Select Judd Surname Genealogy

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

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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.

.  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.

.  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.

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 journal.

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.  Judd 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.

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

Select Judd Miscellany

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

Select 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 Judds 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)

PS.  You might want to check out the surnames page on this website.  It covers surname genealogy in this and companion websites for more than 800 surnames.

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