Dodd Surname Genealogy

The medieval personal name Dodde
or Dudde, in frequent use
until the 14th century, was the source of the Dodd surname. The
name may come from a Germanic root used to describe something
round and lumpish – hence a short, plump man. It appeared early,
before the Norman conquest. Aelfweard Dudd was recorded in the
early charters of Hampshire around 1030.

Dodd and Dodds
are the main surname variants. Dodd is more
numerous today.

Dodd Resources on

Dodd Ancestry

The surnames Dodd and Dodds have somewhat different geographic origins.

NE England. Dodds was an
English border name
. Seventy percent of the Dodds in
England in the 1891 census in England were to be found in the two
counties of Northumberland and Durham.

Dodds in its history has been primarily associated with
Northumberland. The Dodds of Northumberland were
one of the four major Border clans
of North Tynedale. Burbank Peel, a fortified tower on the Tarset
Burn near Bellingham, was their ancestral home. Documentary
evidence shows the Dodds had already established themselves
in that area by the end of the 14th century. Later the name
extended south to
Durham and north across the border into Scotland.

NW England. The
surname Dod or Dodd, dating back to the 12th century, was first
found at Edge near Shropshire and Cheshire on the border with
Wales. The
Rev. John Dod
of Shotwich in Cheshire was a popular
someone born in 1549 who lived on to witness the Civil War. Since
that time this Dodd name has radiated outwards, north into
Lancashire, south into Staffordshire, west into Wales, and also further

Elsewhere. One
Dodd family traces itself back to William Dodd, a tavern owner in
London during the Restoration period. A century or so later there
lived in London Robert Dodd, a painter and engraver, and his brother
Ralph Dodd,
an engineer remembered uncharitably at the time for his failure
to build a tunnel under the Thames.

William Dodd from Lincolnshire was an 18th century Anglican
who lived extravagantly. He was nicknamed the “macaroni
parson.” In an effort to clear his debts, he dabbled in
forgery, was caught, convicted, and,
despite a public campaign for a royal pardon, became in 1777 the last
person to
be hanged at Tyburn for forgery.

Wales. Charles Dodd was a schoolmaster in Wrexham
in north Wales in late Victorian times. He had three notable sons
who each became highly prominent in their chosen academic field: A.H.
Dodd the historian; C.H. Dodd the New Testament scholar and Protestant
theologian; and P.W. Dodd the classicist.

The Dodd name
was taken to Sligo in the 16th century by a Shropshire family.
Thomas Dodd of Sligo emigrated to Canada in the 1860’s.
members of the Dodd family lived in the Masonic Lodge in Sligo as
its caretakers since its opening in 1895.

Ulster the Gaelic O’Dubhda
sept sometimes adopted Dodd as the anglicized form of their name,
instead of the more usual Dowd. In 1890 the Dodd name in Ireland
was principally to be found in Down and Armagh.

America. John Dods
was one of Captain John Smith’s original colonists at Jamestown in 1607
and one of only three who were still there in 1623. His
descendants in Virginia and West Virginia became Dodsons.

Another Southern Dodd family began with Michael Dodd who was born in
in 1779 but migrated as a young man to Missouri and then to
Arkansas. David Dodd of this family was a 17
year old who was tried, convicted and hanged as a Confederate spy in
the Civil War during the Union occupation of Little Rock. To
Southerners he was the boy martyr and boy hero of Arkansas.

The first Dodd
to arrive in New England was probably James Dodd from Sussex, aged
onboard Winthrop’s vessel the Abigail
in 1635. Daniel Dod from Suffolk came to Branford, Connecticut
ten years later in 1645. This family name changed to Dodd in the
late 18th century.

Irish. Thomas
Dodd was born in Connecticut
in 1907 from grandparents who had immigrated from Ireland in the
He was a lawyer who made his mark in the Nuremburg trials after World
War Two and subsequently became Senator of Connecticut. His son
Christopher was to serve for five consecutive terms as Connecticut’s

Canada. Local tradition
in Cape Breton has it that Archibald Dodd was born into a
wealthy family in Northumberland. But he came to Cape Breton in
1787 to escape a troubled past. Although a divisive man in his
manners, he would play a key role as a lawyer and a politician in the
early history of Cape Breton, at that time a separate procince of
Canada. His son and grandson followed in
his footsteps.

Australia. William Dodd,
a blacksmith from Warwickshire, was an early settler in South
Australia, arriving there in 1839. Oral family history recalls that
William had wanted to be a preacher but his parents were too poor to
support him through ministerial training. Two Dodd family bibles
are treasured heirlooms of his descendants in Stansbury, South

John Dodds came out with his parents from Durham in 1853. They
settled in Tasmania and John, who became a lawyer, rose to be the Chief
Justice of the colony.

Dodd Miscellany

If you would like to read more, click on the miscellany page for
further stories and accounts:

Dodd Names

Lottie Dod was, in 1887,
the youngest woman ever to win the Wimbledon ladies tennis
championship, at the age of fifteen.
Sonora Dodd was
responsible for the founding of Father’s Day in America in 1910.
Johnny Dodds
was an acclaimed jazz clarinetist of the 1920’s.
Thomas Dodd was US
Senator for Connecticut in the 1950’s during the McCarthy era.
Ken Dodd is a popular English
comedian from Knotty Ash in Liverpool.

Select Dodds Today

  • 34,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in Lancashire)
  • 16,000 in America (most numerous in Texas)
  • 19,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Canada)



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