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Our 2,766 members have registered
2,405 study surnames with us
and a further 6,120 variant names.

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About the study

As a twin, and growing up in Australia from the age of six with a surname like WOODNUTT, we got called all sorts of names at school, - 'Woody', 'Nutwood', 'Timberhead', and of course the 'Gumnut' twins after May Gibbs very popular Australian children's books. From an early age I was interested in my surname but didn't get into researching the name until about ten years ago when my husband gave me a Christmas present of a Genealogy software package - (how he regrets giving me that Xmas gift!). . I registered the one-name study in the hope that I would be contacted by others who were researching the name.

With two Americans (Melody Taylor and Anita Woodnutt) and Jennifer Long, another English Woodnutt descendant, we have been systematically recording the names into about a dozen Trees. Anita can trace her husband Tom's WOODNUTT tree back to the mid 17th Century when they migrated to the United States (not long after the Pilgrim Fathers) but so far we can find no direct link between Tom's tree and that of Melody'€™s, Jennifer's and my trees, which are linked by DNA and all seem to originate in the Isle of Wight.

Variant names

WODENOT/E, WODENOTH/E, WOODNAT, WOODNET/T, WOODNOT/E, WOODNOTH, WOODNUT/T are all variants that we have found in the records.

Name origin

Two schools of thought -€“ Anglo-Saxon or Anglo-Norman?
According to some of the Surname Research companies, the name is 'rare, interesting and of Anglo-Saxon origin'€ and could be a 'pre 7th Century personal name "Wadeoth"'. From our own research, we think it could be Anglo-Norman and derives from ODENOT(US) - who was possibly AUDENOT a Knight mentioned in the Hastings Rolls and Domesday book. There are recorded WOODNOTH's from 1160 onwards with WODENOT of Swanley and Shavington mentioned in documents from the 1260'€™s.

Historical occurrences of the name

About 1160 William Malbanc gives a salt-house in Wich-Malbanc to Robert le Praers and one of the witnesses to the document which is an abstract of an updated charter is 'Roger son of Odenot (Woodnoth)' €œ Doddsworth MSS Vol Xxxxi.f.148 (Bod.Lib.Oxford).

From the 13th Century the WOODNOTH's were listed as 'Lords of Shavington'. € The manor house appears to have been on or near the site of the present Shavington Hall, and there successive generations of the WOODNOTH's lived for four hundred years from about the mid-thirteenth century, and a descendant is known to have been living in the village early in the eighteenth century. (Savington: The Story of a South Cheshire Village” by Geoffrey Nulty 1959, pp 10-17.)

In 1402/3 John WODENOTTE was the collector of a subsidy in the Hundred of Nantwich and his son another John WODNOTE continued as a collector in 1476.

About 1578 Mary WOODNOTH marries Nicholas FERRAR of London, a prominent East Indies merchant, producing a daughter and five sons, including Nicholas FERRAR (1592-1637) of Little Giddings, who was an early member of the Virginia Company, the group which established the American colony in 1607. Arthur WOODNOTH, a cousin of Nicholas Jnr became a goldsmith in London before settling in Cornwall.

Distribution of the name

It appears as though the name originated originally in Cheshire, €“ but seems to have spread south to London, Cornwall and Hampshire in the 16th Century, specifically the Isle of Wight, which is where my WOODNUTT ancestors came from. They immigrated in the 17th century to America where they have spread across the continent, but the names have also been found in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, New Zealand, Sierra Leona and the Solomon Islands.


We have over six different strands or branches of the tree


We started a DNA project to ascertain if the American WOODNUTT tree was connected in any way with the Isle of Wight trees, with an initial response of 'no connection', € but with only three male DNA's to test, more WOODNUTT's are required in order to get more accurate results. If you are interested in being part of this DNA project you can view the site at - and the DNA project manager is contactable at or myself at