Rudd Surname Genealogy

Rudd is an old English surname of uncertain
origin.  It is either the name of a
person who lived by a rood or cross;
or, coming from the Old English rudig
meaning “red” or “ruddy,” would be a nickname for someone with red hair
or with
a ruddy complexion.  Alternatively, it has been suggested that the
Rudd name has
Danish origins.
This may be the more likely explanation

Rudd Resources on

Rudd Ancestry

Guppy is his 1890 work Homes of Family
Names in Great Britain
described Rudd as follows:

“Rudd is an ancient
English name which is now represented as such in Shropshire and
Norfolk, and by
Rood in Somerset. In the 13th century Rud was a Derbyshire name; Rudde
in Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire, and Leicestershire, Rude in
Shropshire, and De
Rude in Wiltshire.”

But the main early Rudds were
in Yorkshire.

Yorkshire.  Early sightings of the Rudd
name in Yorkshire were in the East Riding and in nearby areas of north

  • the first recorded was Gerald Rudd in 1189 at Moreby
    located south of
    York on the river Ouse.
  • by 1257 the name had appeared further south to Snaith
    near Goole on the lower banks of the Ouse.  Humphrey
    Rudd, possibly one of the
    early Rudds in Yorkshire
    with an Irish/Welsh pedigree, settled
    at Hassle
  • and by 1278 the name was recorded further north at Burton
    Fleming near
    Bridlington and subsequently at Danby in Glaisdale near Scarborough.

Later there
were Rudds further west at Killinghall and Slaidburn, close by the
border with
Lancashire.   John Rudd, the clergyman
Tudor times who bent with the
, came from this area; as did John Rudd the Virginia sea
captain a
century or so later.

Rudds also extended
into Swaledale and Wensleydale.  Thomas
Rudd operated the Preston Moor colliery in Wensleydale in the 1620’s.

One line of Rudd vicars began with James Rudd at
Kilham in the East Riding in the 1740’s, continued with his son James
at Newton
Kyme, and then with his grandson Eric at Thorn near Doncaster.  George Rudd lived at Worsall Hall near Yarm
in the early 1800’s and was the vicar at Sockburn.
His passion was beetles and his collection
can be found at the Yorkshire Museum at York.

Rudds in Yorkshire were
extensively covered in Mary Amelia Rudd’s 1920
book Records of the Rudd Family.

Elsewhere.  There was one old Rudd
pedigree outside of
Yorkshire, that of the Rudds recorded at Higham Ferrers in
Northamptonshire from
the mid-15th century:

  • Captain Thomas Rudd of this family, a distinguished
    engineer and mathematician, was made Chief Engineer to King Charles I
    in 1640.
  • while
    a cousin of his, Anthony Rudd, was appointed Bishop of St. David’s in
    Wales and
    from him came four Rudd baronets.

By the time of the 1881
, the Rudd name had spread across the country, but did
show a distinctly eastern bias – suggesting that maybe the Danish or
origin had some credibility.

Norfolk had by then overtaken Yorkshire as the
county with the largest number of Rudds.

Rudde was a mercer in Norwich who died in 1562.
His line continued as Alderman Rudd was recorded there in 1632
bread to the poor on Ash Wednesday.  In
1728 Burlingham Rudd from the nearby market town of Holt was convicted
stealing a horse and transported to South Carolina.

Later on, the name cropped up in villages around King’s Lynn such as
Grimston.  The forebears of the Tory
Cabinet Minister Amber Rudd
were from this village.

Rudd came from a family wine merchant’s in Norwich, established by his
grandfather there in 1851.  After World
War One he moved to London and joined as a partner the famous London
merchants Berry Brosin 1920.  Berry
subsequently became Berry Bros
& Rudd. 
Two Rudd generations later Lizzy Rudd is the chairman of
company today.

There was also a Rudd outpost in Lancashire, mainly concentrated
in Wigan and its suburbs Aspull and Ince-in-Makerfield.
The first record appears to be Mary Rudd who
married Edmund Atherton in Wigan around 1605.
Joseph Rudd was reported at Ince-in-Makerfield in 1737.

Ireland.  The Rudds in Ireland
generally came from

The most notable of them were the Rudds of Clone House in Wexford,
dating all the way back to an Elizabethan soldier of fortune from
Anthony Rudd, who secured leases on the land there in 1593.  These Rudds became powerful
and influential landowners in the area.

“The difference in wealth and social
standing the family held to others is reflected in their final resting
being the only enclosed grave.  It is
also the only boxed tomb within the graveyard, another attempt to
themselves from others, even after death.”

Rudd of the family fought at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815 and later
himself in the South American Wars of Independence.
Anthony Rudd, a farmer, departed Wexford for
Canada in 1816.  A Rudd family remained
at Clone House until the early 1900’s.

The Rudd name was also to be found in
Dublin and in Roscrea and Templemore in Tipperary.
Norman Rudd’s 1992 book An Irish Rudd Family
covered the various Rudds in Ireland.

America.  There were
three main early Rudd lines, from:

  • Jonathan
    Rudd in Connecticut  
  • John
    Rudd in Virginia  
  • and
    Burlingham Rudd in
    South Carolina.

Jonathan Rudd was
probably in Connecticut by the year 1640.
There is no record on what ship he arrived, nor from where he
came in
England.  This is unfortunate in that he
was perhaps the progenitor of the largest number of Rudds in America.

according to court records, was a bit of a lad in his early years
before his marriage in Connecticut in
.  He was from then until his
death in 1658 a
man of some substance in Saybrook.  His
descendants settled in either New London or Windham, Connecticut in the
1700’s before moving away at the time of the Revolutionary War or

  • Zebulon
    Rudd had moved to Dutchess county, New
    York by the 1770’s.  Descended from him
    was William B. Rudd, a general during the Civil War.
    He was appointed Quartermaster of New York in
  • Joseph Rudd had moved to
    Bennington, Vermont also by that time.  His
    family were prominent farmers there.
  • Jonathan
    Rudd went to Cherry Valley in New
    York after the war was over.  Later Rudds
    were to be found in Albany where William P. Rudd started the law firm
    of Harris
    & Rudd in 1877.  
  • while
    David Rudd
    from Becket in Massachusetts was a pioneer settler in Willoughby, Ohio
    in the
    1820’s.  He moved further west with his
    family to Wisconsin in 1854.  

is confusion about the Rudd line in Virginia.
It is known that John Rudd was a sea captain from Yorkshire who
arrived in Virginia in 1663 and became master of the Hopewell
which traded between Virginia and England.  He
does not appear to have settled in

A second John Rudd, thought to have been his son (although there is no
proof of this), came to Virginia in 1701 with his wife Avis as
servants.  This John Rudd, a weaver by
trade, was the progenitor of the Rudds of Henrico and Chesterfield

There is more clarity about Burlingham
Rudd.  It is known where hecame from,
Norfolk, and when he arrived as a young man in South Carolina, which
1728.  However, he had been transported
there as a convict.

“Unlike most of the
more than 50,000 who were sentenced to transportation to the colonies,
he did not
change his name and disappear into the frontier once he had completed
his punishment
for his crime.  He kept his name,
married, and raised a family.  The name
Burlingham or Burrel was in fact passed down to the third and fourth

He made his home in what
became Anson county, South Carolina.
There were later Rudd lines in Barnwell county, South Carolina
Coffee county, Alabama.

Australia and New Zealand.  For stealing
a bag of sugar Thomas Rudd was transported from London to Australia in
1790 on
the Second Fleet.  He ended up a
respected businessman and sizeable landowner in Campbelltown, NSW. 
His sons settled and prospered in the Murrumbidgee
district.  Thomas is the
great-grandfather of the Australian Prime
Minister Kevin Rudd

George Rudd
a Primitive Methodist from Yorkshire, brought his family on the Victory to New Zealand in 1866.  He
began farming a year later in the
Greendale district of Canterbury, SI and continued farming there until
death at eighty-one in 1897.  He left a
grown-up family of three sons and one daughter.

Rudd Miscellany

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

Rudd Names

Captain Thomas Rudd, a distinguished
engineer and mathematician of his time, was made Chief Engineer to King
I in 1640.
Kevin Rudd
was Prime
Minister of Australia from 2007 to 2010.
has been a Cabinet Minister in Theresa May’s recent

Select Rudds Today

  • 13,000 in the UK (most numerous
    in Norfolk)
  • 20,000 in America (most numerous in Florida)
  • 4,000 elsewhere (most numerous in Australia)




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