insights and connections.

Interesting facts about the last name Woodard

  • The surname Woodard is of English origin.
  • It is derived from the Old English words “wudu” meaning “wood” and “weard” meaning “guardian” or “keeper.”
  • The name Woodard is predominantly found in the United States, particularly in the southern states.
  • During the 19th and early 20th centuries, many individuals with the surname Woodard migrated from the southern states to other parts of the United States, primarily due to economic opportunities and the Great Migration.
  • Woodard may also be spelled as Woodward or Woodworth.
  • The Woodard family name can be traced back to medieval England.
  • Some notable individuals with the surname Woodard include actress Alfre Woodard, politician John Woodard, and journalist Robert Woodard.
  • The surname Woodard is relatively rare, with fewer than 20,000 individuals in the United States having this last name.
  • The meaning of the surname Woodard signifies someone who lived near or worked as a guardian of a wood or forest.

Name Rank


There are around 46240 people with the last name Woodard in the US

Related Names

Related Regions