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2,397 study surnames with us
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About the study

The Dodwell One Name Study is a fledgling project born recently out of over 40 years of researching my ancestors. Whilst the scope of the study is world-wide, time is currently being invested in reconstructing UK Dodwell genealogies.

A great debt of gratitude is owed to Anne Elizabeth (Betty) Sandilands nee Dodwell whose large body of work on the Dodwells of Long Crendon not only helped tremendously with tracing my own Dodwell ancestors but also inspired this one-name venture. Betty'€™s work was all carried out without the internet or a computer, from New Zealand, and was lodged in printed form with the Buckinghamshire Family History Society by mutual cousin Joyce Reardon, also living in New Zealand.

Variant names

No Dodwell variants have been registered at this time.

Name origin

Theories of how the Dodwell surname began are somewhat chicken and egg. Some consider the name is taken from a place and there is an area to the east of Stratford-on-Avon named Dodwell, including Dodwell Farm. But then how did the place get its name? It is postulated that there could have been a well belonging to a Dod or Doda and those living in the area thus took their name from the location; an area for more research.

Historical occurrences of the name

The Dodwell name has been carried through many varied lives and times by highly educated scholars to those who signed with an x, by merchants trading in the far-east to scavengers scraping a living, from foundlings to ‘gents’ born with the proverbial sliver spoon.

The earliest Dodwell dignitary of note discovered to date is Henry (1540-1600) who served as Mayor of Oxford. One of his daughters was the quaintly named Frydesweed.

Another Henry (1641-1711), a scholar and theologian, was elected Camden Professor of History at Oxford in 1688. Henry authored a number of books; some considered his views to be controversial.

Edward Dodwell (1777-1832) has his name immortalised through his discovery of an exquisite small Greek vase, the Dodwell vase, found in Corinth and dated to about 600 AD.

Name frequency

According to data from the Office of National Statistics there were 976 Dodwells in the British Isles and the Isle of Mann in September 2002. By comparison there were 625,563 Smiths. Smith is the most frequently found surname.

Distribution of the name

Indications are that Dodwells worldwide hail from England with the largest concentration in 1841 living in Gloucestershire, Buckinghamshire and Warwickshire. Dodwells migrated from this hub throughout the British Isles and to Ireland and are known to have emigrated to Australia, New Zealand, USA and Canada, with some settling in the Hong Kong where Dodwell’s department store was established and Dodwell'€™s Ridge remains a local landmark.


All England and Wales BMD, UK Census 1841 to 1901 and IGI data are held on local databases and are being prepared for analysis and synthesis. In addition over 1,750 individuals are held in reconstructed families on Family Tree Maker.