Smallwood Surname Soundex, Meaning, and Population Ranking in the US

The Soundex Code for the Smallwood surname is S543. SMALLWOOD ranks 1,811 out of 88,799 family surnames in the United States. The only other name that shares this soundex code is SMELTZER.
Sound was what guided spelling in the essentially pre-literate Middle Ages, so one person’s name was often recorded under several variations during a single lifetime. Also, before the advent of the printing press and the first dictionaries, the English language was not standardized. Therefore, spelling variations were common, even among the names of the most literate people. Known variations of the Smallwood family name include Smallwood, Smalwood, Smalewood and others.

Origin and Meaning of the Smallwood Surname

Smallwood is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and can be either a locational or a topographical surname. As the former, the name derives from the place called Smallwood, near Astbury in Cheshire. The placename is recorded in the Charter Rolls of Cheshire of 1252 as ‘Smaleuuod’, and means ‘the narrow wood’, from the Old English pre 7th Century ‘smael’, narrow, small, with ‘wudu’, wood. Locational surnames were acquired especially by those former inhabitants of a place who had moved to another area, and were thereafter best identified by the name of their birthplace.

As a topographical surname, Smallwood denoted residence by or in such a ‘narrow wood’.

Early examples of the Smallwood name

The Smallwood family is first found in Cheshire where they held a family seat, at Smallwood, in the parish of Astbury, some say before the Norman Conquest in 1066. The first recorded spelling of the family name is that of William Smalwud, which was dated 1220, on The Essex Curia Rolls, during the reign of King Henry III.

The development of the surname includes: John del Smalwode (1332, London) and Elizabetha Smallwode (1379, Yorkshire). Records of will lodged in Chester (1545 – 1620) include that of one Randle Smallwood, of Middlewich, in 1592.

Smallwood Immigrants

Between 1840 and 1920, 78 Smallwood individuals immigrated to the US from England, 7 from Great Britan, 6 from Ireland and 4 from Scotland.

17th Century Smallwood Settlers in the American Colonies

  • Randall Smallwood, who settled in Virginia in 1623
  • Rendall Smallwood, who landed in Virginia in 1623
  • John Smallwood, who landed in Virginia in 1637
  • Hester Smallwood, who arrived in Maryland in 1650

Smallwood immigrants originally settled in Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, Maryland, New Jersey and Georgia.

Later they migrated primarily to New York, Pennsylvania, most of the smaller New England states along the east coast, Indiana, Illinois, Oklahoma, Texas, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, and California.

Smallwood is the 1,811 most numerous surname in the United States.

Smallwood is a moderately common surname in the United States. When the United States Census was taken in 2000, there were about 18,227 individuals with the last name “Smallwood,” ranking it number 1,811 for all surnames. Historically, the name has been most prevalent in the Southeast. However, it is especially popular in the District of Columbia. Smallwood is least common in the midwestern states.

World wide, there are approximately 26,867 Smallwood surnames, making it the 19,380th most common surname in the world.

Smallwood Ethnic Distribution

As reported by the US Census Bureau in 2000, the Smallwood surname represented themselves as 70.85% Caucasian, 24.89% African-American,1.4% Hispanic,  0.3% Asian,  0.97% Native American, and  1.59% Mixed Race.

Famous people with the Smallwood surname

Richard Smallwood (1948-) – Gospel singer best known as the founder of The Richard Smallwood Singers. He is a multiple-time Grammy nominee for albums like 1984’s “Psalms.”

Joseph Roberts “Joey” Smallwood,  (December 24, 1900 – December 17, 1991) was a politician from Newfoundland, Canada. He was the main force that brought the then Dominion of Newfoundland into the Canadian confederation in 1949, becoming the first Premier of Newfoundland, serving until 1972.

Tucker Smallwood (born February 22, 1944) is an American actor, author and vocalist. His films include The Cotton Club (1984), Contact (1997), Deep Impact (1998), Larry David’s Sour Grapes (1998), Traffic (2000), Quigley (2003) and Spectres (2004). On television, he has been a regular and made guest appearances on many series, including Space: Above and Beyond, Millennium, Babylon 5, The X-Files, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Seinfeld, Murphy Brown, Star Trek: Voyager, Star Trek: Enterprise, Friends, and The Sarah Silverman Program. 

Dwana Smallwood – From 1995 to 2007, Dwana served as a principal dancer with the world-famous Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in New York City, during which time she was proclaimed “one of the greatest modern dancers” by Vogue Magazine. She also danced before millions as a guest on ”The Oprah Winfrey Show” as a part of her “The Best…” series.

Benjamin Franklin Smallwood – A Choctaw chief from August 1888 to 1890. His chiefdom was marred by several scandals.

Family Crest / Coat of Arms


Popular Given Names

The ten most popular first names historically given to babies with a last name of Smallwood in order are William, James, Mary, John, Charles, Robert, George, Joseph, Thomas, and Dorothy.

Smallwood Military Records

Two hundred seventy eight Smallwood individuals participated in the US Civil War. Of those, 201 fought on the Union side and 67 were Confederate soldiers. Three Smallwood soldiers were in the American Revolution, including one famous colonel.

? were casualties of the Korean War. ? Smallwood men and women enlisted in World War I and II.

? Smallwood soldiers died in the Vietnam War, ? in the Gulf War, ? in the US War on Terror, and ? were Peacetime Military Casualties.

? won the Medal of Honor.

Smallwood surnames on this website.


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