This surname of WOODRUFF is an English topographic name for someone who lived on a patch of land thickly grown with woodruff. The name was originally spelt WUDUROFE. The leaves of the plant have a sweet smell and the surname may also have been a nickname for one who used it as a perfume. Other spellings of the name include WOODRUFFE, WOODRUP, WOODROFFE, WOODROOFE, WOODROOFFE and WOODROUGH. The earliest of the name on record appears to be WUDEROUA (without surname) who was recorded in the year 1170, and Robert WODEROVE was documented in 1185. John WODEROFE was recorded in Derbyshire in 1419. Surnames can be divided into four categories; place names, occupation names, nicknames and patronymics. PLACE NAMES are the largest group and covers all those names first applied to people who lived in or nearby to a particular place. For example, Grove, Wood, Field, Meadow, and Street are obvious. Occasionally names were taken from obscure villages or hamlets which no longer exist and this can make research confusing. OCCUPATION NAMES cover nearly all trades which existed in the Middle Ages. These are numerous. It does not necessarily follow that such names as King, Duke, Earl and so on mean your ancestors were of noble blood. It is much more likely that such named people worked for the person referred to. NICKNAMES. This is a smaller group but in many ways more interesting. They usually originated as a by-name for someone by describing their appearance, personal disposition or character but which became handed down through the ages and did not apply to their descendants. For instance the name Black would denote a dark man, Little, someone small (or even somewhat ambiguously) someone tall. PATRONYMICS. This group covers all names which derive immediately from the owner's father. Many christian names which are also surnames have, over the years, lost the possessive form but the origin is still the same. Examples of this could be names such as Peter,Thomas, Henry - all names which became both christian and surnames over the years. Robert WOODRUFF (1890-1985) was the US businessman. His father, a banker, brought control of Coca-Cola in 1919. Robert became president of the company in 1923, determined to make the drink available all over the world - and succeeded.
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