Judd Surname Meaning, History & Origin

Select Judd Meaning
The name Jordan became popular in England from returning Crusaders and pilgrims to the Holy Land. The river Jordan there derived its name from the Hebrew yarden, meaning to descend or go down, in this case to the Dead Sea.
Judde became a pet form of Jordan. Judde Rampe was recorded as a name in Lancashire in 1246.  From Judde came the first name Jude and the surname Judd. Some 19th century commentators related the surname Judd to the German Jude or Dutch Jode meaning Jewish. But this connection seems unlikely.

Judd Resources on

Judd Ancestry

England. The name Henry Judde
appeared in Kent as early as 1264; while one of the
companions of Wat Tyler in his Kentish revolt of 1381 was said to have been called Judde. And the principal early Judde or
Judd family in England came from this county.

Kent.  This early line devolved around Sir Andrew Judde, a skinner or dealer in skins and furs in London, the son of John Judde of Tonbridge. He became wealthy in his trade and was Lord Mayor of London in 1550 (Judd Street in London took his name from him). Judde endowed a grammar school in his home town, now known as Tonbridge School.  Judde’s daughter Alice married and her son Thomas Smythe became the first Governor of the East India Company. However, his male line is believed to have become extinct.

One related line in this family is thought to have descended to Deacon Thomas Judd, born in the parish of Langley in 1607, who emigrated to America in 1633.

Another Judd in Kent was Daniel Judd from London of uncertain origins.  He was a munitions manufacturer under Oliver Cromwell during the Civil
War. This made him rich enough to build
himself a country estate near Faversham in Kent in 1652.
Just why the house was called Judd’s Folly is
not known. The name has remained, although
the house itself burnt down in 1961.

Elsewhere.  Judd has been mainly a name of the southeast of England, but did extend as far west as Winterbourne in Wiltshire and as far north as Banbury in Oxfordshire:

  • William Judde was born in Winterbourne in 1521. His
    Judd descendants moved to London in the early 19th century.
  • while the first Judd
    record in Banbury was the marriage of John Judde and Alice Horley in 1572. The name appeared in various forms
    in Banbury and in surrounding villages during the 17th century.

The largest numbers within this area in the 1881 census were in London and Essex. William Judd was born in the parish of Great
Canfield in Essex in 1577; while a cluster of Judds were to be found at High Roding or at Margaret Roding from the late 1600’s.
Joseph Judd married Elizabeth Greygoose at Takeley in 1794.

. Ambrose Judd of Brandon Ferry in Suffolk was
believed to have been related to the Tonbridge Judds.
Apparently he was a Quaker and left England
in the late 1600’s for county Wicklow.
Peter Judd was a Quaker tallow chandler in Dublin in the 1750’s. Many of the Judds in Wicklow were buried in
the Kilcommon graveyard.

America. Deacon Thomas Judd arrived in New
England from Kent in 1633 and settled in Connecticut, first in Hartford and later in Farmington. He
was the progenitor of a
large number of the Judds in America.

Thomas Judd Descendants.  A descendant, via Jonathan Judd the
Southampton merchant and journal writer during the Revolutionary War, was the Unitarian minister and author Sylvester Judd.
He wrote one of the early family history books, Thomas
Judd and His Descendants
, which was published in 1856.
What was particularly noteworthy about this
book was that the Judds he wrote about from the late 18th and early 19th century were either personally known to him or were in direct contact with him.

Some Judds were to be found in the 19th century in Chicago.
Norman Judd moved there from upstate New York
in 1836. He was the first city attorney
of Chicago, a friend of Abraham Lincoln, and later served as a state senator. His son Edward became a
prominent Chicago lawyer. Meanwhile
Orange Judd arrived there in 1885 and with his son James started publishing the
Orange Judd Farmer, a farming

One line from Westbury, Connecticut descended to Gerrit Judd the physician who set forth for Hawaii as a missionary in 1827. He became a trusted advisor to Hawaii’s King
and founded Hawaii’s first medical school. His
grandson Lawrence Judd was appointed Governor of Hawaii in
1929. His great grandson Gerrit Judd IV
wrote a laudatory biography of him in 1960 entitled Dr.
Judd. Hawaii’s Friend.
had acquired land in Oahu in 1850 which became known as the Kualoa Ranch. His descendants still own and
operate the ranch today.

It is thought likely that the Seymour Judd who married Abigail Read in 1794, in Berkshire, Massachusetts was descended from Thomas.  His son Increase migrated to Kentucky and
was the forebear of the country singing star Naomi Judd.
Naomi’s song Guardian Angels paid
homage to Increase’s son Elijah Judd, a Kentucky farmer.

“Growing up in Kentucky Naomi Judd’s family was dirt-poor – without the comforts of electricity,
running water, or a telephone. Naomi and
her daughter Wynonna would sing on the front porch; while her other daughter Ashley would engross herself in her books, pretending to be various characters.”

Other Judds
. There were other Judds in America. One
Judd line began with Rowland Judd, born in England in 1720, who was first recorded as an indentured servant in
Philadelphia in 1745 and later settled in North Carolina.
His sons John and Rowland fought at the
Battle of King’s Mountain during the Revolutionary War. Later
Judds of this family moved to Kentucky
and Tennessee. These Judds were
extensively covered in Peggy Gregory’s 1984 book Judd.

There were Mormon Judds who were in Utah later on.
One Thomas Judd came from Canada in 1849 (see
below). He died in Salt Lake City in 1886. Another Thomas Judd arrived from England in 1864 and became a prominent local businessman.  Judd’s Store in St. George, opened in 1911, remained family-operated until 1982. Judd’s home there, the Green Hedge Manor, is now listed as a historic inn.

Canada. Thomas Judd of the
Judds in Connecticut was a Loyalist at the time of the Revolutionary
War and departed for Leeds county, Ontario in the 1780’s. A
later Thomas Judd from Leeds county made
the journey the other way. A Mormon, he
departed with his family for Utah in 1849.

Australia and New Zealand. William Judd from Sittingbourne in Kent was an early settler in New Zealand, arriving at Port Nicholson in 1840 and
making his home with his family in the Lower Hutt area of NI.

Samuel and Elizabeth Judd departed Hackney in London with their family for Australia in 1852 under
Caroline Chisholm’s family colonization scheme.
They bought land just outside Melbourne.
Their eldest son Samuel moved on first to South Australia and
then in the 1870’s to Christchurch, New Zealand.
He was a strong supporter of the temperance movement there and lived to 1927.


Judd Miscellany

Sir Andrew Judde’s Epitaph.  Andrew Judde started out as a dealer in skins and furs in London.  He later became wealthy in his trade through Europe.  He
died in 1558 and was buried in St Helen’s Church in Bishopsgate, London where
there is a marble monument in his honor.
The epitaph reads:

  • “To Russia and Moscow
  • To Spain, Guinea without fail
  • Travelled he by land and sea.
  • Both mayor of London and Staple.
  • Three wives he had.  One was Mary
  • Four sons, one maid had he by her.
  • Anne had none by him truly.
  • By dame Mary had one daughter.

Thus in the month of September 1558 died this worthy stapler
Worshipping his posterity.”

This monument was erected by his heirs about the year 1600.
It may not be that accurate.  Sir Andrew never visited Russia or Guinea himself, although he was closely involved
in the finance and organization of expeditions there.

Sir Andrew Judde and Tonbridge Public School.  Tonbridge School was founded in 1553 by Andrew Judde and was granted a Royal Charter by Edward VI that year as follows:

“At the humble petition of
Sir Andrew Judde, knight and alderman of our city of London for the erecting and establishing a grammar school in the town of Tonbridge in the county of  Kent for the institution and instruction of boys and youth, the King of our
special grace and of our certain knowledge and mere motion do grant and ordain
that from henceforth there may and shall be one grammar school in the said town
of Tonbridge which shall be called the free grammar school of the aforesaid Sir Andrew Judde for the education institution and instruction of boys and youth in
grammar, to continue forever.”

From 1553 until his death in 1558 Judde was the sole
governor of the school and, during that time, framed the statutes that were to govern it for the next 270 years.

On Judde’s death, the school was passed to the
Skinners’ Company after a dispute with Judde’s business partner Henry Fisher.  According to the Skinners’
records, the Rev. Michael Jenkins was appointed as Headmaster in 1615 because
“he was the only one who turned up.”
During his time there the school was received a series of
generous endowments from Thomas Smythe, the first Governor of the East India Company and
the son of Andrew Judde’s daughter Alice.

Daniel Judd at Faversham.  Daniel Judd had been drawn to the Faversham area in Kent in the 1640’s by its
gunpowder industry, established a century or so earlier.
At first the operations there were
small-scale.  But then demand increased
exponentially as England needed to improve its defenses and build up its Navy.

Judd spotted a business opportunity and started developing the
industry, turning some derelict
water-powered corn mills into gunpowder mills.
England was at war with the Dutch for much of the 1650’s and the Admiralty constantly
urged him to increase his output.

In March 1653 one of the Admiralty officers
reported that he had visited “Mr. Judd’s mills at Ospringe, Faversham which are
going as fast as the water would carry them.
They have promised to send 40 barrels of powder to the Tower of London by Tuesday.”

Around this time Judd built an elegant seat in a
pioneering classical style west of Faversham. The house, called Syndale, was known locally as Judd’s Folly.  Judd is now believed probably to have
remained at Syndale after Charles
II’s Restoration, contrary to an earlier view that it was confiscated.

Reader Feedback – Joseph Judd of Takeley in Essex.  Joseph Judd of Takeley was my third great uncle. I’m interested in why he was mentioned on your site. Did he do anything famous?

Susan Moseley (treemoseley@yahoo.com)

Deacon Thomas Judd.  Deacon Thomas Judd came from England in 1633 or 1634.  He settled in Cambridge, Massachusetts on the
road to Watertown on a lot granted to him in August 1634.
He was admitted a freeman on May 25, 1636.

He moved to Hartford, Connecticut in 1636 where he had a two acre lot near the future
site of Charter Oak. In 1644 he moved to Farmington, Connecticut where he was one
of the first proprietors and settlers there, a substantial farmer and deputy to general court several times, and a charter member and second Deacon of the Farmington church.

Upon the death of his first wife, he married Clemence Mason,
widow of Thomas Mason of Northampton and moved there for the balance of his life.  He was a Selectman in 1682 and a
Deacon of Northampton church.

Thomas Judd was the progenitor of many of the Judds in
America.  A 19th century descendant Silas
Judd wrote the following lines in tribute to him.

  • “From the one source, where Thomas stands at head,
  • Sprang multitudes, and o’er vast regions spread,
  • Nine  generations in succession came,
  • To fill the earth, and bear their father’s name,
  • Our author tells us, and his tables show,
  • Our vast increase, and how we come and go.”

Guardian Angels.  Guardian Angels,
written by Naomi Judd, was recorded by the Judds and released in 1990.  The song pays homage to her Kentucky forebear
Elijah Judd.

  • “A hundred year old photograph stares out from a frame
    And if you look real close, you’ll see our eyes are just the same
  • I never met them face to face but I still know them well
  • From the stories my dear grandma would tell

Elijah was a farmer, he knew how to make things grow
And Fannie vowed she’d follow him
wherever he would go
As things turned out, they never left their small Kentucky
farm But he kept her fed, she kept him warm

They’re my guardian angels and I know
they can see
Every step I take, they are watching over me
I might not know where
I’m goin’ but I’m sure where I come from
They’re my guardian angels and I’m
their special one

Sometimes when I’m tired, I feel Elijah take my arm
He says, “Keep a goin’, hard work never did a body harm”
And when I’m really
troubled and I don’t know what to do
Fannie whispers, “Just do your best,
we’re awful proud of you”

They’re my guardian angels and I know they can
see Every step I take, they are watching over me
I might not know where I’m goin’
but I’m sure where I come from
They’re my guardian angels and I’m their special one

A hundred year old photograph stares out from a frame
And if you look real close, you’ll see our eyes are just the same.”

Elijah Judd, a farmer all his life, fought with the 39th Kentucky Infantry in the Civil War.  He died in 1921 and was buried in the
Judd-Miller cemetery in Lawrence county, Kentucky. 

William Judd – An Early New Zealand Settler.  William
Judd had married his second wife Ann Sears in Kent in 1831.
They were to have three boys together before
deciding to emigrate to New Zealand.
They embarked on the Martha
and arrived at Port Nicholson in November 1840.  William’s son from his first marriage, also
named William, came aged 16 on the Bolton
six months later.  Less than two months
after arriving in New Zealand Ann gave birth to her first daughter, Harriet.  She was one of the first babies
to be born in New Zealand of the English settlers.

The Judds settled first in Lower Hutt near Wellington in North Island.  Sometime in the late 1840’s after the birth
of their fourth son and upon securing a contract to make a road through the Taita Gorge, Judd moved with his family to the entrance of Stokes Valley.

He constructed a home on a leasehold title on the southern side of the present
Stokes Valley main road.  It was in this house that the last three
members of his
family were born.  His house was recorded
as being severely damaged by the earthquake in 1855.

William by his second wife
Ann had nine children in total.  Meanwhile
his son William from his first wife Charlotte married Mary Lonsdale from Ireland in
1844 and they were to have twelve children.
William Sr. died in 1876, William Jr. ten years earlier in 1866.  A later son James built what came to be known
as the Manor House at Haywards in 1887.

Judd’s Store in Southern Utah.  Judd’s Store at St. George in southern Utah was constructed and opened in 1911 in front of the house Thomas Judd purchased from Joseph Bentley in 1908 and across the street from the new
Woodward School. It was built of the
same thickness of locally manufactured adobes that had been used in the home Judd had bought from Bentley.

The store was very successful, carrying general
merchandise and catering to the needs of the sheep and cattlemen which were
numerous in the early years there.  The
store was across the street from the new Woodward School and many of the kids
there still have memories
of crossing the street to purchase
candy from Judd’s.

When Judd built the store, the idea was for its ownership to
pass down through the generations.  When Thomas’ son, Joseph Judd, took over, he continued to
run the store but boarded up the rest of the structure.
The store went to a third generation of Judds
before it was eventually sold to another owner in 1982.

When the Judd family still owned the store, they updated the outside façade to keep it
looking “modern,” which included adding wire mesh and stucco to the sides and tile to the front over the original adobe. The store has since been returned to
its original state with all of the stucco and tile having been removed.

Judd’s Store is now a tourist attraction of southern Utah.



Judd Names

  • Sir Andrew Judde was a Tudor merchant in London who in 1553 endowed the Tonbridge School in Kent.
  • Deacon Thomas Judd, an early settler in New England, was the forebear of many of the Judds in America.
  • Gerrit Judd was an American missionary and advisor to the King in Hawaii. 
  • The Judds were a successful country music singing duo featuring mother Naomi and daughter Wynonna. Another daughter Ashley Judd became a film actress.

Select Judd Numbers Today

  • 6,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in Kent)
  • 6,000 in America (most numerous in California)
  • 6,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia)


Select Judd and Like Surnames

Some surnames have come from SE England, in particular the counties of Kent, Surrey and Sussex.  These are some of the noteworthy surnames that you can check out.




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